Whether this is your first pregnancy or you’re a decorated childbirth veteran, pregnancy can be a scary, isolating time, while simultaneously being the most joyful and rewarding experience of your life. In the rush to prepare your body for this enormous feat, it’s easy to neglect your emotional wellbeing. These tips will help you take good care of you. (Someone has to!)
If you’re pregnant, now is the time to make relaxation and art form. While rest comes naturally to most of us when we are tired, genuine relaxation is a skill that requires practice. Applying relaxation techniques such as breathwork and meditation, or exploring alternative practices like music therapy and hypnobirthing could help you cultivate a super zen approach to pregnancy and childbirth. Simple everyday activities can be restful, too. A long walk on the beach or reading a good book could help you hone your relaxing skills in preparation for the big day.
While nine months might feel like a long time, your pregnancy can fill up fast with appointments and various other kinds of work and planning geared towards preparing your body for delivery. While those First 1000 Days are key when it comes to prenatal nutrition, it’s also vital to care for yourself emotionally. Sometimes that means giving yourself permission to be a little selfish. Whether it’s a trip to the nail salon or lunch with your girls, set some time aside to do things you like to do, guilt-free. As a Mum-to-be, it’s important to guard against the notion that your very existence is for the sake of your baby. It can be helpful during pregnancy to remind yourself that you matter in your own right.
Gather Your Support Network Before You Need It
If you’re expecting, or you’re a new mum, having a space in which you can share the joys—and struggles—of pregnancy and motherhood is an essential coping strategy. The later stages of pregnancy, and especially the first year of motherhood, can be lonely times if you’re used to being at work. Even if you don’t love your job and you’re looking forward to the time away, don’t underestimate the role other people play in your life. Whether it’s a prenatal class or a support group for new mums, reaching out to other women whose experience reflects your own will help you remember that you are not alone and encourage you to open up about the challenges you face. A group of mums-to-be who meet regularly can also be a great resource for parenting advice once the kiddos are born. Your midwife is a good person to ask about any local antenatal classes going on in your area, and your GP, or even a quick Google search, should point you to support groups that will be a good fit for you.
As a pregnant woman, you probably have loads of people giving you advice about how to look after your body during pregnancy. But what about your mental health? It pays to take some time during your first trimester to understand how pregnancy, childbirth and your infant’s early years could affect you emotionally and put into practice a few habits to help you cope with the ups and downs. These tips will help you care for your emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and beyond.