A Guide to Pregnancy Emotions and How to Navigate Them

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The overly-emotional pregnant woman seems to be an ongoing trope throughout movies, television series, books, and just about anywhere else you might find a joke poking fun at real life. And like most jokes, there's a kernel of truth at the center. Pregnancy can wreak havoc on even the most emotionally stable people as hormones rage, sleep is disrupted, and bodies change in extreme ways, all within a short period of time. Add in the general apprehension and excitement that can come with bringing a new person into the world, and it can feel incredibly overwhelming. The good news is – it's temporary! And in the meantime, here are some ideas to help you navigate this flood of powerful emotions.

First, an important note

Thankfully many people are familiar with the concept of postpartum depression as it has gained greater awareness in recent years. However, less well known is the fact that prenatal depression and anxiety can also be a major hurdle for many during pregnancy. This is different from regular pregnancy mood swings (which are still a challenge!) and will persist over the course of most days, interfering with the function of daily life. If you believe you may be experiencing depression or anxiety, reach out to your healthcare provider for a formal evaluation and any access to resources that they can provide. 

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Self-care

As your body is working 24/7 to build a new human, you may need to put some extra thought into who is taking care of *you*. Getting enough sleep and a good balance of nutrition is a great step toward giving your body the support it needs to be as comfortable as possible. Along with the physical, adding mental and emotional outlets, such as participating in hobbies or low-pressure social events with friends, will help release negative energy and set you up for success.

Relax

It may be dangerous ground telling a pregnant person to "relax," but in the words of our favorite snow queen, sometimes we really do have to "let it go." There are so many things that are out of our control during pregnancy; it can feel very scary and overwhelming to try and cope with it all. Give yourself permission to ride the emotional rollercoaster unapologetically, feeling and processing everything you’re going through. Sometimes fighting strong emotions can make them worse, so it can be best to take a deep breath and go with the flow, even if that means crying over a toilet paper commercial.  

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Communicate with others 

Believe it or not, the wide range of emotions you experience during pregnancy can actually be used to your benefit, leading the way as you find how to be more comfortable with showing your feelings. Remember, it is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Educating others by being honest about how you're feeling and expressing your needs so they can be met is a critical skill as a person, but especially as a parent. When you are responsible for someone else, you need to ensure that you are functioning at your best capacity before you can efficiently help them. Building this habit now can set a great foundation as you model self-advocacy for your future child(ren) and could have positive impacts for generations to come!

Lean into it 

Pregnancy emotions can sometimes feel like a curse, leaving you crying at inopportune moments or feeling embarrassed over your strong reaction to something small. However, they can also be a blessing. With every increased negative emotion, you experience an increase in positive emotion as well. Let yourself bask in the bliss of feeling unbounded love for your baby and other loved ones. Allow yourself the joy of tasting that pregnancy craving you decided to indulge in. And soak in the peace that sometimes fills you when you ponder the precious new life growing inside you. 

 

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