Pregnancy is a time of happy fantasies of what our lives will be like when we welcome our children into the world. We wonder what our children will look like, what they will grow up to be, and what kind of mom we'll turn into. However, not all of the thoughts we have are welcome, and moms can end up feeling guilty about the questions or statements that float through their brains.
Pregnant women need to know not to feel bad about the rogue thoughts that pop up in their minds while they are pregnant. Every mom deals with them, and it's completely normal. Wondering how bad labor is going to be or desperately longing for a glass of wine isn't horrible, and there's no reason to hide these thoughts from other moms-to-be. Pregnant women and moms know the struggles of making it through pregnancy. In fact, many wonder if they will make it through pregnancy without going crazy wondering about everything that could happen or will happen.
Still, women do make it through, and they survive the mental craziness that comes from subconscious thoughts creeping in from time to time. While this list isn't comprehensive and women may have even more thoughts they are afraid to talk about, it's a good start.
Knowing that these thoughts are normal and often fueled by hormones as well as fear of the unknown helps women make it through pregnancy without mom guilt starting before the baby even arrives.
16I'm Dreading Labor
This one may sound obvious, but it's worth discussing. Mom's feeling of elation when she finds out she's pregnant is often followed by horror as she realizes the baby has to come out. There are two possible exit strategies, and they both involve pain.
As mom's abdomen expands, she'll become a bit more freaked out about the reality of squeezing a seven pound baby out of her tiny body. She'll also have to think about the alternative where the child won't come through the already established exit and demands a crew come in and retrieve him via C-section. Both situations seem horrifying because they are unknown to first-time moms. Though veteran moms may still dread the delivery process, they at least feel like they know what to expect.
It's important to deal with fears about birth before the baby actually arrives. Fear can dominate the experience if mom doesn't take birthing classes, talk through her feelings, and understand that this is just where pregnancy leads.
15I Want My Old Life Back
Mom will think this thought again and again after the baby is born, no matter how much she loves her child. However, many women are surprised to feel this while pregnant. When the baby is on the inside, women tend to think life will pretty much stay the same. That's not usually true.
Morning sickness, extreme exhaustion, and odd happenings due to major hormones will make mom feel like a different person while pregnant. Even moms who enjoy their pregnancies often complain about feeling a bit displaced, even in their own skin. Pregnant women also sometimes spend pregnancy anxious, worried that something is going to go wrong. Being in this dark mental space for nine months leaves women longing for the days when the things they worried about felt so small.
Once pregnant, the old life is gone, but the new life that is taking its place will become more familiar. Women just don't need to feel guilty for longing for the old days.
14My Partner Is A Big Kid
Everything and everyone looks different through the lense of pregnancy, including our partners. Behavior a woman once found adorable looks borderline irresponsible when she is pregnant, and our partner's habit of staying out late with friends or never putting laundry in the hamper suddenly seems extremely childish.
We tend to focus on our partners and worry about if they are ready to have a child because in truth we're worried about ourselves as well. Going from a couple without children to parents feels like something that should be accompanied by lightning striking and us all of a sudden feeling grown up, but that's not what happens. That's why we start to panic when our partner doesn't seem interested enough in the baby registry or doesn't understand how to install a car seat on the first try. We wonder, are we ready for this?
Veteran moms attest to the fact that we grow into being parents. We figure it out as we go, and so do our partners.
13My Chest Looks Amazing
There's nothing wrong with bragging on the girls during one of their most amazing times. Pregnancy makes our hair shiny, our skin glow, and our breasts rock any top we want to wear. Buoyant and often larger than ever before, pregnancy boobs are a wonderful highlight during what can be an uncomfortable nine months.
The beautiful distractions don't come without some pain. Women often report that the first sign of pregnancy was sore breasts that were tender to the touch. Since this is also a PMS symptom, it can be confusing, but once pregnancy is confirmed, women understand why the pain isn't going away.
This tenderness is due to hormone changes that cause more blood to flow into the breasts. Breast tissue is also changing, preparing to house all the milk that will come in. Plus, baby's first meal, colostrum, starts being produced the first trimester of mom's pregnancy.
Wearing supportive bras and just enjoying the looks of the girls can help mom get through the pain of pregnancy boobs.
12I Have No Idea What I'm Doing
This isn't just a thought that pregnant women have. Much of parenting is realizing that in any given situation, we are guessing at what the best approach is and hoping for the best. It's scary, but we do have some instincts to help guide us through the process.
When mom is pregnant and her OB or midwife starts throwing rules on her, like don't eat cold cuts to avoid Listeria or don't get in a hot tub, she will likely feel completely overwhelmed. How are women supposed to know all of the rules of pregnancy if they've never played the game?
Mom doesn't need to panic. Asking her doctor tons of questions and grabbing a few books on pregnancy will help. Plus, mom friends are great when advice is needed. It's also important to remember that no one knows what they're doing during much of pregnancy and parenting, but the kids keep turning out okay.
11I'm Concerned About The Stretch Marks
Here's a little secret about stretch marks: they travel in groups. As mom creeps towards the end of pregnancy, she may think that one lonely stretch mark sitting across her stomach isn't so bad. I mean, nine months and one stretch mark is a pretty good deal. Unfortunately, it's not likely that one will be the last.
The mom-to-be will go to sleep one night and wake up to find that one stretch mark invited friends over, now giving her tiger stripes all the way across the abdomen. Women also develop stretch marks on their thighs and breasts during pregnancy. It makes sense because a big part of pregnancy is expansion, and that means skin has to stretch to accommodate.
The good news is stretch marks aren't usually as pronounced once the baby arrives. The bad news is they are there forever.
10I Hope My Baby Is Not Ugly
Looks should not matter, and they don't. Every mom is going to think her child is the most beautiful baby in the world. However, that doesn't keep rogue thoughts from creeping in while we're pregnant.
Women will wonder at least once if their child is going to be cute. Our appearance-focused society has wired us to be concerned about these things, and it's almost impossible for us not to think about it. As soon as the thought enters a woman's brain, she usually catches it and focuses her attention on something else, like hoping the baby is growing properly.
Women are not bad for letting these thoughts slip in from time to time. Moms know they won't love their children more or less based on appearance. It's just something else we needlessly worry about while cooking our little one in utero.
8I Told Everyone I'm Pregnant, So Now Something Is Going to Go Wrong
Pregnant women often wait until after the first trimester to announce their pregnancies. Miscarriages occur most often during the first trimester, though something can go wrong at any point during the pregnancy. Some women can't wait and spread the news of their pregnancies as soon as they receive a positive pregnancy test. No matter when mom shares the news, all the celebrating with friends and family is usually followed by mom feeling sick thinking about something going wrong.
Having a miscarriage isn't easy any time, but once even acquaintances and work friends know a woman is expecting, it can be even harder. People asking about a pregnancy that ended is devastating for a mom to relive day after day.
Plus, many women just worry that sharing the news will jinx the pregnancy. It's a superstition, a worry that something so good can't be true once the news is spread.
No matter when a woman decides to share the news of her pregnancy, it won't change the outcome. When to tell people is a decision for each person based on their desires.
7I'm Just Going To Go Ahead And Eat For Two
Pregnant women today know that the old advice to eat for two isn't right. In fact, it can be dangerous if excessive weight gain causes women to develop preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or any other condition that increases mom's chances of needing interventions.
Still, some time during pregnancy we're going to want to just eat all the food and forget it. Pregnant women get tired of not being able to do anything from their old lives, and food becomes a salve to heal. Since drinking, smoking, and even eating certain cheeses are all off the menu, sugar, fat, and carbs become a triple threat of their own.
Splurging in moderation is fine, and pregnant women should not deprive themselves during pregnancy. They just also shouldn't go overboard at every meal, and they need to check in with their doctors to make sure weight gain is on track. Staying healthy and fit during pregnancy can make birth and recovery much easier.
6What If My Baby Hates Me?
First of all, babies don't hate their moms. Teenagers do. Still, it's normal for this concern to arise when mom is pregnant. A pregnant woman carries her sweet baby for nine long months, and it's horrible to imagine that when the baby actually arrives he or she might not be soothed by mom's voice or happy to see her face. Many women have nightmares wondering what they will do if their child hates them from the start.
Babies are programmed to long for their mothers, and children come out of the womb searching for the breasts, their first food source. It's true that babies cry a ton, and some babies are harder to soothe than others, but that has nothing to do with their feelings towards their parents. Babies have no control over their environments, and crying is the only way to have their needs met.
Moms find out soon after birth that their babies love them and don't want to be away from them. They are addicted to moms from the very beginning.
5I Feel So Connected To This Kid, Kind Of
Pregnancy can feel like a bipolar experience. One minute, mom feels connected to this person she has never met, so excited to meet him or her. The next, it's hard for her to believe she's even pregnant. Despite the large stomach and hormone issues, mom may go through days or weeks of not really believing a person is going to emerge from her.
This is normal. Those feelings of insane connectedness are real, and so are the feelings of overwhelming apathy. Being pregnant doesn't make mom's emotional path linear, and she may bounce back and forth between emotions the entire nine months.
Some moms also feel an instant connection to their babies at birth, and some actually take a bit longer to warm up. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. Women who have traumatic birth experiences or who have to be separated from their babies due to neonatal intensive care unit(NICU) stays sometimes report taking longer to warm up to the bonding process.
4Why Do Babies Need All This Stuff?
Creating a baby registry is both fun and overwhelming. How can a tiny person need enough items to fill up a ten page registry at three different stores?
Some of this is the baby and some of it is very wise marketing. There are plenty of products that babies don't need that moms will register for because companies create a need and then fill it. However, it's not really a need. A child doesn't need warm wipes, meaning moms don't need wipe warmers. Babies just need clean bottoms.
If registering for the baby becomes too much, call a friend who is already a parent and ask what the essentials are. Most seasoned moms will say diapers, wipes, and bottles. Obviously, a child needs a place to sleep, a car seat, and some clothes, but most everything else is just extra those first few months.
3We Can't Afford This
CNN recently reported that the average cost of raising a child is over $200,000. That's a ton of cash, and if mom mediates on that number for too long, it can be pretty scary. Plus, this figure does not include the cost of college since researchers only estimated the cost from birth to the age of 17.
Housing, food, and childcare are the biggest places parents see a rise in spending when having kids, but moms shouldn't freak out just yet. There are always ways to alleviate the burden of these expenses, from living in a smaller house to save on the mortgage to cutting coupons to save on food.
Also, the baby years, while fraught with diapers and childcare, are not the most expensive. We have some time to save because the teens years are when parents drop the most cash. Food costs rise, and the addition of transportation and insurance for a teen comes into play.
It's all worth it, even if it isn't cheap.
2I Really Want A Drink
Even if mom didn't drink much before becoming pregnant, nine months without so much as a glass of wine can leave any woman wanting the forbidden. Most moms don't drink because they know the risks alcohol poses to babies, but that doesn't mean they don't think about it.
A partner innocently sipping a beer or girlfriends enjoying margaritas with dinner can be enough to make a pregnant woman want just one glass to take the edge off. Mom may find she feels this way about many items on the forbidden list, such as certain types of fish and excessive amounts of coffee.
Unfortunately, not all the restrictions are lifted when the baby arrives. If mom breastfeeds, she'll still need to be careful about alcohol consumption. For women who have babies that struggle with food allergies, their diets may be even more strict so the infant doesn't have problems digesting breast milk.
1Do Not Touch Me
People get a bit handsy with pregnant women. While everyone can acknowledge that the baby bump is beautiful, having random people reach out and touch mom is stressful and just plain weird.
Feeling over touched or wanting to have personal space is normal while pregnant. In fact, this feeling may even roll into a woman's intimate life with her partner. Some women are really into intimacy while pregnant, but others don't want to be touched or bothered with anymore demands on their bodies.
These feelings are normal. Any woman growing a person inside of her body may find she isn't crazy about people in the outside world being near her. Pregnant women often want space, and if mom is thinking about telling someone not to touch her, she should. Personal space is called personal for a reason, and women have a right to ask for distance if they need it.
Sources: Madamenoire.com, CNN.com, Buzzfeed.com, Babycenter.com
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