SELF-ACCEPTANCE

The overall guideline is that, in pregnancy, you are making space — not just in your body, but in your mind, as well. And the way to make space is to clear out the junk. So express yourself; talk and get physical. Go into a bedroom and make a lot of noise. Beat up a mattress with a pillow, if you want to.

Miranda ‘My first pregnancy had been quite easy so, when the second turned into a real hassle, with all kinds of sickness and pain, I felt really bad, resentful and generally negative. My husband had been very empathic and understanding, but that just confirmed me in being miserable. So he said one day: “Well, there are some pregnancies that are very difficult. The question is, is it worth it, for what you get out of it?” And I thought: “Yep, that’s fair enough” and I got on with it.’

It’s all right to feel bad, and let go. This will make room for relaxation, excitement and quiet joy to creep into the spaces you have made.

Whenever you are depressed or feeling stuck, the key to helping your mind is to move your body. Get up, get dressed, go out and get some exercise — even a short walk down the street and back — and notice how much better you feel. Try dancing, swimming or yoga. Remember the goal — this is a temporary state; you won’t be pregnant for the rest of your life. The effort is worth it. One day soon you will have a little, soft-skinned, tender baby in your arms. Imagine this often — both of you healthy, relaxed, loving, happy, enlivened and content.

Parenthood ‘Grows you up’

It’s astonishing how early in pregnancy a baby starts to have an impact on your lives. There are now three people’s needs to consider in every step you take. All the ‘little’ (!) considerations, like nausea, disappearing sex drive, and watching what you eat and drink, will wake you up to the fact that you are now a parent, even if the child is still a built-in model.

We’ve known of teenage mothers-to-be who have grown up overnight as a result of the experience. They suddenly become sensible, start taking care of themselves and sort out their relationships one way or the other. You see, being responsible, like being strong, isn’t genetic and it doesn’t come in easy stages. You just decide and you do it. In short, you are a parent from the moment of conception. This brings with it responsibilities; you will need to care for your baby, yourself and your partnership. 1. Care of your baby includes eating really well, avoiding drugs, alcohol, medication, fumes, chemicals, sprays and paints, photocopiers and UV lights, and, if possible, staying out of highly stressed work or other situations. 2. Care of yourself includes being kind to yourself and listening to what your body wants (it will tell you often).

For example:

– If you are feeling tired, relax. Take some time out for yourself.

– If you are feeling hemmed in or depressed, exercise, walk, go out and visit a friend.

– If you are feeling scared, angry or sad, talk it over, express it in some way.

– If you feel in the dark about what is happening to your body book antenatal classes, visit local hospitals, inspect birthing centres, talk with hospital and homebirth midwives. 3. Care of your partnership means involving your partner actively and warmly in the pregnancy. He may not be sure he has a role or he might see it as a responsibility, but not something he can enjoy. Give lots of positive strokes. Do as much together as you can. Let him know you need his help. Confide in him first, rather than other people (but do keep up friendships and support of family, as well). Visit doctors together. Go to classes together, if you like. Do nice things for each other out of the blue. Enjoy some evenings out and treat these as special — partly because these occasions are an endangered species now. ‘I