Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pregnancy isn't just hard on the body -- it can be hard on the soul. The emotional roller coaster comes with the process.
Your partner and family can comfort you when you're feeling vulnerable, but plugging into a group of moms-to-be and new moms can be a lifeline.
"Women who have been pregnant before often offer the most support and empathy," says Heidi Murkoff, coauthor of the What to Expect series. If your closest friends live far away, or do not have children, and if you need to find a sympathetic ear, consider the support of a doula. Also, as soon as possible, try locating mom groups through your doctor, childbirth center, or prenatal classes. They offer a direct link to meeting other expectant and new moms and give you a sneak-peak of the 4th trimester. Read more about the importance of friendship for new mothers.
Research shows that women who were least excited about their pregnancy were also the ones who received the least support.
If you have negative feelings about having a baby, be honest with yourself and consider talking to other moms-to-be and mom friends. Chances are, you are not alone in your ambivalence.
The following links are very important to have on hand to nurture yourself and your closest relationships as well as make decisions and engage who will be involved in your birthing or adoption process and your postpartum (or post-placement) recovery.
Before Baby Comes Home
Classes to Help you Prepare
Parenting in the beginning can be exhausting. Many families have little-to-no time off from work and live far from extended family support. While we do not endorse these resources, the list and links below offer a primer to get you started on your search for help. You may also look on our section entitled: Midwives, Doulas and Lactation Support.
After Baby Comes Home
"I knew from the beginning that I had a good shot at postpartum depression if I gave birth again. My first bout with crippling postpartum anxiety propelled me into a career of writing about maternal mental health, so I knew my history increased my odds. Still I was stunned when the panic slammed into me moments after my second child made her exit from my bloated, pregnant body."
"Many expectant parents spend weeks researching the best crib or safest car seat, but spend little if any time thinking about the titanic impact the baby will have on their marriage – and the way their marriage will affect their child.
Enter Jancee, her well-meaning but blithely unhelpful husband, their daughter, and her boisterous extended family, who show us the ways in which outmoded family patterns and traditions thwart the overworked, overloaded parents of today."
"The first 40 days postpartum are a critical time in a woman’s life. During this pivotal time, her body is recalibrating from the effort of pregnancy and birth — her hormones are ping-ponging, her uterus begins returning to its nonpregnancy size, and her breasts are readying for the monumental task that is lactation. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, a woman begins the process of adjusting to this drastically new chapter in her life, whether this is her first baby or her fifth. By becoming a mother, she must shed an old identity and embrace a new piece of herself. This all takes time, space, and a deep acknowledgement of the significance of this moment in her life. The First Forty Days recounts the postpartum care traditions [and recipes] of many other cultures. "
"Tired of being the “she-fault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family—and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was . . . underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.
The result is Fair Play: a time-and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently."