Congratulations on your pregnancy!
Doubtless, you feel excited, nervous, joyful, a whole host of emotions as you go through this process.
Here are 6 things to think about now that you're pregnant. A pregnancy inventory, if you will. Go through it on your own, and share it with someone you care about. Your partner, your mom, a friend, your sister, brother, cousin, doctor, pastor--anyone! Talking about these things will help you hash them out and iron out any challenges more quickly.
Let's get started!
1. Start thinking about your medical providers. Check out this post about midwives vs. OBGYNs. Here is a fun little quiz you can take (but please also continue your own research… :) ). This article about doulas is also really great. Preparing for labor will help you feel more confident and less stressed as your pregnancy progresses.
2. Prenatal care is so important to the development of your baby. Diet and exercise are a fairly large component to a healthy pregnancy. Consult with your doctor about which supplements you should take. Prenatal vitamins are important but they are not the only thing to consider when assessing the health of your pregnancy. Here are a couple of great resources to learn more about prenatal diet and nutrition. And here is a wonderful resource from Seattle Children's Hospital about exercise during pregnancy.
3. Take stock of your lifestyle and how baby will fit into your life. There may some things you currently do that you need to pause during pregnancy (i.e. extreme sports…). And there may some things that need to adjust in order to make space for baby. Talk to the people in your life about life with baby and start preparing for some adjustments in your relationships. This can be challenging for some women, and some things just happen as time goes on. But creating some mental space for upcoming changes makes it a little bit easier to process when it comes. Some things to be thinking about could include childcare, potentially returning to work, social relationships.
4. This one is a doozie…finances! Here are a couple of resources you can use to estimate baby costs and figure out what to expect. But remember, you don't need to be a millionaire to provide for baby. Money is important to consider though because finances often cause so much stress! In fact, finances are one of the most frequently cited sources of stress in a marriage/partnership. Putting together a plan, having an open dialogue, and identifying priorities will help you and your partner manage your finances. Here are a few good resources for how to have a conversation about finances and put together a plan.
5. Take a moment to reflect and think on the strengths in your relationship with your partner. Pregnancy and parenthood will naturally create stress in your life and in your relationships. Taking some time during your pregnancy to think about your relationships will help you identify how and where you can grow your relationship and strengthen it now. When you are trying to conceive and during pregnancy are great opportunities to think and discuss your values and priorities in becoming a parent. If you're struggling to make space for this reflection in your life, consider talking to a couples therapist. Therapy isn't just helpful when you are in crisis. Short term couples therapy now can help you avoid larger conflicts later. :)
6. Seek out community. Even if you are naturally an introvert, go to a class, find other pregnant couples, and start building a community! This is so so important! New mothers who identify having a robust community are more likely to report feeling less anxious and depressed during the first year of their baby's life.
So that's my starter list. Just a place to get started. It may seem like a lot, but, believe me, the more you can do now, the easier it will be down the road. You got this!
Happy Nest provides emotional/developmental support and counseling for young children and their families in the Seattle area. For a free consultation, please contact us at www.happynesttherapy.com or 360-813-8587.