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Joy to Your Baby

How your emotions affect the baby in your belly

Joy to Your Baby

Just as what we eat transforms into nourishment for the child growing in our womb, what we think and feel can become part of our developing baby. As a practitioner of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM), I am trained to see how our emotional state affects every aspect of our lives—and, when we are pregnant this is no different. In fact, from a TOM perspective, when we are pregnant, emotions not only affect our health and wellness, they affect the health and wellness of the baby growing inside our belly. There are the negative emotions like fear, sadness, anxiety and just general worry. And then there are the positive emotions of courage, peace, ease and joy. They all affect both you and baby positively or negatively.

In TOM theory, every organ in our body not only has a physiological function, but an emotional one as well. For instance, the positive emotional states of courage and will enhance and support the organ of the kidney, and the emotions of joy, love and peace affect the organ of the heart. So, when these emotions are experienced it is seen as not only supporting the proper function of the organs they correlate to but that these organs are in good health because their emotional states are balanced.

Similarly, the negative emotion of fear impairs the function of the kidney, just as anxiety and lack of joy negatively affect the function of the heart. When it comes to pregnancy all of the organs are important but the heart and the kidney are of most importance as these organs both have a direct line of communication with the uterus.

In TOM anatomy there are energetic channels—one running directly from the kidney to the uterus and one that runs directly from the heart to the uterus. In this vein, it is seen that the negative emotional states of these organs—namely, fear and anxiety have quite a negative impact of the emotional state of your child in utero.

In TOM, this is taken so seriously that women are told to not even watch scary movies or be around arguments or stressful events. They are only to be around joyous, happy and peaceful situations. I know that’s not always realistic in today’s world, as life happens. But we can take caution in protecting our pregnant selves from too much of these negative emotions because the emotions we experience on a daily, even moment-to-moment, basis, are penetrating our baby and becoming part of their emotional framework.

The biggest message I give to my patients (and that I try to embrace myself, as I am currently pregnant too!) is that we need to focus on joy and love in our lives. Do it not only for your own health and wellness, but for that of baby’s. Here are some easy ways to do this on a daily basis:

1. Practice gratitude. Each morning, upon waking, list 5 things (either write them down or just go over them in your head) that you are grateful for. A focus on gratitude shifts your focus from worry or stress to love and joy.

2. Meditate. Even if for only a few minutes each day. Doing this calms your nerves and baby’s too. This not only feels good for you but I’d venture to say it will create a more calm child (perhaps one that sleeps through the night from the beginning!).

3. Laugh as much as you can. Surround yourself with lighthearted friends, or read or watch something that makes you chuckle. Laughter sends waves of joy right from your heart to your uterus.

4. Make someone else happy. It is said that the best way to get more joy in your life is to make someone else happy. So do a good deed and fill your heart with love and feel that love warmly wrapping around your baby.

5. Be healthy selfish. Being selfish is often seen as being self centered or egotistical. However, I think being selfish can really benefit our health, especially when we’re pregnant. Not only do we now have to conserve more of our energy (because so much of it is going to baby) but we should be protective of our emotional energy. Avoid friends or family members that are draining or dramatic. Avoid watching the news or fear inducing television. Exercise healthy boundaries and say no to anything that doesn’t feel good.

Practicing these lifestyle tips will not only keep your health optimal but your emotional state happy and joyful. And, when you are feeling more joy that bliss is traveling from your heart right into your uterus and nourishing your growing baby with love and joy. Whether this makes sense to you or not, it can’t hurt, and who doesn’t want a loving and joyful baby?

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These new arrivals from the Motherly Shop are *so* good you need them all

Noodle and Boo, Mushie and Plan Toys—everything you need, mama.

Motherhood is hard work—finding great products and brands to make the journey easier doesn't have to be. Each week, we stock the Motherly Shop with brilliant new products we know you'll need and love from brands and makers that really care.

So, what's new this week?

Noodle and Boo: Holistic baby skin care

Through working with chemists who specialize in natural and holistic skin care, Noodle and Boo has developed exclusive formulas that nourish, replenish and protect especially delicate, eczema-prone and sensitive skin—including laundry detergent. Their signature, obsession-worthy scent—which is subtly sweet, pure and fresh—is the closest thing to bottling up "baby smell" we've ever found.

Mushie: Kids' dinnerware that actually looks great

We're totally crushing on Mushie's minimalist dinnerware for kids. Their innovative baby and toddler products leverage Swedish design to marry both form and function while putting safety front and center. Everything is created in soft, muted colors from BPA-free materials.

Plan Toys: Open-ended toys that last

Corralling and cleaning up the toys becomes less stressful when you bring home fewer, better, more beautiful ones. Plan Toys checks all the boxes. Made from re-purposed rubber wood, they're better for the planet as well.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Mushie silicone baby bib

Mushie silicone baby bib

There's no going back to cloth bibs after falling in love with this Swedish design. The pocket catches whatever misses their mouths and the BPA-free silicone is waterproof and easy to wipe down between uses.

$13

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

We're totally crushing on the soft muted colors that flow with our table aesthetics and the thoughtful high-sided design that helps babies and toddler who are learning to feed themselves.

$15

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Stocked with everything a new mama needs to care for her little one's delicate skin, Noodle and Boo's nursery essentials gift set is the perfect way to create a holistic and natural skin care routine from day one.

$45

Plan Toys doctor set 

Plan Toys doctor set

Ideal for quiet time and imaginative role play, we love the gorgeous planet-friendly doctor kit from Plan Toys. The rubber wood stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, syringe and reflex hammer pack up neat and tidy into the red cotton case should they need to dash off on a rescue mission.

$30

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Since we're buying and using hand sanitizer by the truckload these days, we're thrilled Noodle and Boo has made one we can feel good about using on little ones who cram their hands in their mouths 24/7. Not only does it kill 99.9% of germs, but it also leaves hands moisturized as well.

$10

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

A toy box isn't complete without a set of blocks—and this set is one of our new favorites. The sustainable, re-purposed wood is eco-friendly, comes at a relatively affordable price point and are certain to last well beyond multiple kids, hand-me-downs and even generations.

$30

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Because their products were developed for delicate and eczema-prone skin, Noodle and Boo's full line of skin care has become a favorite among those with sensitive skin of all ages. This set is the perfect way to pamper the entire family.

$48

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

No need to sacrifice safety or design with the sustainable dinnerware from Mushie. Their minimalist, functional dishes are perfect for serving up meals and snacks to your tablemates who might hurl it to the floor at any point. They're made in Denmark from BPA-free polypropylene plastic mamas can feel good about and dishwasher and microwave-safe as well.

$14

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

The best engaging, open-ended toys are the ones that are left out and available, inviting little (and big!) ones to play. These beautiful gem-like blocks make for addicting coffee table play for the entire family.

$30

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Energy-efficient design isn't just for grown-up real estate. This green dollhouse includes a wind turbine, a solar cell panel, electric inverter, recycling bins, a rain barrel, a biofacade and a blind that can adjust the amount of sunlight and air circulation along with minimalist furniture we'd totally love to have in our own houses.

$250

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

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21 questions to ask your partner instead of, “How was your day?”

2. If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?

After a long day of doing seemingly everything, when our partners get home it kind of becomes a habit to ask, "How was your day?" In between prepping dinner, handing off the kids, finishing your own work, we don't exactly get much value from this question. Sure, it may open up the opportunity to complain about that awful thing that happened or excitedly share that presentation you killed at work—but it usually stops there.

I could do a better job of really talking in my relationship. After 12 years and two kids, sometimes all we can come up with post bedtime routine is, "You good? I'm good. Fire up the Netflix."

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