It’s normal to feel stressed and scared of giving birth and having a baby. Lately you might have been finding it hard to relax or fall asleep. You might also have countless worries about the future and dealing with other huge changes and challenges (perhaps about finances, employment, business, relationships, other health concerns). Add to that the concerns about the coronaviruses , national economy, global warming and other major issues we face and hear in the news. Today, it truly feels impossible to be calm and relaxed.
Thankfully, there are ways to somehow feel calm and be mentally prepared during this challenging time. For example, many mums recognise that there are several things beyond their control. They also have found some comfort by talking with their friends and families about being pregnant and giving birth. Some did that online by participating in discussion groups and forums.
Mums somehow feel a sense of relief in the talking and sharing of experiences and internal struggles. They even feel fascinated and surprised about others’ stories and experiences. They also come to realise that there are others who feel they’re still clueless and helpless about what’s to happen.
Talking with the doctors and healthcare professionals is still important so that they can help you and your baby stay safe and healthy. However, emotional connection is also important and you can find and feel that by communicating with your friends, family and fellow mums who share the same concerns and struggles as you.
Aside from initiating and maintaining communication and emotional connection, many mums also find it helpful to stay busy and active throughout the day or night. They still try to do some light exercise such as walking and continue on with their hobbies. They still do many of the things they enjoy before pregnancy and childbirth. The difference is that they take it slow and get more rest.
However, there will be mornings and days that you won’t feel like doing anything (or perhaps it’s already happening). Whether it’s because you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, it’s perfectly all right to just lie down and rest. The day will take care of itself as long as you take care of the basics and essentials (staying physically healthy, consulting with the doctor, talking with friends and family).
It also helps to just start moving and complete a small task. For example, minutes after you wake up you can warm up and then do some light exercise (e.g. walking for 10 minutes). You can also write a few things in your diary such as what’s your mood for that day or what happened yesterday. The goal here is to jumpstart your day and build momentum (and stop yourself from thinking in cycles). Once you’ve done that, you can always find many other things to keep yourself busy. And before you know it, the day is over and you’re getting by every day (especially if you have a routine you can stick to).
Even if you keep yourself busy though, there will still be times that you feel inadequate. You fear that you can’t do a good job of being a mum. After all, your baby will completely depend on your care and attention. As a mum, you want what’s best for your baby and you want to make sure that everything will be alright and perfect.
You have to let go of that perfection. Several things can still go wrong no matter how prepared we are. Many things and events are totally out of our control, and we can’t do anything but to stay strong. Also, most things we just figure them out along the way. Although mums are excellent at paying attention to details and used to worrying all day and all night, still most of them feel that they’re unprepared and inadequate. It’s especially the case now when a newborn completely depends on them about health, safety and comfort.
It’s normal to feel the stress and fear during pregnancy and even months and years after labour and childbirth. It won’t get any easier because there will always be new challenges as your child grows up. For now, it’s important to take things one step at a time. Today, you can talk with your doctor, family and friends. You can also walk for 10 minutes and get yourself moving. Or, you can just lie down, take a nap and do almost nothing for the whole day. Not every day is a perfect day and you’ll still always feel the stress, fear and struggle. It’s normal to feel those things no matter how prepared you are because you can still trust yourself to do a great job of being a mum.