Friday, February 10, 2006

Addressing Fears About Baby

When you find out that you are pregnant, everyone expects you to be elated. Of course, you are, but there are some nagging concerns in the back of your mind if you are like most women (and men). There are a million questions that you have, ranging from whether you should opt for an epidural or go natural to how you will pay for college. You may find that you are unsure about many parts of parenthood and pregnancy itself, but you may feel that there is nowhere you can turn. It is important during this time, when you will face enormous amounts of stress anyway, that you find healthy ways to deal with your fears.

You should talk to your partner regularly about any concerns you have. Some partners want to be more involved than others in the whole process of pregnancy, but you should be able to address your basic concerns. Make it a point to sit down and talk at least weekly about any questions you have. Wonder aloud with your partner. Many women think that their partners are not involved, but they have been secretly reading up on pregnancy. Give your partner a chance to make his or her knowledge available to you. Also be open to listening. Many men feel that no one listens to them when their spouses are pregnant because all of the focus is on Mom. Be sure that you do not contribute to this feeling by making sure that you give space for your partner to give voice to any concerns he has.

Try to seek out other sources of support as well. This may be a time when you want to talk to your mother or grandmother more often. There may be friends who have had babies who will share their knowledge. Find people who can talk to you about the experience of childbirth and can even just be a shoulder to lean on for support when you need it. While you should rely on your partner for the bulk of this moral support, it is important not to barrage him everyday with your concerns, or it could become too stressful.

If you do not have any relaxation techniques now, find some. Instead of stressing out, make time everyday to de-stress. You may need to take a few deep breaths every morning before you get out of bed, or you may need to practice a few yoga poses everyday to help you get your mind on something else.

Be sure that you have other areas of focus in your life besides the baby growing inside you. While you will be planning and preparing for baby, you do not want to lose sight of your own life. Being a mother is an amazing part of your life, but you should retain much of your own identity. Many moms feel that they must give up everything and focus solely on the baby, but the reality is that doing that is not helpful. Instead it just leads you to resent your life. In twenty years, when baby is gone away to college, you will wonder why you stopped going camping, playing the guitar, or having friends. Be sure that you preserve yourself, even with your impending arrival.

Pregnancy is a time of confusion and frustration for many women. Raging hormones, as well as the general anticipation of a major life change, can lead you to think and say some wild things. To help you get a handle on your feelings, consider getting a journal. Write down what happened during your day, how baby is doing, and what is worrying you today. You will be able to sort out many of your concerns and worries, or reassure yourself that you really do not hate your husband because he forgot to pick up milk on his way home from work although he works next door to the grocery store, through your journal. It will help you release some of the crazy feelings you are bound to have.

Try out various methods for dealing with your concerns and worries about your pregnancy. Forget about the myth that women know it all when it comes to babies; do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

By Julia Mercer

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