Self-esteem is how a person measures their own value as a human being. It is how people feel about themselves. It is that thought in a person’s head that says “I deserve to treat myself to this” or “I don’t deserve anything, I am unworthy”. In short self-esteem is a complex mental state that can be high or low depending on circumstances, hormones, family history, culture and much more.
Self-Esteem runs along a spectrum with their being an optimum level of self-esteem in the spectrum. According to a study by Baumeister in 1996 if a person’s self-esteem is too high that person could potentially be egotistical and therefore more prone to aggression due to their beliefs of superiority. However if a person’s self-esteem is to low they are more likely to become clinically depressed, anti-social, and also potentially violent either towards themselves or others.
When evaluating an individual’s self-esteem, particularly low self-esteem it is quite easy to see how it could affect a woman’s pregnancy negatively. Low self-esteem can have a variety of psychological and physiological impacts during pregnancy. Low self-esteem during the pregnancy can also cause issues in a person’s interpersonal relationships and even the future health of the baby. Therefore addressing the potential implications of low self-esteem throughout a pregnancy is crucial, whether those implications are superficial or could truly affect the health of the mother or child during the pregnancy or beyond.
16 Perks Of Pregnancy Feel Like Horrors
During a pregnancy there are plenty of downsides such as bloating, fatigue, insomnia, and frequent urination (just to name a few). However, pregnancy also has many wonderful perks. For example the ability to take an afternoon nap without judgment, lots of bathroom breaks to get away from an annoying co-worker, and even a new temporary wardrobe. Embracing these perks can make the difficulties of pregnancy and the stress that goes with it somewhat easier to handle.
One wonderful perk of pregnancy is the fact that should the budget allow it a woman can get a new wardrobe to embrace her changing body. During this time she can try a new style she has always wanted, dress more comfortably, and even where things she wouldn’t normally wear. For a woman battling low self-esteem though going shopping for new clothing can feel extremely difficult. She may not be able to comfortably view her changing body in the dressing room or understand how great she looks as a pregnant woman. While struggling with severe low self-esteem she may even consider herself overweight when in reality she is pregnant and within a healthy weight range.
15 Can’t Take Care Of Oneself And Baby
It is well known that during pregnancy an expectant mother needs to care well for her mental and physical health in order to have a healthy baby. There’s recommended weight to be gained, a healthy diet that needs to be consumed, and a certain level of fitness to maintain in order to have strength for a healthy labor. A pregnant woman is even supposed to get a certain amount of sleep per night as well as keep their stress levels low. When all of these things are considered it is easy to see why a woman has to be mentally healthy in order to will herself to keep up with all that is required of her for a healthy happy pregnancy and baby.
When all that is required of a woman is considered it is easy to see how low self-esteem could in many ways ruin a pregnancy. If a woman is constantly feeling that she is overweight is could become difficult for her to eat the required amount of recommended calories per day, for fear of gaining weight. Some women low self-esteem may even suffer from disordered eating such as anorexia nervosa. Women with anorexia nervosa who are unable to gain enough weight during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby prematurely thus potentially causing long-term health complications for the infant. Disordered eating like this can also cause health complications for the mother during the pregnancy too such as cardiac irregularities and depression both of which can very clearly ruin the joy of pregnancy.
14 Mom Can’t Embrace Body Changes
The human body is an amazing thing with a beautiful intricate design. Think of the fact that during a typical pregnancy a woman’s body completely shifts organs around to make room for a baby that’s on average 7 pounds. All of that happens in the short span of just nine months. While the woman’s organs are shifting and making room for her baby her body is also preparing to nourish the child through colostrum and then later breastmilk. It’s absolutely amazing the things a woman’s body goes through during a pregnancy.
While a pregnant woman’s body is going through all these miraculous changes the woman can however, still suffer from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is difficult during a pregnancy especially in regards to a changing body. Many women and men find the changes that occur during pregnancy to not only be miraculous but also attractive (i.e. thicker hair, longer nails, glowing skin). A woman with low self-esteem however may find all of the changes hard to adjust too and even troubling. To make dealing with low self-esteem even worse pregnancy hormones can make the low self-esteem from pre-pregnancy even worse.
13 Can’t Take A Compliment
Low self-esteem can make people feel as though others are constantly judging them harshly. Sufferers of low self-esteem can avoid crowds and social interactions simply because they feel everyone will be thinking poorly of them. A person with low self-esteem will also very likely have a difficult time taking a genuine compliment and will instead feel that the person is lying or even manipulating them which can put a strain on many types of interpersonal relationships.
During a pregnancy complete strangers sometimes feel it is okay to comment on a woman’s body, health, clothing and much more. For a woman with low self-esteem this can seem like a torturous experience for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a stranger may compliment the pregnant woman on how she is “glowing” and the woman could take this to mean that she looks terrible and the woman who genuinely complimented her was just saying that because she may have really thought she looked awful (even though that’s not the case). On the other side of this spectrum some strangers can comment on things harshly. Take for example someone saying “you shouldn’t wear heels you could fall and hurt the baby”, while most people would ignore that stranger because she couldn’t possibly know her ability to walk in heels; a woman with low self-esteem may feel that stranger is correct and she is already being a terrible mother.
12 Strain On Relationship
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time during many couples’ relationships. It is a time filled with bonding, hope for the future, and a new level of dependence upon one another. During pregnancy a woman body also amps up the production of bonding hormones which can make spouses feel close than ever before. In short pregnancy can be a wonderful time to enjoy one another in ways that could not be experienced without pregnancy.
Low self-esteem can get in the way of partner bonding during pregnancy. Suddenly those hormones designed to make a woman feel more bonded to her spouse could make her feel clingy and like she may lose him. She could become irritable and irrational and begin to lash out towards her spouse rather than lean on him when she may need him she may begin to feel as though she is all alone. Low self-esteem can become a huge problem in an already changing time in a relationship therefore ruining a pregnancy.
11 Inability To Enjoy Old Pastimes
Everyone has hobbies, no matter how busy they may be or how often they get to participate in them. For some individuals it physical activities like running, tennis, or weight lifting. For other people it could be socializing, reading, or even antiquing. It doesn’t really matter what the hobby is so long as a person can get some healthy enjoyment out of it, it is then good for their mental health.
Some hobbies are obviously unsafe during pregnancy. Take for example a hobby like boxing or skydiving; those probably aren’t safe for the average pregnancy or really any pregnancy at all. However most hobbies can be altered to fit into a healthy pregnancy. There are even women whose doctors have approved of them running ultra-marathons during pregnancy. But for a women with low self-esteem being told alter her workout or runs to make them safer for the pregnancy can be yet another blow to her already frail self-esteem. She may end up comparing herself to some of the world’s best athletes, and wonder why it is she is not good enough to continue participating fully in her hobby when others could. These types of thoughts will not only ruin the hobby, and lower a woman’s self-esteem further but yet again ruin parts of her pregnancy.
10 Trying to Fit Into Old Pre-Pregnancy Clothes
Pregnancy undoubtedly changes a woman’s body (at least temporarily). Many woman embrace those changes right away and become as mentally and physically as comfortable as they can. They do this by wearing comfortable clothing, getting massages, and remaining optimistic about the future. Some women may even decide to celebrate the pregnancy itself even further by getting professional maternity pictures taken. All of these things can add to the enjoyment of a pregnancy.
For women with low self-esteem however they can find it incredibly difficult to embrace these changes, and so they may try to mask them instead. Sufferers of low self-esteem may even try to hide their changing body, which as time goes on will become more and more difficult. Not only is that difficult to do but physically uncomfortable. If an expectant mother is constantly wearing tight and ill-fitting clothing in order to feel as though they don’t look pregnant they will be physically uncomfortable which will obviously make pregnancy feel even more difficult and ruined by low self-esteem.
9 Hiding Ones True Feelings
Many expectant women speak about the joys of pregnancy. It’s often heard women talking about how they loved feeling their baby kick, or how great their hair looked. There are even some women who have said they never felt better than when they were pregnant and how they never even had morning sickness. However, that’s not how everyone feels during pregnancy.
Some women suffer from severe nausea, backaches, and extreme fatigue, during pregnancy. Still others have said they liked feeling their baby kick because it meant the baby was alright but the actual physical feeling was kind of gross to them. Women with low self-esteem may feel they can’t share their negative feelings because they are afraid of others seeing them as a failure even ungrateful for their baby. This can lead to more feelings of isolation and even less support which could certainly ruin a pregnancy.
8 Not Relishing The Moment
Maternity pictures have been around for ages but they have recently become quite trendy (think Beyoncé’s recent twin announcement). It’s an amazing thing to relish a pregnancy especially for anyone that has struggled to become pregnant or even dealt with loss before. Pregnancy should be celebrated! Even if a person has been pregnant multiple times it should be a joyful time to bring a life into the world.
A mother with low self-esteem may struggle to embrace the beauty that is pregnancy even if she has struggled to conceive or experienced loss in the past. When a woman can’t see the beauty in the little things and embrace the changes that pregnancy brings the entire pregnant experience can be ruined depending on the level of the low self-esteem. This inability to embrace the pregnancy can even lead to future regret. Having memories and pictures to one day show the baby can be a wonderful thing and women with low self-esteem may very well miss out on this because they did not relish the pregnancy.
7 Wanting The Pregnancy To Be Over Already
Lots of women across the world have felt that they simply want their pregnancy to be over with, and they may feel this way not just during labor but at various points throughout the pregnancy. However for most women with healthy levels of self-esteem those types of thoughts are only fleeting thoughts. The majority of these pregnant women are able to look beyond the fleeting discomforts and find the upsides and beauty in the nine month wait.
Low self-esteem can make some individuals want the pregnancy to just be over with. In this time they are so focused on being done with the weight gain, pregnancy acne, and backaches that they may even fail to realize that their life and potentially body will never quite be what it was again. These individuals may even be so focused on be done with their pregnancy that they do not fully take the for granted the few benefits pregnancy has like feeling their little one kick and the fact that they don’t have to be up every two hours feeding and changing diapers.
6 Ruined Physical Health
It’s an old wives tale that pregnant women can’t stay active and even workout. Granted there are a few exceptions to this such as persons on bed rest or with a high risk pregnancy. But, in general most women can stay physically active during a healthy pregnancy and in fact this has been proven to reduce time spent in labor and have positive impacts on the baby’s health as well.
Pregnancy is a very demanding time not only emotionally but physically as well. If a women chooses willingly to simply sit around and forgo almost all physical activity because she has low self-esteem and feels as though it has become pointless she may very well be in more physical pain during her pregnancy. She also may be at higher risk for gestational diabetes which could also ruin a pregnancy.
5 Ruins Bonding With The Baby
Pregnancy is the first chance many women get to bond with their new child. During this time the mother will get the first glimpse of her child on an ultrasound. The baby will learn the mothers voice and find it to be a soothing sound after their born. It’s also when the parents will start thinking of names and even shopping for the new baby. Pregnancy is great chance to start the maternal bond to the baby.
For women with low self-esteem they may find bonding with the baby difficult. During the pregnancy the mother can become so engrossed in what she feels are her own short-comings that she may at times forget about the life she is creating. Even worse she could blame the baby for everything that she feels is wrong with her during the pregnancy (i.e. weight gain). This focus only on the negative and not bonding with the life the mother created could ruin a pregnancy and even make bonding after the baby is born difficult.
4 Insecurities Jeopardize Health Tests
The majority of expectant parents love going to the doctor for ultrasounds to see their new baby and get a peek at their features and the baby kicking or even hiccupping. However most women also agree that going in for cervical checks and pelvic exams are both extremely uncomfortable and slightly embarrassing; after all an almost complete stranger is seeing them naked medical degree or not it’s awkward. However for the health of the baby and themselves most women go to the required doctor appointments awkward or not.
Individuals with extremely low self-esteem however may be so shy they completely avoid their medical appointments. This can ruin a pregnancy in a multitude of ways. For starters not only can this risk the health of the baby but also the mother. Avoiding appointments can also make the woman feel even worse about herself and her ability to be a good parent which in turn will lower her self-esteem even further
3 Failed Or Ruined Baby Shower
Baby showers area fun time to celebrate mother to be and spoil her one last time before the baby is born. They are also a wonderful opportunity for the new parents to save some money on necessitates for the baby. Many couples register for the items they need and want for their new baby and often times because of the baby shower end up spending far lass and therefore having less financial strain while also feeling cared for and loved by the people that came to celebrate with them.
For couples where the mother has extremely low self-esteem a baby shower may seem like to much for the mom to handle. She may worry that no one will come or that people will think she is greedy if she registers for gifts. She may also be too embarrassed of her changing body to want her friend and family to see her and potentially take pictures. This can ruin the pregnancy because she won’t get to see how much everyone cares for her and her baby. It could also potentially put a strain on her financials which will make it more difficult and stressful to prepare for the baby.
2 Serious Depression
Depression affects a multitude of individuals regardless of gender, race, or culture. While it is a prominent disease there are things that can be done to help prevent depression or at-least lesson the symptom. Physical activity has been clinically shown to reduce the symptoms of depression, socializing and having a strong group of support that a person can rely on, and even medication have all been proven to reduce the symptoms of depression.
Some women suffering from low self-esteem may start avoiding the very people they need for support and encouragement and therefore become depressed. These individuals may also find it difficult to tell their doctors (who could be a great source of help) how they are feeling because they feel that it is their own fault and they should try to deal with it alone. These women therefore isolate themselves even further and can become very depressed which can quite easily ruin a pregnancy as well as physical health and interpersonal relationships.
Sources: Psycnet, National Eating Disorders, Runners World, My Registry, Dbs Alliance