MOTHERHOOD: THREE THINGS I’VE DONE FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH WHILE PREGNANT DURING COVID

This isn’t a typical post for me to write.  Typically I keep my blog writing to classic style, home decor projects, and fun activities with L.  But this topic has been heavy on my heart and I feel called to share my experience.

Navigating pregnancy can be challenging for any mama, but throw in a global pandemic and a cold, gray winter and you have a recipe for an exceptionally difficult transition! Any woman who is newly pregnant probably experiences numerous types of anxiety and uncertainty.  Not only is your body changing, but your hormones are raging, you are exhausted, possibly nauseous, and on top of all that you are preparing to welcome a sweet new baby! It’s quite a whirlwind for nine months (and beyond – don’t forget the fourth trimester!).

I thought it would be easy being pregnant my second time around because I knew what to expect.  What I didn’t experience in my first pregnancy that I experienced in the first trimester of this pregnancy were mental and emotional challenges.   They say every pregnancy is different and that 100% holds true.  I really struggled those first 12-14 weeks.  Not only did I physically feel awful (nauseous, exhausted, so many food aversions), but I also felt mentally drained, uninspired, sad, grumpy, anxious, and just overall not myself.  Some days were very challenging and it took everything in me just to make it to bedtime.  I often would ask Rob if I would ever feel like myself again (spoiler alert: I do!). 

I do believe that raging hormones, physical discomfort, and the stress of being in the middle of a global pandemic (plus the stress of trying to decide if and how I should get vaccinated) really took its toll.  I’m so thankful everyday that I have such a supportive hubby and family.

I’m sure many other women experience these feelings at one time or another during their pregnancy.  I had to dig deep within myself to find ways to fight through this difficult time.  I’m hoping that by talking about the mental and emotional challenges that some women face during pregnancy and offering some ideas on how to cope will help other mamas feeling the same.  Before I share the things that worked for me, I want to remind anyone experiencing emotional or mental pain, to please reach out to your doctor or a trusted source for help.  

Below are three things I would try to do to center myself and find the joy in being pregnant. 

  1. Yoga – Yoga is so healing for your mind, body, and soul.  Whenever I need to re-center myself, I grab my yoga mat and just breathe.  I subscribe to the Yoga with Adrienne App and she offers some great prenatal workouts that are safe for mama and baby. 
  1. Communicate – Talk it out.  I can’t stress this enough.  I shared how I was feeling with Rob, my family, friends, my gynecologist – anyone who I felt safe talking to and it made a huge difference.  I am so thankful for a strong support system that listened to me and provided guidance when I was feeling my lowest.
  1. Get Outside – Even though some days it was really hard to get outside, I would try and get some fresh air, even if it was walking to the mailbox and back.  Fresh air can clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective and even if I only went outside for a few minutes, I always came back inside feeling a little more like myself. 

I also recommend that pregnant women rest as much as possible, eat what tastes good, and drink lots of fluids.  Being pregnant with a toddler and working part time is definitely not easy.  I napped whenever Lilly napped and went to bed early every night.  Getting enough sleep and rest during the first trimester really is so important. 

I hope this post helps just one other mama-to-be who needs some extra love and encouragement.  And always remember, you have a beautiful human growing inside of you and your body is amazing to be able to do that! 

Slainte,

Shannon

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