Your First Pregnancy: It's Okay To Be Scared

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There’s absolutely no experience in life like your first pregnancy. It’s a magical, beautiful, life-altering and life-affirming experience. It’s also a time of enormous anxiety for women and their partners. While it’s absolutely true that you should try to enjoy and celebrate your pregnancy, it’s also important to remember that the experience can be difficult and demanding. However, the images of beaming, flawless-looking women with tiny, unobtrusive bumps that we see in magazines and in pamphlets at our doctor’s surgery may have us believe otherwise.

Since you found out you were pregnant, you’ve probably been inundated with well-meaning friends and family insisting on how wonderful it is. And sure, it is wonderful but many women feel pretty far from wonderful throughout the process.

And that’s completely okay!

You’re growing a tiny life inside you. If you weren’t experiencing any anxiety, stress, worry or fear then frankly there’d be something very wrong with you. Carrying a child is an enormous responsibility throughout which your body undergoes a series of huge changes. It’d be daunting for the most confident and self-assured of women, but for those of us with existing psychological issues it can be more than we can bear.

You are not alone

Before we go into the specific anxieties and fears that you may experience during pregnancy and what you can do to combat them, it’s important to note that if you are experiencing anxiety, it’s important to be frank and open with your gynaecologist. As Dr Marcia Bonazzi’s website attests, these people are there to provide support, advice and care. While advice is abundant when it comes to babies and pregnancy, it’s important to lean on the advice of experienced professionals rather than the speculations of friends and family.

Common anxieties

Many women subject themselves to superhuman levels of scrutiny during their pregnancy, agonizing over every decision they make about what they do, say, eat or drink. You may feel that you’re underprepared for motherhood and you won’t be up to the task. Well guess what… So does every other woman in history who’s ever been pregnant.

You may feel extreme anxiety about your body, especially if you’re prone to poor self-image. You may feel that you may never lose your baby weight or feel that you’re condemned to 9 months of wearing formless maternity clothes that will make you look like an amorphous blob but you’d be surprised at just how stylish maternity clothes get.  

What you can do

The most important thing you can do is talk. Talk through your anxieties with your doctor or your partner. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is extremely important both for you and your baby as is regular moderate exercise for as long as you are able. Even into the later stages of your pregnancy, it’s important to be as active as possible. Get out for regular walks, and try to be socially active. It’s also important to get lots of sleep.

Finally, you should be aware of your limitations and learn to say no. Nobody expects you to manage your pre-pregnancy work and home maintenance schedule. Your partner should be prepared to take a lot of this burden off your shoulders. After all, what’s more satisfying than sitting enjoying a good book while your partner scurries around doing the housework?