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Coping with emotional changes

It'll help if you accept that you will feel upset from time to time - all pregnant women do - and that there are things you can do to help you cope with your mood swings.

Coping with emotions
© Jupiter

If you can, look on the emotional turmoil you're going through as a positive force as you adjust to being pregnant and becoming a mother. Don't imagine that having second thoughts or fears means you've made a mistake. You're just tossing this around in your head the way one wrestles with any big life decision. Yet social conditioning can make us feel guilty if we don't walk around with a madonna-like expression and saintly attitude to everything. That's absurd. Being pregnant isn't all fun. Accepting the reality is the best thing you can do for yourself and your child.

Coping and spending time daydreaming

Imagining and thinking about your baby helps you to build your relationship with her even before she's born, so don't feel silly if you find yourself spending a couple of hours doing nothing but thinking about your baby. Making that connection with the tiny person growing inside you is the first step in accepting your child. Many mothers find they have an undisguised preference for a girl or a boy in their daydreams. Although it isn't usually a problem if your newborn turns out to be the opposite sex from the one you wanted, it can mean you have to readjust, so try not to get too carried away with your plans!

Think about your parents

Your parents are about to become grandparents, perhaps for the first time. They may be delighted, they may be upset, or they may feel a combination of both reactions. In other words, they might be feeling confused about their new role too. Some people see becoming grandparents as meaning that they're getting old, and this can be unsettling for someone who perhaps feels only just middle-aged. Try to be understanding and loving with your parents. Include them in your pregnancy and share your feelings with them.

Grandparents

A new baby means a new role not only for you but maybe for your parents, too.

Once your baby's born they're bound to revel in their roles as doting grandparents, but they may feel they're still too young when you first tell them the good news.

Talk to other mums for a change

A pregnant woman can feel isolated. You may find that you're the first in your circle of friends to start a family, and that you don't know any other pregnant women or mums. It can be lonely. There's so much that you want to know and talk about. You may have little niggles and worries that you feel are too irrelevant or silly to talk about at your antenatal clinic, and you may wish you knew someone who was going through the same thing or who already had a child. If you feel like this, find someone you can talk to - join parent groups, make friends with other pregnant women in your childbirth classes, and ask your friends or family if they know any pregnant women, or parents whom you could get to know. You may find these relationships go on long after your baby is born. And don't forget your partner - if you're feeling isolated, the chances are he is too, so include him and expand your social circle together. There are also a number of websites (see The National Meet-a-Mum Association (MAMA)) for pregnant women and mums where you can log on and discuss all sorts of worries and questions, and share your experiences.

Share your feelings and emotions

Wanting to talk through and share what you're feeling and thinking during your pregnancy is natural. Your partner is an obvious first choice, and he'll probably be anxious to talk to you. There are bound to be things that he'd like to talk about: worries, things that he may have not wanted to discuss with you because he thought that he might upset you or you might think him silly, or because you were too busy, or too tired. Keep talking. You need each other more now than ever before. Denying or ignoring your fears and feelings won't make them go away. Suppressed feelings have a very nasty way of festering and then surfacing when you're least able to deal with them, so turning into full-blown problems. If you bring these problems out in the open when they first come up, you'll be able to deal with them and get on with your lives.

Dreams

You may find your dreams become more frequent, and even frightening, in the last trimester.

Many pregnant women report common themes and all express deep feelings and concerns that are entirely natural - everybody worries at one time or another that something will be wrong or go wrong with their baby. You may have dreams about losing your baby; and this is usually an expression of fear about miscarrying or having a stillborn baby. Dreams like these may be the brain's way of preparing for an unwanted outcome and also help to bring these feelings to the surface. Dreams can act as a release for your anxieties.

Dreams, nightmares, and thoughts in general may also be a way of expressing hostility to your unborn child. She's going to take over your life, disrupting your privacy and comfortable routine. They may express feelings you may not be able to cope with or even be consciously aware of. Again, don't make the mistake of taking dreams literally and then feeling guilty or frightened.

Posted 30.06.2010

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