There’s no ‘normal’ way to feel while you’re pregnant, and everyone is different. Pregnancy is an emotional time. You may not have planned the pregnancy and, especially if you’re on your own, may wonder how you’ll cope. Even if you were desperate to have a baby, now you’re actually expecting one you can feel worried, apprehensive and downright scared.
Then again, you may find that you’re overjoyed a lot of the time and can’t help smiling, even when you’re suffering with morning sickness! Even if you’re not the sort of person who cries a lot, that can change in pregnancy. Possibly the slightest thing will set you off, ranging from a sad report on the news to, believe it or not, the most ordinary scene in your favourite soap.
Other women find they get really irritable, tense and moody – which can be difficult for those closest to them.
Pregnancy can be stressful. Talking about how you feel with your partner, friends or family members can help you feel positive and cope with stress.
If something is really bothering you, talk to your midwife or GP about it – nobody is going to think you’re being daft or wasting their time.
Depression and pregnancy
Around one in ten women will have mild to moderate depression during pregnancy. Those who have suffered it before can be at particular risk. However you’re feeling, there’s no need to suffer in silence. Talk to your midwife who will be able to suggest ways you can feel better.
It’s a good idea to share your feelings with your partner too. He, or she, may be feeling lots of the same things. It’s a huge thing having a baby and it will change your lives. While that is really exciting, it’s natural to feel nervous too. You may wonder what sort of parents you’ll be. You may also find that, if you had problems in your own childhood, thoughts of this come flooding back, even though you’ve pushed them to the back of your mind for years.
You are not alone
You may also worry about losing your sense of who you are – of being you. While you’re getting loads of attention at this time in your life – lots of appointments, people being excited for you – you may feel that it’s the baby who’s the focus of attention, not you. Your partner may feel hurt, or left out, if he, or she, thinks all you’re thinking about is the baby. You’ll both know that your life will be different after the baby is born. You’ll be responsible for someone else, and you’ll have to look after their needs. Going to the cinema or the pub will take planning – you won’t be able to do things on the spur of the moment anymore.
All these worries are normal and it may help to talk to others who’ve been through it. Your midwife may be able to suggest parenting groups or you may meet people in a similar situation at antenatal classes.
Domestic abuse and pregnancy
1 in 5 women experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives. A third of all cases begin or get worse during pregnancy. Existing abuse may also get worse after giving birth. Domestic abuse isn’t just about violence. It can be sexual, emotional, psychological, or a combination of these. Abuse when you are pregnant can affect your unborn child and cause complications in pregnancy.
Domestic abuse is not your fault. If anyone is doing any of these things to you, tell someone or ask for help. You can talk to your midwife, GP or health visitor. The Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, 0800 027 1234, is a confidential service providing information and advice. The number won’t show up on your phone bill.
If you feel at risk or feel unsafe contact the Police on 101 or 999.
The sooner you seek help the better, either through support or, if necessary, by seeking refuge.