Pregnancy in it of itself can be stressful for women, especially if it's your first. When I was 4 months pregnant with my second child, my husband was hospitalized with COVID, two weeks later placed on life support, and 2 months later he unfortunately passed away. Needless to say, I learned a thing or two about handling stress while pregnant. Here are my top 5 tips on how I managed stress through it all.
1. Make sure you have a support system
It doesn't matter how strong you think you are. You're bound to need help with something at some point. It doesn't matter if it's having someone pick up groceries for you, have someone come over and do your dishes, or just vent to a friend on the phone. Don't be scared to ask for help! You'd be surprised at how many people are willing to help and drop everything for you.
2. Communicate everything to your OB
One of the most important things for me was making sure my doctor knew all the stress I was going through; I wanted to make sure my stress wasn't harming my baby. Not only did I let my doctor know what was going on for the baby's sake, but they can also help in other ways. For example, my doctor wrote me a note excusing me from work, and he also made sure that by the time I gave birth, all the nurses knew my husband had passed away. This made it much easier to navigate giving birth without me needing to explan my situation to a new nurse. Lastly, they can reccomend any therapist, support groups, or Phsychiatrists should you need one.
3. It's ok to take time for YOU
When we go through stress, it may be hard to slow down, take a breath, and just take time for you. When I was pregnant, I was so busy worrying about my husband, my toddler, my pregnancy, and my job that I would reach breaking points. It wasn't until I made a point to take at least 15 minutes for myself every day to not do anything except whatever I wanted, that I felt I could face the stressors in my life. It's much easier said than done, but it's so important. Taking time for you could look like taking an extra long shower, induging in delicious cookie dough ice cream, or simply disconnecting from your phone before bed. Never feel guilty about taking time for YOU, especially when you're growing another human in your body.
4. Take things one day at a time
Mounting sress in our lives can undoubtedly feel overwhelming. It may feel like you need to figure everything out in that moment sending you in a spiral. Instead, try taking things one day at a time. If each day is too stressful, take things one moment at a time. Make a list of what needs to be done and tackle it one at a time. While my husband was in the ICU, I would set very small goals for myself , and I only focused on that goal at that moment. For example, I'd wake up and get my toddler ready. While I was spending time with her, I tried not to think about all the desicions I had to make regarding my husband. Not because I didn't care, but because I couldn't let my daughter see me stresseed out. When I was done getting her ready, I'd get myself ready, then so on and so forth until everything for the day was done. While this is a temporary way of going about life, it helped me through my toughest moments.
When I was going through the most amount of stress, I took up journaling. I helped me in so many different ways. I was able to keep up with my calendar, and I could get my emotions out. I tend to bottle emotions up until reaching a breaking point, but since I was pregnant, I thought it best not to get to that point. Journaling also helped me find trends in my emotions, and it helped determine triggers. Ched out my more detailed post about journaling here: https://www.bloominggrief.com/post/the-power-of-journaling