Whether you were planning your pregnancy or it came about as a surprise, it’s normal to feel a mix of emotions with each passing day. Growing a human takes a lot of effort physically and emotionally and it’s ok not to love every single moment of it. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to make a great mum (spoiler: you already are a great mum!)
The thought of welcoming your precious bundle can also come with the worry of what you can and can’t do during pregnancy, fears around labour and birth, worries about caring for a newborn, financial stress, career stress – and combine all that with those surging hormone levels and you can quickly start to feel overwhelmed.
Firstly, know this is very normal and almost every pregnant woman before you has felt the exact same, but also know there are plenty of things you can do to help manage these emotions and feelings to help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.
1. Positive vibes
Try actively focusing on the positive elements, especially in moments you start to feel overwhelmed about what is ahead of you. Writing lists, writing in a journal or trying a gratitude app, pausing to stop and visualise yourself with your baby, or even just thinking about what it will be like holding them in your arms and looking into their eyes. Visualising those precious moments can help those happy hormones kick in and is a powerful mindfulness tool.
2. Ditch the guilt
For some reason, many of us can feel guilty when we are taking care of ourselves. But there is nothing selfish about self-care. Prioritising you is prioritising your baby, so feel free to say no to an event you don’t feel like attending, leave the messy house and take a nap instead and book in for those pregnancy massages!
3. Sleep & rest is vital
Sleep is non-negotiable for your health and mental wellbeing so you need to get plenty of rest during pregnancy. Pregnancy insomnia can affect many mamas-to-be, so if you’re fighting the ZZZs at night time, you might need to factor in extra time for naps or rest during the day.
4. Eating right
A healthy balanced diet during pregnancy is not only important for your growing baby – it can also work wonders for your mental health. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish will give you the energy you need to keep healthy, fit and strong during the nine months – as well as once that little bundle arrives!
5. Talk talk talk
Whether it’s with your partner, your doctor or a trained professional, talking about how you’re feeling – good and bad – is so important. Don’t feel bad for not being happy and over the moon about being pregnant or your baby all the time, it’s perfectly normal to ride the rollercoaster of emotions during pregnancy. It’s only natural to have good days and bad.
However, if the bad days are outweighing the good and you can’t seem to find those positives, speak with your doctor as you may be experiencing prenatal depression. You’re not alone and it doesn’t mean you love your baby any less
For more information on mental health conditions in pregnancy visit COPE or contact lifeline 24/7 on 131114.
6. Exercise & movement
Keeping active and doing exercise right throughout your pregnancy is not only going to help keep your body healthy and strong – it will also do wonders for your mind. Exercise helps get the blood flowing and boosts endorphins – those wonderful things that make you feel happy and positive! Even if you just go for a simple walk that can be enough to clear the mind and reset.
If you’re not feeling up to exercise, yoga or meditation are a great way to connect your mind & body.
If you’re unsure about what exercise is safe to do during pregnancy, check out our guide here or always speak with your doctor or midwife.
7. Educate yourself
During pregnancy it’s a good idea to start reading about what is going on with your body and baby – and to be aware of what’s ahead. But information overwhelm is real – so don’t feel like you have to read every single book. Pick a couple of sources that align with your values and what type of parent you want to be and stick with them.
Download the Kiindred app now for your daily snapshot of what’s going on with you and your baby. Simple, easy-to-digest advice from trusted experts.
If something is worrying you about pregnancy, childbirth or parenting in general, always speak with your doctor – ask questions – that’s what they are there for and can reassure you. It can be very scary and overwhelming but this is what they have spent years training for and doing and chances are they’ve heard it all before.
8. Get prepared
That doesn’t mean you have to have everything done straight away – forget people who tell you you have to have everything done by a certain week. Make yourself a list and work through it at your own pace. Start by making a list of essentials and non-essentials and work through it in that order.
Your baby won’t notice if their nursery isn’t Pinterest-perfect or they don’t have a perfectly curated wardrobe of outfits. Make sure you’ve got the essentials and the rest is just a bonus.
9. Start building that village
You can’t do everything so stop trying – it’s time to start delegating now. Give your partner their own to-do list that they can work through and then wherever possible enlist family and friends to help you work through yours.
It’s also important to think about what support you will have once the baby arrives. Talk with your partner about their role and ways they can support you and care for the baby. You will be recovering so in those early weeks they will need to step it up. If your partner can’t because of their job or circumstances, think about where you can find other support. Friends or family, a postpartum doula or nanny or organising meal deliveries, cleaners etc.
10. Connect with other mums
You’re never alone and we guarantee you’re not the only mum feeling the things you are feeling. Whether you have friends who are mums or you find a local mothers group, or even connect with other mums online, sharing stories and experiences can help you to know what you are feeling is normal and very common – and chances are you will have a good laugh together swapping war stories! And laughter is always good for the soul!
Remember that pregnancy is hard and you are not alone, taking some simple steps to keep on top of your mental health and wellbeing will serve you well during pregnancy and into parenthood.
We’re not meant to have all the answers so if you are finding the overwhelm is becoming too much, you are feeling constantly run down or the anxiety is getting too much, speak with your doctor or midwife about how you can manage it.