Look after your emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and beyond

With the joy that your little bundle of joy brings, can also comes a range of ‘side effects’.

November 11 2016

"It’s simply not possible to enjoy every moment of parenthood. Some days are really hard. Some days are wonderful. And there are a lot of average days in between."

A common downside is mood swings. From happiness and delight to stress and frustration, women experience a whole range of emotions during and after pregnancy – sometimes within the same day.

Similar to exercising for your physical wellbeing, being mindful of your feelings is just as important for your emotional wellbeing.

Michaela Fox, a soon-to-be mum of four, says experiencing a whole range of emotions during pregnancy is completely normal. The problem is the pressure parents place on themselves to enjoy every moment of being a parent.

“It’s simply not possible to enjoy every moment of parenthood,” says Fox. “Some days are really hard. Some days are wonderful. And there are a lot of average days in between. Every single parent has a bad day. And sometimes you have a few of them in a row.”

Good and bad days aside, parents should take the time to check in with how they are processing these days.

Fox says, “If you’re still able to experience calm amid the chaos, and joy amid the challenges, then you probably know that a bad day is simply that, and you feel hopeful tomorrow will be better."

“But if you notice yourself feeling anxious and teary for an ongoing period of time, or you feel overwhelmed and unhappy more than not, then this could be a sign of depression.”

Either way, Bupa’s mummatters tool can help you understand your current emotional wellbeing.

As well as this, Fox says she adds ‘self care’ into her routine.

“I enjoy gentle exercise every day. I love walking and try to fit in a walk (or waddle in the latter stages of pregnancy) every day,” she says.

“I regularly have pregnancy massages to ease some of my aches and pains, and because massage is instantly therapeutic. It also helps reduce anxiety and I find I sleep better after a massage.”

Additionally, Fox is a big advocate of ‘me time’. While some mums might feel guilty about this, she says it gets easier with practice.

“No mother ‘finds’ time for herself. She must make time for herself. Mothers excel at scheduling their children’s activities but often neglect their own.

When it comes to self-care, Bupa Care Services National Medical Director and GP Dr Tim Ross says there are some simple things women can do to help look after their emotional health.

“It’s OK for the house to have some mess,” he says. “Enjoy a longer shower when baby is asleep. Keep some treat to eat or drink during naptime. Tape your favourite show and watch some of it during naptime. That way you can catch up on some things but relax and draw breath as well.

“Remember that you are your own person. You do not have to keep your life the way it was before a baby.”

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