“Worry is the work of pregnancy.”
This was the title of a chapter from the book Birthing From Within, by Pam England & Rob Horowitz. I won’t deny that when I read it, I felt an enormous sense of relief. See, I’m supposed to be worrying now!
It’s Mother Nature’s way of preparing us for the enormity of the task at hand: nurturing another being who is wholly dependent upon us for its survival.
But excessive worrying is not something we want to indulge during pregnancy, especially since all those stress chemicals affect the baby as well.
In my own experience, I was confronted with situations that, under different circumstances, might not have been a big deal. However, being pregnant, I found myself more likely to perceive them as threatening. My entire being would go into self-protective mode, to the point where I would feel my nervous system over-reacting, rousing my Mama Bear ferocity and hyper-vigilance.
After some days of this, not only would I feel strung-out, defensive, and depleted ~ on top of that, as if I needed something else to worry about, I would then worry about the effect that all this stress was having on my baby! Fortunately, my plant allies came to my rescue and helped to stop this cycle of stress so that I could deal with these situations in a more constructive way.
Enter oat straw. This food’s nourishing action coats the nervous system, soothing frayed nerves, and promotes resilience. It is an herbal nervine that is gentle enough to consume often during pregnancy. Because it works to repair nerve endings, it can also enhance pleasures of the senses.
Like nettles, oat straw is nourishing, chock-full of minerals, and works well when brewed as an infusion. High in magnesium and calcium, it can help to ease muscle cramps, as well as make sure that your calcium supply is adequate through pregnancy and nursing.
Also like nettles, oat straw is most effective when consumed daily over time. Unlike some of the more fast-acting nervines, oat straw is more of a tonic herb. I prefer it as an infusion or tea to maximize nutrient content. As a tea, I have enjoyed blending oat straw with other mild nervines, like lemon balm and chamomile, and also with smaller amounts of stronger nervines like valerian and skullcap when needed.
Now that I’m in the last days of my pregnancy, I’m more focused on staying calm and centered. In fact, it has become an absolute priority for me; I’m simply refusing to let anything harsh my mellow right now. I am so grateful to the plants for supporting me in this ~ including oat straw, an important ingredient in the relaxation-promoting tea blends that I’ve crafted (which are divine with my homemade lavender-infused honey!).