Wow! You’re pregnant! Congratulations. And yet, despite the euphoria, there are feelings of dread, uncertainty and anxiety. For many women, this comes with every pregnancy, whether it is their first child or their third.
It is a time of great change and for many of us, that is tough to handle. Combined with your own feelings of trepidation and insecurity, there is your partner to consider too, and their concerns too. It is also a time where family members, work colleagues, friends and complete strangers feel they have the right to tell you what to do and not do, where you are going wrong and why.
Others also feel that they can impose their own belief systems about what a ‘good’ pregnancy is as well as wax lyrical about how to give birth.
And then there is the debate about breastfeeding and formula feeding, which is best, better or the devil in disguise. Here’s the big question – are you looking after you?
Pouring from an empty cup
Running on empty when pregnant, either physical or emotional energy, is simply not possible. Thus, looking after you is essential. But how?
Take action that suits you
From finding a discreet incontinence pad supplier who delivers regular orders to your door that makes managing occasional leaks or urine easier, to practising pregnancy yoga to eating crackers when you wake in the morning, do what works for you. Bear in mind that every pregnancy is different and so what worked the first time around, may not the second. Be agile – in other words, be prepared to adapt from one pregnancy to another, from one trimester to another, from one week to another, from one day to another.
Take time out
You can’t unstrap your baby bump for an hour or two but you can close the door on the world and all that well-meaning advice.
Unwinding, de-stressing, zoning out, call it what you want but just as in everyday life, taking time to disconnect, even if it is for half an hour, can leave us feeling renewed and vitalised to face the rest of the week.
There will be some days where rest is essential. And there are other days when a brisk walk around the park is just what you need. But again, there are all kinds of beliefs that others have about pregnant women exercising. Providing you were an active gym bunny pre-pregnancy, there are no reasons why you can’t continue. You’ll probably find the gym staff will help you adapt your routine anyway.
Keep an eye on your mental health
Thankfully, we have started to talk more about mental health and how, for some of us, days, weeks and months can be a struggle.The black cloud of depression hangs around and yet we don’t know why – we have everything we need and want. And yet…
Hormones in pregnancy magnify mental health issues and it is very easy for everyone, including you, to just assume that it is part and parcel of being pregnant. It is, in some ways, but there are also warning signs we need to keep an out for and when we ‘see’ them, we must reach out for help. But at a time when you are low, reaching out is the hardest thing to do. The days of social services popping up and taking your baby away because you have dared to admit to feeling depressed, stressed and uncertain are gone.
There are mental health charities and phone lines who can help and will listen. Please talk. Please share.
This includes the basics and the luxuries;
- The basics – shower. Go to appointments in good time. Eat well. Stay hydrated. Talk to your midwife/GP/pharmacist if you feel unwell just as you did before pregnancy and before you were mum.
- The luxuries – a warm bath, with bubbles and candles and the door locked so everyone knows it is calm and relaxing time for the lady growing a small human inside her. Or sit in the park, the garden or anywhere you like, reading a book and enjoying a chocolate treat or two.
Banish guilt and shame
It is easier said than done because more mums – and dads – will tell you that most of the early years of being a parent are marred by guilt. Are they doing the right thing? Should you be going out and leaving the baby with a sitter? Should you go back to work? And then there is the guilt-tripping that others do, sometimes without realising and without malice. They’ll tell you ‘what you are doing wrong’ or imply you are making the ‘wrong decisions’. Banish this negativity and look forward to a joyous time, a time of amazing change and embrace it. Because you are amazing!
HARTMANN Direct is one of the leading discreet incontinence pad suppliers in the UK. Their products are safe for use during and after pregnancy.