Before embarking on the most challenging yet extraordinary journey that is motherhood, every expectant mother should be preparing themselves emotionally as well as mentally for their pregnancy.
What to expect when you are preparing for your pregnancy?
- Pregnancy always comes with its own set of highs and lows. It almost seems like a roller coaster ride from being ecstatic after finding out that you are pregnant to postpartum depression and everything in between.
- If this is your first pregnancy then you are going to be extremely overwhelmed and full of worries and other feelings.
- Your psychological and mental health will get affected during your pregnancy
Prepare Yourself Emotionally for Pregnancy
Importance of mental preparation
- There is a lot of scientific research that shows how a mother’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences impact their pregnancy and the baby who is growing in their womb.
- It is much easier to prepare yourself physically for your pregnancy but emotional preparation is often difficult and comes with a lot of challenges.
- If you take steps to be emotionally well prepared during your pregnancy then you can expect better outcomes during your delivery and you will have a better mental state during the postpartum period.
- Children born to parents with greater stress and anxiety in the prenatal period often run the risk of having greater complications such as low birth weight, poor growth in the uterus, low neonatal status, and even premature birth.
There are a lot of ways to become mentally prepared for your pregnancy such as
Being aware of the risk factors associated with your pregnancy-
Ask your doctor about it and be aware of the risk factors that may be associated with your pregnancy due to your pre-existing mental health or physical health conditions. Prepare yourself physically and mentally according to those risk factors.
Being educated about those risk factors and knowing their onset symptoms will help you to identify them sooner. It will also help you to seek immediate medical help and attention during your pregnancy.
If you had any pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety now would be a good time to start therapy sessions so that the therapist can help you to mentally guide yourself during this journey and you will also be able to learn stress management techniques that will be beneficial for both you and your baby.
Know all the alternative outcomes-
During pregnancy, you will find that often things can be unpredictable and they don’t go according to the plan. You should be mentally preparing yourself for such scenarios and remember that it is always a possibility.
Prepare beforehand for all potential symptoms-
One way to be mentally prepared about your pregnancy is to be aware of and well prepared for different kinds of potential pregnancy symptoms of the prenatal period. The symptoms include food cravings, aching, pain, breast tenderness, as well as unexpected symptoms such as pica and preeclampsia or other complications.
Knowing what is expected to happen to your body will also help you to mentally prepare for such outcomes.
Remember that no matter how much you prepare for your pregnancy by reading, books, blogs, parenting magazines, and websites, something unexpected might always happen during your pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a unique experience and it is often unpredictable. However, educating yourself and preparing well beforehand about the various symptoms and outcomes will be helpful and you will be better equipped to mentally accept and deal with such situations.
Know your support system-
Strong support system during the prenatal and also postpartum period is very crucial. You need to find your support system. The support can be from your partner, family members, friends, parents, or neighbors.
This will help you to remember that you are not alone in your journey and there will always be people who will be able to support you during your pregnancy. Your friends and family are going to be your biggest support system.
A proper support system has shown improving the outcomes by reducing the risk of a premature baby as your social support will help to reduce your anxiety, depression, and stress. Research shows that social support during your prenatal as well as postnatal period will help you to improve your postpartum mental health. Some ways that you can employ to build a tangible and informational support system that will help you before and after your baby arrives-
- You should always honestly and frankly communicate with your partner about your mental health conditions.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from them if you need them.
- Always remember that you are loved even when pregnancy becomes challenging and you lose the energy to perform simple chores.
- Ask your loved ones to help you and they will always be there. Join any pregnancy group. This is especially helpful because you will be able to share your experience with other expectant mothers and they will be able to relate with your experiences because they are also going through the same thing.
- You can also join childbirth classes, parenting classes, and/or pregnancy classes where you will also find a large number of people who will provide you informational support during your pregnancy.
Prioritize your mental and emotional help too-
Pregnant women often forget their mental health as they become preoccupied with their physical health. Remember that pregnancy is a drastic right change and it warrants psychological adjustments.
Keep track of your thoughts-
Monitoring your emotions and thoughts will make it easier for you to understand them. Keeping a journal is a good way to keep your feelings documented during your pregnancy journey.
Learn your stressbusters-
A good way to keep your emotions and mental state from dwindling is to know your stress busters. It can be yoga, meditation, journaling, or talking with your friends and family. It can even be pampering yourself with a prenatal massage, indulging in a makeover or a new haircut, or a good manicure.This is a must when you are ready to be mom.
Prepare a budget-
An addition to your family will have financial ramifications. It is better to prepare a budget beforehand that will consider that hospital costs, prenatal and postnatal expenses along with financial details of your child’s future. If you are well prepared regarding your financial plan, it will put your mind at ease.
Be mentally prepared for lots of lifestyle changes-
You can no longer drink alcohol, smoke, or even have caffeine during your pregnancy. Such Lifestyle changes can be difficult to deal with initially.
During pregnancy, you will feel more tired as your trimester progresses and you will have to take a break from your job and postpone your traveling plans. If you are mentally prepared to take on these changes then it will be much easier to deal with your pregnancy. These changes will make the best way for Ideal Parenting.
Prepare a to-do list-
Such a list will help you to manage your time and it will also help with your forgetfulness that is bound to happen by the second trimester. You will feel more prepared to take on daily tasks. In your to-do list make time for your rests and plan your schedule around your physical clock.
Such a list will also help you to prepare for the year baby’s arrival by reminding you of all the things that need to be completed such as baby-proofing the house and buy baby essentials.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are some strategies to improve mental health?
Some strategies that you can adopt to improve your mental health are letting go of negativity and negative self-talk, making time for yourself and have fun. Remember that this is going to be a very unique and adventurous experience so you should enjoy it as much as you can. Talk about painting strategies with your partner and start learning stress management techniques to improve your mental health.
- How to prepare my other children emotionally for my pregnancy?
Psychologically prepare your other children for the arrival of a new family member by honestly discussing with them about their emotional responses to your pregnancy. Fear, anxiety, and jealousy are quite a common response to a new sibling. Don’t make them feel judged if they have any negative emotional response to the news.
- What should I do if I feel mentally unwell?
Talk to your partner or someone you can trust. Discuss your feelings. That helps.
Keep aside some time for each of your children. Don’t let them feel neglected. Make them feel included by asking them to pick out various baby items or discuss with them about baby names. Get your other children excited about the baby.
Pregnancy is not only about physically preparing for a baby but it also includes mental preparation. Always assess your specific situation and needs. Take stock of your present stress and anxiety in life. Find a proper and unfailing support system. A successful and happy pregnancy is the outcome of both physical and mental care and wellbeing.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.