Sister Nelisiwe Matholeni, midwife, on behalf of Philips Mother and Child, gives advice on how to build up a support network,
Pregnancy can be quite a rollercoaster experience – from the initial shock and excitement that you are carrying a life to the fears around pregnancy and birth. And whether you are feeling positive or fearful, no new mom is exempt from the overwhelming experiences that come with pregnancy.
A little stress has never hurt anyone and, to be quite honest, you are allowed to be stressed or feel overwhelmed. After all, you are carrying a life – a million things and checklists are probably running through your mind daily. Wondering if you have scheduled enough doctor appointments, will your baby’s room be ready on time, do you have enough clothes and nappies, how will you continue breastfeeding when you are back at work– will you have enough milk to feed your baby when you are away from home? Phew! That’s a lot and, unfortunately, that’s only the start of things.
Well, rest assured, there are some things you can do to make sure you avoid being extremely overwhelmed – here are some top tips:
Reduce the time you spend on the internet
Researching is great, but don’t get to a point where it consumes your entire life and fuels your paranoia. Social media, particularly, has created a culture of what is deemed to be the norm, but which is actually unrealistic.
Take time to meditate each day
Quiet time to clear your mind and thoughts might be just what you need to calm yourself and have a level head when reacting to situations and new information.
Resting is vital
Whether it’s sleeping early, taking breaks or going on a short vacation, time away from it all will help you with your stress levels.
Try to eat healthy
When you eat healthy, it translates to you feeling better about yourself. This means you will focus less on negativity.
Don’t overload yourself with work
Don’t commit to stressful amounts of work. Know your limits and plan your tasks accordingly to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Talk about it
Speak to a friend, partner, doctor or midwife. Talking about what’s bothering you can be a great way to relieve stress and find out if whether your worries are validated or not.
Shift your mind set
Instead of worrying about things you have no control over, think about the type of birth you want to have and whether you want a doctor or midwife to deliver your little one. Having a birth plan is a great foundation as this give you focus and enough knowledge to know what to expect. However, remember that your baby might have other plans so you need to be flexible and adaptable should your birthing preference not be an option. It’s all about what’s best for you and your baby.
Schedule pamper days for yourself
This can be once a month or once a week – it’s entirely up to you. And why not invite your friends or family to join in for a good girls’ day out!
Join an online support group for moms
This way you get to see you are not alone. This is where moms share their experiences and their concerns and, in most cases, you will see that you are not alone – offering you a sense of calm. What’s more, these are strangers at first, so you won’t feel judged and in many cases, may open up more.
Not extreme exercise of course, but sometimes all you might need is some physical activity – even just a walk to let off some steam.
At the end of it all, it boils down to having a reliable support system and this can mean different things for different expecting moms. Building a good support network is centred on the people you have in your life and the type of relationship you have with each of them. This can be anyone from your partner, friend, parent and doctor or even an online support group – depending on your interaction with each of them and how open you are with them; this will be an indication of who you can trust with intimate information regarding your emotional health during this time.
Remember to not be consumed by the noise – accept your journey for what it is and embrace every moment.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.