The Changing Moods of Pregnancy
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The Changing Moods of Pregnancy
From the moment you find out you are pregnant nothing stays the same. Your body changes, your priorities change and your lifestyle will inevitably change. What you might have not bargained for is that your emotions will change as well.
You could be watching the news and suddenly start crying. You might wake up in the morning feeling cheerful and energetic and then turn weepy and unenthusiastic for no apparent reason. However, there is a good reason: you are pregnant, and it is normal to feel more sensitive. Mood swings are part of the package, just like gaining weight. It’s reassuring to know that most pregnant women experience unexpected emotions. Understanding the reasons for your reactions is the best way to deal with them.
These emotional ups and downs are referred to as maternity blues. These blues have biological, social and psychological aspects to them. When you are pregnant, changes in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body cause emotional highs and lows. Just realizing that your moods have a physical cause can help your partner deal with your feelings and accept them.
Hormones play a large role in the emotional changes a pregnant woman experiences. However, the social and psychological circumstances in her environment determine the level of turmoil experienced. Fear is identified as the main concern during pregnancy. Most women experience anxiety and sometimes outright fear about the wellbeing of the baby. Others might be traumatized by [thinking about whether they will be able to cope with] the labor pains or the delivery.
Once you acknowledge a fear, it is easy to take steps and resolve it. One way is to discuss your concerns with your obstetrician. He/she needs to be sensitive to any changes to any changes of moods in his patients. If a mother-to-be is unable to express her worries, the doctor should gently talk with her until he or she can identify the patient’s true fears. Once you know what the underlying problem is, you can provide explanations or [carry out] investigations in order to assure the mother and allay her fears.
For example , Nadia had a very bad experience during her first delivery, in which her doctor preformed an emergency caesarean without informing or consulting her. During her second pregnancy, which was unplanned, Nadia was dreading the delivery. She changed obstetricians but was still feeling extremely anxious. “My doctor sensed my fears and we sat and had a long discussion about what had gone wrong during my first delivery and the courses of actions that he could take with the different scenarios that might arise[during the second delivery],” says Nadia. “He assured me I would be consulted throughout the labor and delivery process, and that I would have a say in the decisions that were to be made. I felt extremely relieved after this conversation and much safer with him.” In addition to talking to your doctor, reading about labor and delivery and taking prepared childbirth classes will help make you more confident about giving birth.
Change is also a concern of moms-to-be. You know your life will never be the same, and especially during the early months of pregnancy, the sheer magnitude of change can seem over whelming. Mona, mother of two, says that all she could think about in the beginning was the freedom she knew she would have to give up. Radwa, three months pregnant, finds herself extremely preoccupied . “I’m always reading about pregnancy and delivery and thinking about how I will adapt as a mother and if I will instinctively know what to do,” she says. Don’t Panic: your concern is just a measure about how much you care. Worrying about being a good parent simply signifies that you want to do a good job.
Many women also worry about how the baby will affect their marriage. You may be concerned that you won’t be able to find enough time to spend with your husband after the baby arrives. You might also wonder whether your husband will adjust his lifestyle to accommodate the increasing need for his help and cooperation. Your best course of action is to discuss your worries with your partner. Your husband is probably wondering what his role will be when the baby is born as well.
In addition to all these emotions, a newly pregnant woman often feels tired and nauseous. As the pregnancy progresses and these symptoms subside, you will usually start to feel better emotionally. However if your worries don’t go away, take steps to resolve them.
When a woman has a strong network of family and friends to provide emotional support, it definitely helps her to get through the ups and downs of pregnancy more easily. On the other hand, when a mother-to-be feels emotionally isolated, she is more likely to experience maternity blues. If ignored [the blues] can lead to depression where the woman will need to seek professional psychological help. Mona says during her first pregnancy she had a general feeling of anxiety that she found difficult to express to others. “I felt isolated and scared of all the thoughts going through my head, but I just couldn’t share my concerns with anyone,” she says.
We are lucky to live in a close knit society where most women have the support of their mothers, sisters and in-laws, so share your feeling with them and express your needs, because they want to help. Also, try to surround yourself with other pregnant women. They are likely to be your best source of support, because you will feel linked by a life-changing experience.
Most importantly, focus on the good feelings and the excitement of becoming a mother. Once you get over the apprehension, you will start looking forward to holding your baby in your arms and finally getting to know him or her.