Five Tips for Newly Pregnant Women
A dear friend of mine is pregnant with her first. At just 12 weeks along, she is plagued with the usual worries, stresses and uncertainties we all faced…and for many weeks before today, she only had me to turn to for solace and advice as she kept her growing belly a secret from the rest of her world. I wanted to fill her with confidence but at the same time, I know and understand the turmoil that can come with those first few months of the great unknown…and I didn’t want to minimize that experience for her, either. As unpleasant as it can be. Because it’s all part of the experience. So here are the things I have tried to tell her – and want to tell her – and all newly pregnant women out there:
1) Be nervous, but don’t be paralyzed with paranoia. Yes, this is new to you and your body and yes, bad things happen all the time in pregnancies. Some with good reason, some with none at all. It’s ok to be nervous, but if you let yourself be crippled by nerves (as I did with my first), you won’t find the time or energy to actually enjoy the miracle as it unfolds. And there is so much to enjoy.
2) Don’t read everything they tell you to read. Here’s what to really expect: every pregnancy is different and no book can (or should) address it for you in such general terms. When you have specific concerns, ask your mom, your girlfriends and of course, your doctor, but don’t spend your time reading about all the things that may concern you, just because they are in a book and happened to someone else. Read more about what to do when baby comes, because that knowledge will be put to very good use in the early, sleep-deprived days (here are my must-reads for new parents).
3) Do use pregnancy as an excuse. Too tired? Too crabby? Too hungry? Of course you are. And you are perfectly entitled. So embrace it, own it, and make sure those around you are ok with that. Pregnancy is a mental and physical roller coaster and everyone in your life is along for the ride to a certain degree, whether or not they bought a ticket (disclaimer: your partner bought a ticket). It sounds harsh, but it’s true, and you have to feel comfort in knowing that and in feeling secure in that.
4) Don’t plan too far ahead. For the next nine months or beyond. Think about your dream labor plan, but don’t marry it. Visualize the nursery but no need to shop for it immediately. Don’t worry about your parenting style or whether or not you will choose Montessori or Waldorf. A lot can change over the course of the next nine months – and a lot more changes once you actually meet your child – so rather than worrying too much about the future, try to focus on the present and deal with that first. There’s plenty of it to deal with every day.
5) Try to enjoy every moment. And they aren’t all that enjoyable…or so it seems. But when physical, mental and emotional fatigue get the best of you, try to sit back and reflect on the miracle you are creating and appreciate that. As a woman who has done it twice, I always think back and wish I had complained a little less, enjoyed a little more, and relished every kick, cramp and nerve-inducing ultrasound. Because it may be a long process, but it is one that is simply unparalleled in this life and some day when you look back on it, you will wish you had done the same. I promise.
Have a wonderful nine months. xx
*image above via here