This is a collaborative post
How is it that pregnancy can be so exciting, yet so intimidating? Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of it all. Or maybe you know too much and have high expectations! Regardless, it is possible to ease any fears and nerves, by educating yourself on what’s to come and, more importantly, how to prepare for and deal with it when it arrives.
We are most certainly all familiar with things like weight gain, morning sickness, breast enlargement, etc., and these can be a huge fear for women on a mental, physical, or social level. Just when you outgrow your young-adult insecurities after undergoing your body’s first transformation as a woman, you are almost immediately faced with another bodily and personality transformation as you go from carefree and at the shape you are comfortable with to a motherly figure undergoing frequent hormonal and physical bodily alterations!
So, with that being said, how can you step into your role as a mother without so much stress and anxiety about the what-ifs? You can talk to others who have undergone the experiences, read books or articles, and watch videos, with the reminder that everyone experiences pregnancy with many variables!
Despite the variables, it’s good (and important) to understand what is possible for you and your body, as well as the baby and other family members or spouse. The top three things you might not be aware of but can happen are: your pregnancy can be longer or shorter than nine months, your nipples crack during breastfeeding, and your emotions during pregnancy have a huge impact on your baby’s mental and physical development.
Nine months is only relative…
The standard pregnancy is said to last nine months. You may already know someone that was two weeks late or early with their birth, and it still may not have dawned on you that yours may not be the expected nine months! Many women, despite knowing this or having experienced this, get antsy on their final weeks in the nine-month pregnancy calendar, only to be driven crazy and be defeated by the fact that their pregnancy is extended. Or, they get worried and anxious when their baby arrives a few days to a couple of weeks early!
We will discuss the effects of stress and impatience on your newborn in the final section of this article, but it’s important to remember that your baby is on a schedule of its own, not the schedule set by society. Nine months is only used as an outline for mothers to understand the trimesters and stages of the baby, what to expect when, and all this may apply still even if your baby holds on a little bit longer or chooses to exit the uterus spontaneously! The truth is, it is always spontaneous.
Allowing yourself and your baby some flexibility around the time of birth will allow you to relax, and therefore your baby can too!
Why are my nipples cracking?!
If it’s your first time breastfeeding, the whole process may feel uncomfortable to some and completely natural to others. Regardless, there is a wrong and right way to breastfeed, which you should seek professional guidance on before diving into to avoid complications. One of those complications is cracked, or cut, nipples, caused by an incorrect latch of the baby on some occasions.
Cracked nipples aren’t unique to breastfeeding mothers though! This condition is simply irritation of the skin and can be caused by rubbing on materials as well.
If you are breastfeeding, however, correcting your baby’s position and the latch is going to be essential in providing long-term relief. If it doesn’t improve, you may get an expert to look at your baby’s mouth to ensure something like a cleft lip isn’t causing the situation to be unfixable. Mothers can also be careful not to confuse the baby with various types of nipples, such as a pacifier nipple or a bottle, which they can (and often do) bite on. Aside from your baby, a breast pump can also irritate the nipples if used incorrectly.
Depending on the situation, and how bad it gets, you may feel tempted to quit breastfeeding and trade in a formula or pre-pumped milk. Although this can still provide the essential nutrients to your baby, you are creating an early separation between you and your newborn, which may be essential for your relationship bond and their social wellbeing. There are plenty of natural remedies for cracked nipples you can explore that provide instant relief of symptoms, allowing you to reconnect with your baby right away.
The emotional connection
Mothers understand the emotional attachment to their newborn and even adult children. The attachment goes both ways, but that’s not the emotional connection being referred to here. The emotional connection refers to the mother’s emotional impact on her fetus or embryo.
We get it, hormones shift, the body may not look “sexy” to you, and you may feel overwhelmed with all the shifts happening in your life. These are just a couple of factors that cause you to ride the emotional pregnant-lady rollercoaster. Everything from stress to cravings and indulging can be experienced on the rollercoaster ride, and it’s important to know how your baby is being impacted by it all. Being pregnant does not let you off the hook to overindulge or act out in public! It requires you to have a plan and practice to manage your emotions and cravings so as not to affect the baby.
Babies who are developed in the woman under a lot of stress can be born premature, underweight, and hyperactive. And you are not fooling the baby if you try to hide your stress out of the fear of affecting your baby! Before, during, and after pregnancy are all crucial times to develop a routine or ritual that releases anger, stress, guilt, anxiety, or whatever you are experiencing at any given moment. Yoga, meditation, art, walks, and therapy can all be altered to fit your needs as your pregnancy stages progress. Although you may have started bending over backward or on your head in a yoga practice before conception to relieve stress, that may also be detrimental to the baby’s health. Consult with a professional before determining a specific exercise or practice to reduce stress.
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