What do you do when you have the thing you want the most and you should be happy but you are miserable? How do you respond when everyone tells you that you “must be so happy!” and you really just want to lie in your bed with the blinds closed? You know….those moments that you sit there and think, “I can’t wait for this to be over!”
Most people idealize the concept of pregnancy. We expect pregnant women to “glow”, want to nest and turn into some earth-goddess-mother creation. For many women, that is exactly what happens. They have easy pregnancies, feel energetic, have complication-free deliveries and look forward to being pregnant again. Sadly, this isn’t the case for a lot of women. There are many women who spend their pregnancy praying at the porcelain throne, gagging as they force themselves to eat, feel the bottom drop out as their energy slams into the basement and the only glow they experience is from the TV because they can’t get sleep…and then they feel guilty for not being the “glorious mother-to-be” that everyone expects them to be.
So… the purpose of this little discussion is not to scare anyone, but rather to set some appropriate expectations. It would be ideal if every pregnancy was a joyful ride to post-partum, but some just are not. If you are experiencing a pregnancy that is less than ideal…it is okay. If you are feeling less than joyful…it is okay. You have permission to not love pregnancy. In fact, you have permission to really, REALLY dislike it! There. I said it. You have the right to be a normal, pregnant person and not enjoy the process without it making you a bad person or an unfit mother. After all, the goal is not to be pregnant. The goal is to have a healthy baby that you can love and nurture. The pregnancy phase is the work that you do to get to the end prize!
How you experience pregnancy will have no reflection on how you will parent, love your child and provide for his or her needs. However, your ability to have good self-care and release yourself from judgment will be an indicator on how you can affect the challenges of pregnancy. Be kind to yourself. Talk to your partner, family and support system. Don’t listen to negative commentary about what you should be doing and feeling at this phase. Know that your pregnancy is completely unique and should not be compared to anyone else’s (even your own if this isn’t your first.) If you can, exercise…even a small walk in the sunshine can help. Remember, the goal isn’t to have a perfect pregnancy. The goal is to have a healthy baby.
If you would like to know more about this topic, contact Elliott Kronenfeld at 617-834-4235 or email him at Elliott@insightbrookline.com.