In my previous article, we discussed how we should prepare our bodies for pregnancy.
Is mental or emotional health equally important, during and pre-post pregnancy?
YES!!! It is very important for a mother to be mentally and emotionally healthy to cope up with pregnancy, childbirth and taking care of the baby.
But, do we really prepare for our mental or emotional well being?
NO!!! We don’t. Hardly anyone talks about mental health, before, during and after pregnancy.
Why is mental well being so important, during and pre-post pregnancy?
A mother’s state before, during and after pregnancy affects the child to be born and after his/her birth too. If a mother has gone through traumatic experiences during pregnancy or was not mentally healthy, it manifests in a child. Whatever the mother has gone through during pregnancy, reflects in the child’s personality. That is why all mothers need to take care of themselves during pregnancy holistically.
There are many physiological changes that you will be going through during pregnancy; physical as well as mental and you should be aware of them. So, when you experience any of them, you aren’t caught by surprise. There are hormonal disturbances that can cause mood swings, crying spells, anger, irritability, etc. Baby’s energy is manifested through mother and hence, sometimes changes in behaviour and nature of mother are also observed.
Postpartum depression is also not uncommon. You should read about it and you should know your risk factors.
This phase also brings about a halt or slows down your career if you are a working woman, as your child will become the priority.
The pregnancy might not turn out the way you must have imagined and may have ups and downs when it comes to health.
What can you do?
- You should be aware and open about these physiological changes; you should not get stressed if anything unusual happens. Accepting these changes is very important because fighting and running away from them won’t help, in fact, it will worsen things for you.
- You should avoid getting stressed about your career as it was your choice of being a mother and it should be your choice to provide the child with the utmost care and love. If you get stressed, if you regret your decision or feel depressed, it affects the child and a child can sense these feelings.
- Try to be busy in things you love to do and which makes you happy. Read, sing, exercise (only which is advisable), write, listen to music, draw, watch movies, etc. in your free time.
- If you are working, keep yourself busy in working till the time you can, but do not neglect your health.
- Talk it out: If something is bothering you, talk it out and bring about a solution rather than sulking over it.
- Financial planning: All your short term goals, long term goals, child’s future plans, you should discuss with your husband and be a part of that journey.
- Talk with your child in the womb. It strengthens the bond.
- Parenting is a long term commitment and while raising a child, you should be aware of yourself and your emotions.
- Spend time with yourself, know yourself, know your emotions, and introspect, so that you can raise an emotionally intelligent child.
- Meditate, so that you can calm yourself down from all the anxieties and anticipations.
- Childbirth can put your relationship with your husband in the back seat. You have to be aware of it and take conscious efforts to maintain that relationship. You should not take your husband for granted. Spend enough time with the husband too.
- Be happy.
Is the preparation only required by the mother to be?
Fatherhood also gives cold feet to many men. We often forget about the fathers to be and what they go through during and post-pregnancy (of their wives).
Being a father is also not so easy. They also see their wives going through a lot of physiological changes. Things are new for them too. Men might not be able to vocalize in most cases, but they too get anxious about the whole pregnancy and childbirth processes. Not only this, but they also have to be the support to the wives (by all means). The whole family takes care of the mother but hardly anyone talks about the father.
We have to understand that mother and father are in this together and hence, preparations are required by both and not only mother. Even a father’s mental well being is equally important as it affects sperms as I had discussed in my last article. During pregnancy too, a father should equally participate in all the preparations a mother does. When a father goes through all the preparations described earlier, he too feels included. He is involved in the whole process, which is very important. Gradually, it sinks in for him that he is going to be a father. For a mother to be in that zone, does not require much effort as she has motherly instincts and the whole process of pregnancy induces those emotions naturally.
- As a father to be, you should also read about all the changes a woman goes through during pregnancy and be a supportive spouse.
- You should understand that your wife may require a little more attention emotionally.
- Talk with your child in the womb.
- Most men have financial stress when it comes to planning a family. Discuss with your spouse before going ahead and plan when you are ready mentally. If the pregnancy is accidental, do not get stressed, rather accept the situation and start working on it together. Worrying about it and not taking any action won’t help.
- Share the responsibility of taking care of the child post-delivery. It helps you bond with the child and takes some load off the mother.
Be there for each other, come what may. It will help you to sail through the whole process easier.
More articles on parenting are on their way…..
Do ask your queries in the comment section.
Stay healthy! Stay happy!
– Dr Kruti Trivedi (B.H.M.S., C.C.A.H., C.D.E.)
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