This month is all about womanhood! While I love everything related to pregnancy and motherhood, I felt like it was important to have a conversation with women who want to be mothers eventually but aren’t quite there yet. It’s widely accepted that women, and parents in general, will have a steep learning curve once they embark on their journey to parenting. For some reason, there is somewhat of a shadowy vail covering the details of motherhood. Being a parent is by far the hardest and most important thing a human being can do. I often think about what a shame it is that we stumble our way into such a monumental chapter in our lives! So today, I’m giving you all my reasons to learn about pregnancy and birth before you see that positive test!
You won’t feel as overwhelmed if/when you become pregnant
Most mothers will tell you about the whirlwind that takes place in your body in every way possible; specifically, during the first few months of pregnancy. During the first trimester, the body experiences huge hormone surges that lead to system-wide changes. Emotions amplify as the hormones climb which leads to increased fatigue, mood-swings and brain fog. All of this occurs while your doctor’s office creates a schedule to help you pay for your birth in full by your due date during your 8-week checkup. I know that seems ridiculous but that’s exactly what happened to me and many other mothers along the way!
Immersing yourself in the world of pregnancy and motherhood as soon as possible will decrease that feeling of overwhelm for two reasons:
a. More in tune with your body
Prior to getting pregnant, I had a relatively nonexistent relationship with my body. I attended to pain or discomfort and ignored most other things. As I mentioned earlier, there are a slew of changes that occur rapidly once the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. Once I became pregnant, there were so many symptoms that required my attention which made me feel overwhelmed. Further, I was forced to pay closer attention to my body because it now housed “precious cargo". Learning about these changes and how they affect the body prior to experiencing them can potentially put your mind at ease when the time actually comes! Additionally, a better understanding of your reproductive system can potentially be an advantage when trying to conceive (e.g. understanding ovulation and fertile window).
b. Less overload of information all at once
The more you know before you are actually pregnant, the better. I struggled with all of the early pregnancy symptoms; especially nausea and vomiting. Up until I got pregnant, I rarely had digestive issues or vomited. I had no idea what natural remedies or medicines I could take and I obviously didn’t have them laying around the house. I had to sort of stumble my way through encountering symptoms and scrambling to treat them throughout my first and second trimesters. Had I known what to expect earlier, I may have had a more pleasant and less overwhelming experience.
You can start saving!
No surprise here. Babies are expensive. But I’ll be the first one to admit that I didn’t realize just HOW EXPENSIVE until we were already pregnant. I briefly mentioned the payment schedule earlier, but I’ll expand on it here. In addition to the prospect of childcare, daily living expenses and all the new baby items you will need to purchase for your home, you will also need to consider how you will pay for labor and delivery. While most insurances will pay in full for prenatal care, that does not always include the actual birth and hospital stay. Those are usually calculated separately and falls under a different umbrella in your policy. Because of this, healthcare professionals (including midwives) will charge an upfront fee for the birth to ensure that they get paid for their service. I know this all seems scary but that’s my point! These are things you want to know and consider before you are ALREADY pregnant. Understanding the full financial demand will give you a head start on a plan to fund your beautiful bundle of joy! I did a post on the full cost of birth and will link it here!
More exposure to (true) motherhood
You know how they say, “You’ll know what to do when the time comes”? It’s not entirely true. I am a firm believer in maternal instincts! They absolutely show up in various forms once the baby is born. However, there have been so many times when I thought to myself, “I have no idea what I’m doing”. There’s absolutely no way to fully prepare for motherhood because every person’s journey is different. However, the more you expose yourself to the world of motherhood, the easier the transition is likely to be. This might look like intentionally spending time with friends and family members who are already mothers and paying more attention to them than the children. It may also look like researching topics about motherhood online and following mothers and birth workers on social media!
Just like there are a slew of changes that occur at the start of pregnancy, there are even more drastic and permanent changes that occur once the baby is born. I suggest doing more than just relying on your survival instincts to get you through such an important time in your life. Getting exposed early and often will help you set and manage your expectations for motherhood. This can help decrease the likelihood of developing many of the mental and emotional disturbances that show up in the postpartum phase such as resentment, anxiety, depression and detachment. Understanding the signs and symptoms ahead of time can lead mothers to employ coping strategies and seek help sooner!
Please leave a comment and let me know if this article has been helpful!