A practical guide to pregnancy and being a parent: Having Mixed Emotions
Pregnancy is a time of change, both physically and emotionally. Whether or not this has been a planned pregnancy, you might be having mixed feelings.
Many parents have times of great joy, anticipation and excitement about meeting their baby, but many can also feel sad and worried. There are several possible causes for these changing emotions: tiredness, changes in hormones, worries about pregnancy and birth, and other kinds of stress. Some of these feelings can be caused by the normal physical and hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. Others are caused by changes to your life and relationships that come with pregnancy and becoming a parent.
When you’re stressed, your baby’s environment is stressed too. Learning ways to cope with stress in pregnancy will help you now, and will also build coping skills for the normal, every day stresses of parenting.
To cope with stress and changing emotions you can:
- get enough rest and sleep
- eat well
- stay active
- keep your life simple
- talk about your feelings with someone who understands (e.g., your partner, family or friends)
- ask for and accept help from others
- try to do one special thing for yourself each day
- learn more about stress and pregnancy
- start reading about the early years to get ready for parenting
It’s normal to be a little worried or feel sad while you’re pregnant. However, if these feelings are strong and don’t go away, or if you find yourself crying a lot and feeling very anxious, talk to your health care provider.
It may help if you are in contact with other people who are expecting. No one understands pregnancy like other parents-to-be. Childbirth education classes, prenatal exercise courses and similar social activities are good places to meet other expectant parents—you can build on that support with parenting programs after your baby is born.
It will help if you can be patient with yourself and others. Keep your expectations realistic. Try to maintain good and open communication with your partner.
Remember, the best way to take care of your baby is to take care of yourselves.
Make time for you
Make time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. You can start by writing a list of the things that help you relax—maybe a short walk with a friend, a bath, an afternoon nap or reading a book. You might want to try meditating, listening to music or going to a relaxation class.
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