Pickles and ice cream cravings, too-tight clothing and morning sickness: every mother-to-be has heard of, or experienced, these physical hallmarks of pregnancy. But the size of your waistband isn’t the only thing that changes during pregnancy, notes Ellen Sue Stern, author of Expecting Change: Your Guide to the Emotional Journey of Pregnancy.
“Pregnancy has propelled you into a whole new world that you might not be able to navigate alone,” says Stern. “Whatever your particular support system may be, now’s the time to think about who you can turn to for help.”
Stern suggests seven pillars of support that expectant mothers can turn to during pregnancy for advice, comfort and encouragement:
1. Your Partner
Your partner is the single most important source of support during your pregnancy. Your partner has probably been your greatest support during your entire relationship, but the changes of pregnancy have made your need for his physical and emotional help more pressing.
2. Your Family and Friends
These are the people you turn to when you need a helping hand with yard work, some pointers about buying maternity clothes, a sympathetic ear to listen to your concerns about childbirth, an escort for your parental checkups, or any other practical issue. Sometimes these close-knit relationships can be tense, but deep down, your family and friends care for you and want the very best for you and your baby.
3. Your Medical Provider
The best approach is to carefully select a medical provider who will offer the kind of care and support you want. Be sure to interview medical providers to learn about their training, experience and personal styles. Talk openly about your wishes and needs. You’re inviting this person to participate in your pregnancy.
4. Your Workplace
There will be many times throughout your pregnancy when an understanding boss or helpful colleague can make a huge difference, such as when nausea wipes you out for three days or when you need someone to retrieve a box of copier paper for you.
5. Your Childbirth Class
One of the great bonuses of attending childbirth classes is meeting other pregnant women. The instructor can teach you many things, but there’s nothing quite like learning from other expectant mothers.
6. Your Place of Worship
On a practical level, places of worship often offer classes or support groups for expectant and new mothers in the faith community. You may appreciate meeting other pregnant women who share your spiritual background and values. Even if your place of worship doesn’t formally offer such opportunities, its friendly environment may make you feel comfortable approaching other expectant mothers on your own.
7. Support Groups and Workshops
Depending on your community, you may be able to join a support group or workshop focusing on a specific area of your pregnancy. Some groups are organized by medical providers or other professionals. Other groups are more informal and are started by expectant mothers seeking others who might share their experiences.
If there were ever a good time to learn the art of seeking and accepting support graciously, this is it,” says Stern. “You may have all of these support systems available or only a few. Whatever your particular situation may be, now’s the time to think about who you can turn to for help.”
7/8/2004 11:52:43 AM