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Preparing yourself emotionally for pregnancy

Preparing yourself emotionally for pregnancy

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Much as you would like to believe that the feisty, focussed woman who put her career front and foremost of her life will remain when you become pregnant, you need to manage your expectations. You will change. Your view of the world will change. And there is actually very little you can do about it.

There’s a reason for this, and it is called Hormones. The second you become pregnant, a different balance of hormones kicks. This completely natural and necessary change has its roots deep in your primeval brain, as they are designed to encourage you to retreat and protect your unborn child. The survival of the species is stronger than time itself.

Human chorionic gonadotrophin

From the moment of conception, your hormone balance is changing. Within days, the fertilised egg releases a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG), which signals to your body that you are pregnant and that your body needs to start changing to accommodate the change in status.

This increase in HCG, oestrogen and progesterone manifests itself by the following physical changes:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tender breasts
  • A feeling of light headedness
  • Increased desire to pee

There are other more esoteric changes that might happen, one of which is a heightened emotional sensitivity.

Why am I crying?

There will be many occasions in the coming weeks and months when you find yourself bursting into tears at the smallest and most ridiculous of occasions. From going ‘awwww’ at a cute Maileg Mouse toy advert, to the struggle of a young hatching baby bird to break free from its egg – your heightened emotional state and mood swings will feel uncontrollable.

As well as being triggered physically by your changing hormone levels, it is also a time when you realise your previous life is coming to an end, no matter how wanted the pregnancy. If this is your first child, it can bring with you a mix of emotions encompassing fear, anxiety and excitement, as you start to feel your way forward in this new world of parenthood. Suddenly you are no longer the number one priority – your as yet unborn child is, and it is your responsibility to nurture it and bring it into this world. That can be a terrifying prospect, and one which is further enhanced by the uncontrollable changes that are made on your body as a result of the changing hormones.

That loss of ‘self’ can get trapped in a negative cycle of lowered self esteem. While everyone’s experience is different, there are many women who have previously been in control of their bodies – working out, eating well, understanding their cycle and adapting accordingly. When it comes to pregnancy, that sense of control goes out the window. No matter how hard you try and encourage the way your body reacts, ultimately it will do what it needs to do to protect and nurture your unborn child.

Taste and smell

Gradually, all those aspects of life that made you what you were, who you were, are changing. From changes in energy levels, when a normally forthright and energetic career woman to someone who just needs to sleep at the most inopportune moments, to massive shifts in the way certain foods taste.

Even your sense of smell changes. Many women report that they cannot stand the way their husbands small during the months that they are pregnant. Yet as soon as they give birth, those senses return to normal.

The best piece of advice any new mom can take is to relax and listen to what your body is telling you. The more you try and fight it, the more frustrated and stressed you will be. Pregnancy is a temporary state, and every single woman’s experience is different and unique. The hormones that race around your body during those 40 weeks, and beyond once you have given birth and are breastfeeding, are there for a reason. Listen to them.