When you find out you’re pregnant, you can almost feel your to-do list Growing from XL to OMG. There are books to read, rooms to redo, an almost absurd number of things to buy—and on top of it all, you’re supposed to morph into a responsible, even-keeled, fully actualized adult in nine months. Hellooo, intimidation. “Many women are afraid they’ll be found inadequate when it comes to pregnancy and being a mom,” says Laurel Schwartz, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Stamford, Conn.
“They end up wasting the whole nine months worrying about falling short.”
Part of this pressure may come from the “momshells” we see everywhere. Celebrities who appear to effortlessly juggle a relationship, career and newborn (on their 35-inch hips—cough, Gisele Bündchen, cough) can lead women to have unfair notions of what’s required to be a good mom, Schwartz says. And then there’s Facebook, showing us only the veneered view of our friends’ pregnancies. It’s hard not to feel a twinge of “I should be like that.”
Thankfully, you don’t need to have a model pregnancy; you need to have your pregnancy—and you’re already pretty awesome. Of course, if you’re living on Arby’s or bickering with your dude like crazy, you’ve got a great opportunity to make some changes. “Pregnancy is an ideal time for self-improvement,” says Mike Dow, Psy.D., a parenting expert in Los Angeles. “Taking care of yourself enables you to take care of your baby.” The trick is making small tweaks that’ll have potent effects without making you feel hyperventilate-y.
We’ve rounded up some common resolutions and cut ’em down to doable changes. Nobody expects you to be perfect, but, lady, life’s about to get a lot more pleasant.