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Mental Health in Pregnancy - Self-compassion and other tips for mums-to-be

Congratulations, mama! You're embarking on a truly remarkable adventure – creating life. But amidst the excitement, you might find moments where reality doesn't quite match the picture-perfect pregnancy you envisioned. And guess what? That's completely normal. Pregnancy is a beautiful yet complex journey, and it can throw some unexpected curves your way. Maybe it's the relentless nausea that lingers beyond the first trimester, the crushing fatigue that makes simple tasks feel monumental, or aches and pains that make it hard to enjoy activities you once loved. And on top of that, there might be guilt. Guilt for not feeling overjoyed every minute. Guilt for wishing for some semblance of your pre-pregnancy energy. But mama, you deserve grace, not guilt. Imagine running a marathon – that's what a recent study compared pregnancy to! With the physical intensity of carrying a baby in Pregnancy like running a 40 week marathon! You're creating life, and that's an incredible feat. Acknowledge your struggles, but also acknowledge your strength. You're doing an amazing job, even when it feels tough.

My own pregnancy journey was far from picture-perfect: Early anxieties after loss and  a third trimester that came with chronic pelvic pain turning even walking into a chore, leaving me feeling grumpy and on edge. Like many of you, I experienced the full spectrum of emotions during pregnancy – joy, exhaustion, worry, and even guilt. But amidst the challenges, I embraced a powerful tool that helped me navigate the emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy: self-compassion. It wasn't about ignoring my struggles, but about acknowledging them with kindness. Recognizing that pregnancy is a demanding experience, both physically and emotionally, allowed me to prioritize my well-being.

Self-compassion is key for all of us, especially during challenging times like pregnancy. It means treating yourself with the same understanding and kindness you would extend to a close friend. It means letting go of the pressure to have a picture-perfect pregnancy and embracing the reality of your own unique journey.

Here are some ways to embrace self-compassion and prioritize your mental well-being:

  • Practice Gentle Self-Talk: Instead of harsh self-criticism, remind yourself that you're doing the best you can in a challenging situation. You are strong, capable, and creating a miracle.

  • Build Your Support System: Don't bottle up your feelings. Talk to your spouse, family, friends, or a fellow mum. Sharing your experiences can be a powerful way to alleviate guilt and create a stronger support network.

  • Embrace the Outdoors: When you feel up to it, take a walk in nature or simply sit outside. Sunlight and fresh air can boost your mood by stimulating serotonin, your happy hormone.

  • Seek Professional Help: Don't hesitate to speak to your healthcare provider or a mental health professional if you're struggling. Asking for help is a sign of strength and dedication to your well-being.

Remember, mama, you are not alone. Every step of the way, even the imperfect ones, is a testament to your resilience and strength. You've got this!

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