Ep 239: The Energies You Need to Bring into 2024 For Your Best Pregnancy, Birth, & Life

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It's 2024 and although I don't do new year's resolutions per se, I do like to take some time to think about what I can do to set myself up for a good year ahead. In this episode, I want to share some of the energies that we can bring into this 2024 to help set ourselves up for great experiences in pregnancy, birth, and life in general.

Now I’m going to go through a few intentions but do NOT feel like you have to implement all of them. Start with picking a couple and bookmark this episode for later. Becoming our best selves is always a work in progress and this episode will be here whenever you need it.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How to open yourself up to the possibility of an easy pregnancy
  • Why it’s ok to keep things simple
  • How to be intentional about where you spend your time and energy
  • What it means to be confident
  • How to embody your truest self
  • How you can take power over your birth
  • What the reality is about stress and peace
  • How joy is different than pleasure
  • Why I love being able to serve YOU!

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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I want this podcast to be more than a one sided conversation. Join me on Instagram where we can connect outside of the show! Through my posts, videos, and stories, you'll get even more helpful tips to ensure you have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. You can find me on Instagram @drnicolerankins. I'll see you there!

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Dr. Nicole (00:00): It is 2024, and in this episode, you're going to learn about the energy you can bring into this year to help you have your best pregnancy, your best birth, and even your best life.

(00:20): Welcome to the all about pregnancy and birth podcast. If you're having a baby in the hospital, you are giving birth in a system that too often takes away power from women over what happens in their own bodies. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a practicing board certified OBGYN, who's had the privilege of helping well over a thousand babies into this world. I've been a doctor for over 20 years and I'm here to help you take back your power, advocate for yourself, and have the beautiful pregnancy and birth that you deserve. This podcast is for educational purposes only, and it's not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it. Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 239. Whether this is your first time with me or you have listened to before, I'm so grateful that you're spending some time with me today.

(01:16): It is 2024, and although I don't do New Year's resolutions per se, I do like to take some time to think about what I can do to set myself up for a good year ahead. So in this episode, I want to share with you some of the energies that we can bring into this year to help set ourselves up for great experiences and pregnancy and birth and really in life. Now, of course, there is a lot that we do not have control over in our lives, but there is actually a lot in our lives that we do have control over, and taking control of the things that we can control is the key to being the very best versions of ourselves and living a happier fuller life, having a happier, fuller pregnancy and birth experience, even if there are challenges. Now, I'm going to go through a few things, but do not feel like you have to work on all of these or implement all of these things in your life.

(02:34): Just start with picking one or two that resonate with you. Some of these may resonate with you, some of these may not, so just pick a couple that resonate with you and focus on those. Remember, you can always save this episode and come back to it if or when you need to refresh, reset, renew. Know that becoming our best selves is a constant work in progress, and this episode will be here whenever you need it. All right, let's go ahead and hop right in. So the first thing that I want to start with is ease.

(03:15): We should open ourselves up to the very real possibility that things do not have to be hard. You can actually have an easy pregnancy, you can have an easy labor, you can have an easy birth. You can even have an easy baby. This does not mean that we ignore problems or concerns. Absolutely not. We acknowledge that things can happen, things can be difficult, and we prepare ourselves for those potential difficulties accordingly. But just like it's important to acknowledge that there can be difficulties, it's equally important to acknowledge that things can also be easy. We've done a great job of highlighting, I think a better job, some of the real and very hard challenges that come with pregnancy, that come with birth, that come with motherhood, and sometimes it can be easy to get stuck in that, to get stuck in some of the challenges and in the worry and in the fear surrounding those challenges.

(04:28): But open yourself up and give some space to allow ease to happen to. There's even this thing where sometimes it's like you almost feel guilty for saying, oh, my labor was actually easy, or, oh, my birth was actually easy, or, oh, my pregnancy was actually easy because you don't want to seem like you're bragging or you don't want to seem like you're dismissive of other people when they have a different experience. But we have to make space. It's really important to make space for the possibility and open up the opportunity for ease to come into our lives to, okay, next up is simplicity. Now listen, there ain't nothing wrong with being big, with being grand with being over the top and extra if that is what suits you, but it is also okay if that is not you at all, or if sometimes that is you to be big granted over the top and extra, and sometimes it's actually not.

(05:39): Social media can make us think that things have to be really big. They have to be really grand, they got to be complicated. You got to put a ton of effort. You got to do this, that and the other. And whether that is a gender reveal party or maternity photo shoot, or maybe it's a baby shower or it is your baby's nursery, there can be pressure sometimes depending on what you see to really go all out, be big, be green, spend all this money, all of those kinds of things. And again, that's okay if that's what you want to do, but you don't have to do that. It is okay if you keep things on the simpler side. Sometimes people mistake keeping things simple as lacking in value and that absolutely is not the case. Really true simplicity reflects someone who is really clear about the things that are important to them and the things that they value, and they are living in that clarity about the things that are valuable to them.

(06:54): So it is okay to embrace simplicity. Next up, we have intentionality. So being intentional means that you are doing things with purpose. You are intentional about how you spend your time. You are intentional about where you put your energy. You are intentional about the company that you keep your time, your presence. That is the most precious resource and it is something that is not renewable. So be sure that you are doing things in a way that is intentional and best serves you. So some ways that that shows up are be intentional about who you choose for your prenatal care, who you allow to take care of you, who you put your trust in for your prenatal care. Be intentional about that decision. Be intentional about who you learn from. Don't just open up these apps and the first person talking about pregnancy and birth. You are giving them your time and attention.

(08:13): Your time and attention is valuable, and you want to be intentional about learning from people who know that so that they are using your time and using your attention and they appreciate it and are giving you information in a way that best serves you. I believe that's going to be from people who have got some training, some knowledge, some expertise. They're very upfront about what they know and what they don't know. So don't just give your time. Don't just learn from anybody. Be intentional about who you learn from and along with that, be intentional about your time on social media. It's a lot of nonsense out there. It's a lot of junk out there. It's a lot of stuff that can sometimes be depressing. It can make you very sad. Towards the end of 2023, I just drastically cut back on my social media because I felt like it was not making me happy and it really wasn't serving me.

(09:13): So I was not only looking at it, but showing up in a way that I just didn't feel good about. It didn't make me feel good. So be intentional about your time and what you do on social media so that you're using things in a way that helps support you, that help up lift you. Now, you also want to be intentional about who you listen to and who you don't listen to. And I'm not just talking about in social media, I'm talking about in your life, okay? That can be the person at your job who wants to tell all these horror stories about pregnancy or that can be an in-law, a family member who's telling you what you should do or you shouldn't do. You should get an epidural. You shouldn't get an epidural, you should have a home birth. You should do this, you should do that.

(10:00): Be intentional about who you listen to or don't listen to and give that time to again, because again, it is your most precious resource. Only curate things that are around you that best serve you. Same thing about who's with you during your labor, during your birth. Be intentional about that. There's some parts of course that you may not have control over, like you may not have control over the doctor who's there, maybe the doctor who's on call, but you can have control over whether you hire a doula, you can have control over how prepared your partner is and helping them get prepared. You can have control over asking for a different nurse. So be intentional about the things that you can be intentional about. Do things with purpose. Your time is your most precious resource. Your pregnancy and birth is incredibly precious and deserves that intention, that purpose, so you have the best outcome.

(11:01): Okay, now let's talk about confidence means feeling sure of yourself and your abilities. And this is not in an arrogant way. This is not in a way that says you are better than someone else. This ain't no competition, okay? This is feeling sure of yourself and your abilities in a secure way. This is recognizing and knowing that you are smart. You know that you are capable. You know that in the context of your pregnancy and birth, your body, you know yourself better than anyone else. Now, the thing about confidence that's really important for you to remember is that confidence is not dependent upon achieving a specific outcome and it does not change or get diminished because you didn't necessarily do something that you set out to do. For example, you might feel quite confident that you can go into your labor and do this thing without any medication. Then you get into your labor and you're like, oh, hell no. Give me that epidural right now. Okay? Please understand that that does not diminish your confidence, okay? What you feel confident about can actually change. Also, confidence is what actually allows you to learn from challenges, learn from mistakes, to ride the waves of unpredictability and change when things don't necessarily go as anticipated. It's feeling sure of yourself and your abilities in that secure and not arrogant way that'll allow you to weather the good, the bad, even the ugly parts of life.

(13:06): Okay? Next up is authenticity. Authenticity means that you are true to yourself. You are true to your own unique and special personality, your own values. You are true to your spirit, your beliefs, and that is regardless of the pressure that you may feel from society or the people around you or otherwise, being authentic means you're honest with yourself and your honest with others, and you also take responsibility for your authenticity. You take responsibility for your values, for your ideals, and your values and your actions actually align. Alright? Now, as Beyonce says in her song, alien Superstar, I'm one of one. There is no one else on this earth like you. Own that and be the fabulous, wonderful self that you are. You are one of one. And in the context of pregnancy and birth, this means showing up and speaking about the ideals and values and things that are important to you.

(14:31): Maybe that means that you really, really want a midwife. Maybe you really, really want an epidural. Maybe you actually want to just go straight to a cesarean. Maybe it's that you really, really want to try for an unmedicated birth. Maybe you've heard a lot about home birth and you hear the buzz, but you actually may feel more comfortable being in a hospital. Be true to yourself, your own values, your own spirit. Let those things align that is going to help you have that best pregnancy, that best birth, that best life. Okay? Let's talk about power. Power is the ability to do something or act in a particular way. Hear me when I say this. I'm over here tapping on my desk. I want y'all to hear me when I say this. Hear me when I say that. You have power. You have so much power in your life.

(15:37): You have power to say yes or no to things. You have power to say yes or no to interventions. You have power to make choices about what happens in your life. You have power to press pause on things, to not do things. You have the power to ask questions. You have the power to use your voice. And perhaps most importantly, although you don't have control over a lot of things in your life, you have all the power over how you react to anything in your life that is absolutely a power that no one can take away from us. Now, I know that there's this power differential in the setting of a doctor patient relationship. I get that when it comes to pregnancy and birth and the way medical care is set up and that power by default has traditionally rested with doctors to make decisions about things.

(16:39): Don't accept that. Do not accept that we are shifting away from that, and rightfully so we're not there yet, of course, but know that you have a tremendous amount of power and the first step to using your power and using it well is knowing and believing that you have it. So hear me when I say that you have power. Now, of course, your power is enhanced by educating yourself right in the context of pregnancy and birth. Educating yourself is exceptionally important in order to help you really best use your power. And this is why things like listening to this podcast or especially childbirth education are incredibly important. This is a hill. I will continue to dial one in 2024. Everybody having a baby needs to do childbirth education. I have my childbirth education class, the birth preparation course, you can check it out at drnicolerankins.com. Of course, continue to listen to this podcast, but there are other resources out there.

(17:42): Find something that works for you. Please do not skip childbirth education. Please do not skip educating yourself so that you can show up and best use your power during your pregnancy, your labor, and your birth. Okay, so next up is peace. Next up is peace. Peace can be sort of a hard thing to define, but when I think of peace, I think of feeling calm. I think of feeling in harmony with things. I think of feeling a sense of freedom. Now, one thing at peace does not mean peace, does not mean that there is no stress. The reality of life is that it is inherently stressful. I really wish there was a way that we could go through life without experiencing stress, but life is an inherently stressful event. That's just the way it is. And it can also feel impossible to have peace when there is a shit storm of things happening around you.

(18:57): Like in our world, in our lives, there are a lot of challenging and difficult things. You also sometimes may wonder, do I even really deserve peace? Because there are so many in our world, so many around us who are suffering. So how can I say that I'm sitting over here feeling peace when others are not. But remember that all you control can control is you and you absolutely deserve peace. And connecting to peace is actually so important and it's actually maybe most important or helpful when we are in those stressful situations in life. Connecting to peace also helps us show up as our best self to help other people. Okay, so please know, please work on please cultivate that sense of inner peace that helps you get through and weather the storms of life. As an example in pregnancy, that can be the maintaining peace in the midst of a problem or during your birth, maintaining peace when you end up having a C-section.

(20:10): For me, during my first pregnancy, I was incredibly anxious. I was then diagnosed with a problem where my child has something called duodenal latricia. Her intestines weren't connected. I knew she was going to have to have surgery after birth, and I did not do a good job of maintaining peace throughout those challenges, and it did not feel good. It made the whole experience a lot more difficult and painful, I think, than it had to be. And so I committed during my second pregnancy to feel more of a sense of peace, even when things popped up and there were a couple of small things, there wasn't anything as big. There was some concern about her kidneys. I had extra fluid, a couple of small things, but I really was able to kind of go through and connect and maintain that inner sense of peace that helped me weather those storms.

(21:03): So work through that sense or cultivate that sense of peace. Meditation is a great way to help cultivate that inner peace. I have a meditation guide that you can use. You can download it. It's free. Drnicolerankins.com/meditate. If you search for apps in the Play store or Apple, I'm a Android girl, so for me it's the Google Play Store. But if you search for apps, I'm sure there are ways or there are lots of options for free meditations on YouTube, all of that kind of good great stuff. And it doesn't have to be a lot actually to have a lot of benefits. Meditation, it can just be for a few minutes a day, a few minutes, a few times a week. So definitely work on that as a way to help cultivate peace. Another thing that's great to help cultivate peace, and there can be some types of meditations like this, but breath work can be really helpful to help you cultivate peace.

(21:58): It's actually really hard to stay in a state of anger or amped up when you focus on your breath and you're intentional about focusing on your breath. And we always have that with us in order to do that. So think about breath work as a way also to work on peace that's great during labor actually, and helping maintain a peace through contractions and pain and all that kind of stuff as well. Okay, I have one more and then I have a bonus one that is kind of my own personal one. So the final one I want to say is joy, joy, joy, joy. This is one that is going to be really important for me in 2024, is just cultivating experiences of joy. And joy is more than pleasure. Pleasure is like short-term kind of things. Like for example, illegal drugs can make people feel pleasurable, right?

(22:54): Or feel pleasure, but that is not actual joy. Joy is pleasure, but also you feel content. It's a conscious effort. There can often be community associated with joy. It's smiles, it's laughter, potentially it's warmth. Cultivate that joy in your life, whether it is doing activities that you love, whether it is spending time with family and friends in regards to your pregnancy. Pregnancy can be tough and sometimes it can be hard to feel moments of joy. I know that I personally did not particularly enjoy being pregnant, but I did always really love feeling my baby's move. I always love that. So connecting to the joyful parts where you can, when you are pregnant, that is the closest that you will ever be to your baby. So talk to your baby, sing to your baby, help cultivate and be conscious about the things that you do during your pregnancy, during your birth to cultivate that joy.

(24:09): Alright, and then the final one. This one is just a bonus thing that I know I'm personally bringing into 2024, and that is service. Service for me is offering my gifts, my talents, my expertise to help others, to help you through this podcast, to help you through my childbirth education class, to help you through my post on Instagram to help people at the bedside who I'm privileged to care for in the hospital. I cannot describe how much it means to me to be able to do this work that I do. And I know sometimes it can feel sort of, I don't want to say rehearsed, I can't think of the right word for it, but sometimes it feels like people out here saying, oh, I'm so grateful that I get to do. They're being like it's lip service or whatever. You feel like you're supposed to say you're grateful.

(25:10): So you say that you are grateful. And that is so far from the truth from me. There is something that physically happens in my body that I can feel when I am working in a service of others. It's some of the things that I spoke about earlier, like feeling joy, like feeling warmth, a sense of accomplishment, a very deep sense of gratitude that I am able to use my God-given gifts and they are truly God-given, using them in a way that using them in the way that they were intended to be used. It truly feeds. It grows and it nourishes my soul. And every day that I am alive and I am able to do that. It's just such a wonderful thing to be in service. And when you send me messages that say how my work has helped you, sometimes through some incredibly difficult and painful situations, or when you dmm me pictures of you and your baby, or when you send me handwritten cards, it is icing on the cake of my service.

(26:29): And I so deeply appreciate all of those messages. They really truly do. Touch my spirit, feed my spirit, help me to show up, help me to keep going when things get challenging, because sometimes they get challenging for me too, y'all sometimes they get challenging for me too. And in 2024, I will most certainly continue to serve in a way that feels easy for me, serve in ways that are intentional, that are authentic, that keeps it simple. I like to keep things simple and I'm going to do so confidently and powerfully. Alright, so just to recap, these are the energies that you can bring into 2024 to set yourself up to have a great pregnancy, great birth, great life, ease, simplicity, intentionality, confidence, authenticity, power and joy. And as I mentioned, I am going to continue with service. Okay, so there you have it. Please share this podcast with a friend.

(27:43): I want to reach and serve as many pregnant women as I can, and I would really appreciate your help in doing so. Though share this podcast with those around you who you think may find it helpful. Also, subscribe to the podcast that helps as well, an Apple podcast or wherever you're listening to me right now. It also really helps if you leave a review in Apple podcast. I always appreciate five star reviews. If you love the podcast, it helps other women to find the show. It helps the show to grow. If you want to shoot me a message, you can do so on Instagram. I'm on Instagram at Dr Nicole Rankins. I love to hear what you think about this show, and I would love to hear what are the energies? Which one or two of these things are you really going for in 2024? I'm going to start focusing on for 2024. I'm serious, I want to hear it. Let me know. Shoot me a DM on Instagram. I would love, love to hear from you. So that is it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.