Pregnancy may leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated and exhausted — sometimes all at once. Even if you’re thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.
It’s natural to worry about your baby’s health, your adjustment to motherhood and the financial demands of raising a child. You may wonder how the baby will affect your relationship with your partner or what type of parent you’ll be. If you’re working, you may worry about your productivity on the job and how to balance the competing demands of family and career.
You may also experience misgivings and bouts of weepiness or mood swings. To cope with these emotions, remind yourself that what you’re feeling is normal. Take good care of yourself, and look to your partner and other loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If the mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider for additional support.
Your relationship with your partner
Becoming a mother takes time away from other roles and relationships. You may lose some of your psychological identity as a partner and lover — but good communication can help you keep intimacy alive.
- Be honest. Let your partner know that you need support and tenderness — sometimes without sexual overtones. Identify the stress points in your relationship before they become problematic.
- Be patient. Occasional misunderstandings and conflicts are inevitable. Consider both sides. If your partner dives into work, for example, you may feel hurt and rejected because it appears as a withdrawal from your relationship. Your partner, on the other hand, may simply be trying to provide more security for your family.
- Be supportive. Encourage your partner to identify any doubts or worries. Do the same yourself. Discussing your feelings honestly and openly will strengthen your relationship and help you begin preparing a home for your baby.
As anticipation grows, fears about childbirth may become more persistent. How much will it hurt? How long will it last? How will I cope?
If you haven’t done so already, you may want to take childbirth classes. You’ll learn what to expect — and meet other moms-to-be who share your excitement and concerns. Talk with women who’ve had positive birth experiences, and ask your health care provider about options for pain relief. Tell yourself that you’ll simply do the best you can. There’s no right or wrong way to have a baby.
The reality of parenthood may start to sink in as well. You may feel anxious and overwhelmed, especially if this is your first baby. To stay calm, revel in the experience of being pregnant and think about the joy that will come from loving a new human being.
- Write your thoughts in a journal.
- Talk to your baby.
- Take photos of your pregnant belly to share with your child one day.
It also may help to plan ahead. If you’re going to breast-feed, consider what supplies you might need, such as a breast pump. Think about what’s right for your family regarding circumcision if your baby is a boy. Consider who will be your baby’s principal care provider. Make plans for your first weeks together.