So you're a first time mum! Congratulations! So many things go through your mind when you find out you're pregnant, it can be excitement, joy, worry, or even fear. What will my partner think? What will my family think? Especially if it is an unplanned pregnancy. What if I am no good at being a mother? How will my life change? Then there is the fear of the unknown. What does labour feel like? What does a contraction feel like? What will it be like for people to see me in labour, will they see me naked? Will I cope with the pain? And that's all without even thinking about life with a newborn baby.
So what can you do to prepare for your pregnancy, labour and birth? First of all, take a deep breath. Everything is going to be ok. You have a good nine months to prepare for you baby. Thanks goodness! Once all the excitement of telling people has died down, you may be at a loss at to where to go for accurate information. So many websites, and a lot of conflicting information. So you might talk to other people and they say, get the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting, my mum, doctor, sister etc suggested it to me. You many want to go down that path. However there are some other amazing resources that you can even find in your local library. Birth Skills by Juju Sundin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Birth Journeys or you can contact me direct to ask for some others. Birth Journeys is all about positive birth stories. Not all births go to paln, some have unexpected outcomes, but they can still be positive stories. Another fabulous resouce is www.bellybelly.com.au
Sometimes though you'll need to put "earmuffs" on for unwelcome "horror" stories. Just because something happens to your friends of family doesn't mean it will happen to you. It's best to shrug it off and focus on how amazing your body is, and how your body is built to give birth.
On the other hand you may have some legitimate anxiety issues that are really making your life less manageable. Now is not the time to ignore these symptoms. Anxiety and or depression is not a weakness. It is not something to be ashamed about. It is something that can be treated and managed. I guess the first step is to recognise that there is something that isn't feeling right. Then to seek help. Asking for help is also not a weakness. It takes a strong person to ask for help. Perhaps mention it to you partner or a trusted friend, who can help you identify some of your feelings. Or they can encourage you to get further help from you GP or other trusted provider. Remember, you are not alone. You do not have to suffer in silence. Panda is a specific organisation that specialises in perinatal anxiety and depression. http://www.panda.org.au
Something else you may or may not have thought about is receiving one on one support from a trusted doula. They are specifically there for you emotional wellbeing. Being your constant companion to really listen and help you feel supported. They can support you during pregnancy to be amazing resource, someone who has already done the reseach on so many things and can provide you with information at the drop of a hat. They can be your sounding board, to talk through your fears and anxieties and to encourage you every step of the way.