I just found out I’m pregnant, and I’m beginning to panic. How did you keep your worries and fears at bay?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Meditation is a huge part of my life. It gives me a buffer from reality. I have a fairly intense life, and I do a lot of listening. For me, sitting quietly in meditation is like allowing my brain to rinse out like clothes in a washing machine. The chance to sit quietly and to learn to be an observer is a helpful skill in pregnancy—and also in parenting. It helps you to be more receptive to what your kids are trying to say.
Yoga is another tool I’ve used over the years for relaxation. I find it to be super helpful. I cannot do it at home; I’m not disciplined enough. I do three Downward Dogs, and I’m done. Plus my dog comes over and starts checking me out, which is just too weird. Instead, I go to a yoga studio, where I know the teacher well.
When I’m really stressed out, I combine yoga with meditation.
—Nancy Rappaport, MD, a mother of two teenaged daughters and a teenaged son, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, an attending child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Cambridge, MA, public schools, and the author of In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide