Sat 09 Jul 2016
Pregnancy, whether you love it or hate it, whether you bloom or wilt, will have an impact on you and your emotions and relationships.
Most woman experiencing a first pregnancy will continue to work, meeting friends, travelling, sports activities and so on. If they are lucky they will find that the physical aspects of pregnancy do not impact greatly until the last few weeks. Other women find their body feels under a lot of stress with aches, heaviness, digestive discomforts and more besides.
But the issue that few people talk about is the emotional impact of pregnancy.
Giving birth and becoming a mum is possibly the most significant event in most women’s lives. It challenges the woman in all sorts of ways that we least expect. Our feelings about ourselves change, our relationship with our partner, our emotional vulnerability increases and even the most confident woman finds herself doubting her abilities.
One of the best pieces of advice I offer is for a woman to take time in her pregnancy to “BE pregnant”, maybe attending a preparation class or a yoga session. This one spot in her week allows her to connect with the baby and think about the changes she is facing. Also try to stop working at 36 /37 weeks at the latest. Women need a buffer zone between stopping work and becoming a mother otherwise the adjustment may prove overwhelming.
A few weeks at home, taking life easy and meeting with other women can help women to say goodbye to corporate life and to prepare for life with a baby, it is also great fun!
The other useful thing is to take the opportunity to go to a class with your partner. His life does not really change during your pregnancy so he needs some preparation time too. Many couples say that after a class they really enjoy discussing the ideas that come up and exploring their individual attitudes to parenting. It brings them closer together and ensures that both Mum and Dad are involved.
Take some time together to think about the early weeks. It is all too easy to get completely hooked on the birth forgetting that the early days can be demanding. Here, a little planning goes a long way. Assume that you will be resting completely for the first week or so and think about how your partner can best be supported to care for you. Planning menus, getting extra help, simplifying the household will all help.
Finally, when the moment comes to say “Hello” to your baby, relax and enjoy that special time together.
Life will ever be quite the same again.
Many thanks for Tina Perridge from Neighbourhood Midwives for this lovely post.