5 Things That Can Make Pregnancy Feel Miserable
If you find that pregnancy sometimes feels like an emotional rollercoaster, then rest assured you are not alone.
Pregnancy can inspire a wide range of emotions in the average woman, not all of which are pleasant.
One minute, you may find yourself thrilled at the thought of bringing a new life into the world. The next, you may suddenly feel completely overwhelmed and caught up in a rush of pregnancy worries.
Before you waste another moment feeling guilty about experiencing emotional stress during pregnancy, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it's not just you. While some mums-to-be may find it difficult or intimidating to discuss
pregnancy depression, it's far more common than some may think.
Here are five things that can make pregnancy feel miserable, as well as tips on how to handle each.
Popular media has a way of depicting pregnancy as a magical time full of baby showers and excitement. While it can certainly live up to these stereotypes at times, there's also a whole other side to being pregnant that's all too rarely discussed. Pregnancy mood swings can leave soon-to-be mums feeling trapped on an emotional rollercoaster.
Many an expecting mum can shift moods in a matter of minutes, going from sentimental to irritated for reasons even she is powerless to explain. The reality is that this emotional rollercoaster makes complete sense. Not only are your body and hormones going through significant changes, but so is your entire life.
After all, pregnancy is a time of transition into a whole new reality. Rather than being hard on yourself for feeling anything less than ecstatic, remind yourself that it's perfectly natural for any significant life event to stir up emotions. There are bound to be times of excitement and expectation, but don't be alarmed when things like anxiety and stress also arise.
Pregnancy worries can stem from everything from work and finances to fears about living up to being a great mum. Rest assured that these fears in no way make you a bad mum. On the contrary, they make you a perfectly normal mum.
Bodily changes during pregnancy are no small matter. These physical changes alone are more than enough to qualify every mum alive as a hero among women. Nausea, exhaustion, breast tenderness, and even constipation are just a few of the body changes that can occur alongside an expanding baby bump. You may also find that it's suddenly much more difficult to get comfortable in your own body, whether standing, sitting, or lying down.
Even your heart will go through changes, as it's common for pregnancy to increase heart rate by up to 15 to 20%. Don't be alarmed if your body requires extra rest as it goes through the stages of pregnancy. After all, it's working hard around the clock to create a whole new person.
In light of all these considerations, it's no surprise that the many bodily changes that come along with pregnancy are enough to affect anyone on an emotional level. Being uncomfortable for months at a time is bound to affect anyone's mood, no matter what the cause of their discomfort. That's why self-care is a vital part of the pregnancy process. Look for even the smallest ways to use these changes to your advantage.
You'll likely discover, for instance, that pregnancy also tends to heighten your sense of smell, which can make for quite a nice treat under the right circumstances. Surrounding yourself with pleasant and soothing smells can be a wonderful way to relax. That's why we blended the calming scents of frankincense, bergamot, lemon, and vanilla in our all-natural Bath & Shower Gel. After you've enjoyed a relaxing soak, settle in and enjoy the smells of lavender, petitgrain, ylang yang, and more with our hand-poured Cradle & Tonic Bump candle.
Sex Drive During Pregnancy
Wondering what to expect from your sex drive during pregnancy? The safest approach is to abandon expectations altogether, as pregnancy may affect your libido in one of many different ways. Some pregnant women experience a heightened sex drive, while others couldn't be less interested in physical intimacy. Others still experience an ebb and flow throughout their pregnancy.
What's important to keep in mind is that every woman and pregnancy is different. There is no right or wrong way to feel about sex while carrying a child, so attempting to live up to a standard of any sort is a fruitless endeavour that's only likely to lead to more pregnancy stress.
What's behind the sudden libido shift? Hormones. Don't be surprised if pregnancy leads your body's estrogen and progesterone levels to take on a mind of their own. One day, your hormones may convince you that a cuddle with your partner sounds lovely, while the next, you may want nothing more than to be left in peace to indulge in unreasonable amounts of ice cream.
Both instincts are valid. Pregnancy may leave your body feeling particularly tender on some days and more nauseous than you ever thought possible on others. Assure your partner that this is no reflection of your relationship. It's simply another of the more baffling aspects of procreation.
Pregnancy Worries and Stress
While many mums-to-be may feel pressured to put on a happy face, emotional stress during pregnancy is incredibly common. Pregnancy stress can be a result of anything from the exhaustion brought on by pregnancy itself to the pressure to make sure everything is ready by the time your baby arrives.
If you're a first-time mum, you may even find that some of your pregnancy worries stem from the uncertainties of giving birth. Not only does Cradle & Tonic understand, but we also dedicated one of our three hand-poured candles to helping mums maintain an aura of calm during the birth and labour process. Additionally, we've developed a soothing aromatherapy body oil that's specially formulated to ease pregnancy worries surrounding stretch marks by keeping your skin soft and well-nourished.
Accepting that some level of pregnancy stress is normal can prove helpful in avoiding the cycle of stressing over the fact that you're experiencing stress in the first place. Don't be afraid to reach out to other expecting mums and talk about your feelings. It's highly likely that you'll feel an immediate sense of relief simply by realizing that you are one of a global tribe of women who are all experiencing the exact same thing. Meditation and extra sleep can also be very useful in getting a handle on your racing thoughts and pregnancy worries.
Remember that now is no time to be afraid to ask for extra help. You'll soon discover that everyone from friends and family to perfect strangers will not hesitate to help you with any task you need. Humanity has a rather beautiful way of rallying around the birth of a new life into the world. Don't hesitate to enjoy the extra kindness of others during this time or lend it to yourself through acts of self-care.
As we've discussed, pregnancy mood swings, worries, and stress are not only common but expected parts of becoming a new mum. But what if you find yourself stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of sadness or feel a complete lack of control over your own emotions? There may be a chance you are suffering from prenatal depression. Unlike postpartum depression, which occurs after birth, prenatal depression is a condition that occurs during pregnancy.
Many expecting mums who find themselves dealing with pregnancy depression may feel hesitant about asking for help. If you count yourself among them, then it's crucial to abandon any fears that you are to blame. Prenatal depression is a medical condition and is no more a reflection on you as a mum or a person than any other condition. Plenty of other women have experienced what you're going through, as will many others in generations to come.
A recent study by the University of Bristol even found that young mums today are 51% more likely to experience prenatal depression than those who gave birth in the 1990s. But how do you determine whether you are simply experiencing normal pregnancy mood swings or prenatal depression? While it's sometimes difficult to draw the line between the two, if you find that your pregnancy depression has begun to significantly interfere with your life or ability to care for yourself, then it's time to talk to your doctor.
Prenatal depression can include symptoms such as profound feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or emptiness. In some cases, it has even led some women to thoughts of suicide or self-harm, in which case it's imperative to reach out for professional help immediately. Symptoms of pregnancy depression may also manifest as a tendency to withdraw or isolate, a desire to eat too much or too little, restlessness or sleeplessness, and an all-around loss of motivation. Rest assured that prenatal depression is treatable, with or without medication. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor, as there's no need to attempt to navigate prenatal depression alone.
Why do I feel unhappy during pregnancy?
Many things can contribute to emotional stress during pregnancy. Pregnancy mood swings may be the result of anything from constant hormonal shifts to common pregnancy worries. Some women may find themselves nervous about being first-time mums, while others may be anxious over the financial implications of having another child. Having a new baby is a huge life transition that is bound to bring up plenty of emotions.
Additionally, don't forget that the bodily changes that pregnancy brings can go a long way towards affecting your mood! Giving birth is not for the faint of heart, so don't be afraid to treat yourself and your body to a little (or a lot) of extra self-care during this time.
Which trimester is most emotional?
One of the reasons that pregnancy is known for being such an emotional rollercoaster is that each trimester tends to bring on emotions of its own. During the first trimester, common causes of pregnancy stress include significant hormonal changes, unpredictable waves of nausea or fatigue, and anxieties surrounding miscarriage or first-time motherhood.
During the second trimester, some of the earlier symptoms may calm down a bit, only to give way to a period of far more noticeable body changes. The second trimester is often called the "honeymoon" period, as it's when many women feel an increased sense of libido as their energy begins to increase and their hormones even out a bit.
The third trimester often arrives with a whole new set of factors that can trigger pregnancy stress. By this point, many women find it particularly hard to get comfortable. Sleeplessness combined with greater levels of fatigue can certainly be a recipe for pregnancy mood swings. The third trimester is also the "nesting" period, where you'll suddenly feel an urgent need to clean, organize, and prepare for the arrival of your new baby.
Where to get help and support?
While pampering yourself can certainly help combat the realities of pregnancy stress, there may be times when it's important to reach out for support. Seeking out other expecting mums, whether in person or online, is a great way to remind yourself that pregnancy's emotional rollercoaster is a completely normal part of the process. Even your own mum is likely to serve as a great ally in reminding you that pregnancy mood swings are nothing to be ashamed of.
If you find yourself dealing with unmanageable levels of emotional stress during pregnancy, however, it's always best to share your concerns with a medical professional. Understand that there are plenty of doctors and psychiatrists who have been trained as experts in what you're going through. Approaching them for help is just as good an idea as enlisting a professional in any other situation.
As always, we wish you the most lovely of journeys on your path to meeting your new baby and hope this has helped reassure you that there's no need to ride the emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy alone!