Your baby is due in a few months and you’re feeling more and more anxious as ‘d’-day (in this case, d stands for ‘delivery’) looms closer. Whether it’s your first, second or even your third labour and delivery, feeling more anxious as your due date approaches is completely normal. You are likely feeling other emotions, such as excitement, too.
Anxiety during pregnancy can be caused by many things:
Then there’s after the baby is born. You might worry about his or her well-being and if something may have gone undetected during your pregnancy and how the baby will handle any stressors during the delivery.
In the days and weeks following the birth of your child there are other unknowns. How will you feel when left alone with a tiny, vulnerable being who is totally dependent on you in order to thrive? If you’re not entitled to full or even partial maternity or parental leave benefits, you might worry about how you will make ends meet on the financial front and when or if you will be able or want to return to work. You might worry about the impending changes to your relationship with your partner.
Is it any wonder then, with all these thoughts brewing in your head, that you might be feeling anxious? Knowing that a degree of anxiety is normal is only mildly comforting. So, here are some tips to help you along the way:
Choose a pediatrician or family doctor for your child. Also, prenatal supplements can help maintain your health and foster positive growth in your baby, too. Share your fears or concerns with your partner and listen to your partner’s perspective. Maybe he or she is feeling the same way and you can explore solutions together.
Recommended reading: The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.
Look for support systems in your community such as parent and child classes, or drop-in programs. These can help you connect to others during what can be an isolating time. Support groups can also be helpful if you find that hormonal and lifestyle changes bring on significant changes in your mood. Try to create some time in your schedule for you, even if it’s just to nap when your baby does, or to have a shower.
One year later
What you once thought of as daunting will now be your typical routine. You will have grown with your child and are increasingly comfortable in your role as a parent. You might be transitioning back to work or making the decision to stay at home longer. This may be a difficult time of mixed emotions – while you know that you will miss your baby, you can also look forward to having more adult company and to getting some of your personal time back. Also remember to make time for your partner. Find reliable babysitters or family members so that you can get out occasionally to reconnect.
Psychologist and parenting expert Sara Dimerman’s latest book is Why Married Couples Don’t Have Sex (At Least Not With Each Other!). Read more at helpmesara.com
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Feb/Mar 2015.