Even in the best of circumstances, pregnancy can be stressful. Your body is going through all kinds of weird changes, your hormones are all over the place, and you’re probably exhausted. But unexpected pregnancy can be even harder. On top of the physical stress of pregnancy, you may be dealing with the mental and emotional stress of deciding what to do about the pregnancy, dealing with a baby daddy who may or may not be helpful, and all the mixed reactions and unsolicited advice from literally everyone you talk to about it. So what’s a girl to do?
Here are some tips that might help!
1. Take a deep breath
Seriously. Right now. Breathe in while you count to 4, hold it for a second, and then breathe out while you count to 4 again. Try to imagine the air flowing all the way to your belly button. It might feel silly, but it works. The extra oxygen will help release some of those tight muscles, and visualizing the air moving deep into your belly will not only help you breathe better, but will also help you sit up straighter, taking some pressure off that baby bump!
Taking the time to breathe will be helpful throughout the coming weeks and months, so consider learning about breath work, starting a regular routine of prayer or meditation, practicing good self-talk, and giving yourself time to…
You’re growing a kid in there, and it’s hard work! Think of your body as a friend who was already working full-time, and has now added a second job on top of everything else. What would you tell her? You’d probably tell her “Girl, you’re working hard! Take some time for yourself!”
And it’s good advice! So give yourself a few moments, each day, that are just for you. You may be super busy, or have other little ones running around, but it only takes a few minutes to give yourself a hot shower or bath before bed with a soap that smells a.maz.ing, or grab a special snack and watch your favorite show while the kids are napping, or go for a walk in the sunshine during your lunch break allll by yourself. It’s not about indulging or being careless. It’s about giving yourself a little grace while you create a new, tiny human.
3. Find something to do
This one’s the opposite of the last, but no less important. If you’re feeling paralyzed by the questions about what to do, how this is all going to work, how you’re going to tell ____, or what might happen, get up and find something to do. It’ll take your mind off the situation and you’ll be surprised at how much easier the answers come, when you’re not trying to beat them out of your brain!
Try a little exercise (take it easy, though, so you don’t add stress to your system). Keep working or find a new job, if you haven’t been working. Do some nesting. It’s not just about getting space ready for a baby, if you’re not planning to parent, but can include anything that spruces up your space, like cleaning, purging out your closet, or rearranging your kitchen. Or find a friend and go do something fun!
4. Stay off the…stuff.
If you’ve used alcohol, drugs, marijuana or other unhealthy coping tools to deal with stress in the past, the temptation is going to be REAL to go back to those things, now. But please don’t.
Not only because it could harm the baby, if you’re planning to complete your pregnancy, but because none of that is going to help, in the long run. You’ll still have the same concerns when the buzz wears off, and you may have added to your problems if your behavior causes you to act irresponsibly in other ways (think, DUI tickets, poor job performance/job loss because you’re hung over or high, STDs from risky sexual behavior, etc.) We’ll be talking about this again, soon, but for now, see if you can find some healthier alternatives to these unhealthy coping tools.
5. Take care of yourself
We know it’s hard to take care of yourself when you’ve got all this other stuff going on, but you’re going to feel better and think clearer if you’re eating healthy, sleeping enough, and drinking plenty of water.
6. Talk to someone
Find a friend, remember? Or a family member. Or someone you trust to give you advice, if you’re not sure about telling your friends or family, yet. The goal is to get all the questions, doubts, concerns, and “what if”s out of your head and in front of you, so you can start dealing with them.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of seeing a counselor, but it can take some of the pressure off. We often feel like we’re burdening others to talk about our problems, but talking to a counselor can remove the guilt, since you’re literally paying them to listen to you. And if paying is the concern, check out your insurance–a lot of plans cover at least a few mental health visits. Try calling a local church and see if they have a pastor on staff who can meet with you. Or call us or a local pregnancy or adoption center. A caseworker can help you talk through your options and help you decide on the plan that’s best for you.
****If you are pregnant in Georgia and considering options for an unplanned pregnancy, give us a call. We have caseworkers, statewide, who can meet you where you are, and help you talk through your unique situation. We won’t pressure you, we won’t judge, and it’s free.
Click the number above to call, or the bubble at the corner of your screen to text.