Don’t be afraid to ask for help>
Many pregnant women think they don’t have a right to ask for help for their discomforts. Nina Hernandez, 32, of Los Angeles downplayed the severity of her migraines when she mentioned them to her doctor, and she was dismissive about the fainting spells and nausea she was experiencing. “I just thought, ‘Well, everybody goes through this. Legions have done this before me, and many more will follow. What right do I have to complain?’”
When she began experiencing discomfort in her lower abdomen, Hernandez decided to tell her doctor. “He told me it was caused by the weight of the baby on my pelvis and that it was perfectly normal, which really put my mind at ease,” she says. “He reassured me that nothing was wrong.”
You don’t have to be a martyr for your baby. If any of your pregnancy symptoms are painful, tell your doctor. “A healthy and happy mother is what’s crucial to the development of a baby,” Robbins says. “And rest assured that doctors won’t prescribe anything that is harmful to your baby.”
Focus on your baby>A few reminders can help you keep your perspective and look forward to the happiness that’s to come:
Focus on the positive Kerns and her husband have developed games to help her through the difficult times: They talk about their favorite memories from childhood and enjoy the anticipation of creating them for their baby. They also imagine what kind of personality and looks their baby will have. “We try to look at things both forward and backward,” she says.
Get a glance of what’s to come Kerns has found that the most effective tactic is to visit moms with new babies. “It’s been really helpful to see them and hear them say it was all worth it,” she says.
Educate your partner Inform your spouse about the physical and emotional difficulties that may arise in pregnancy so he is prepared to support you if they occur. “If you feel isolated, it increases stress and the physical symptoms become worse,” Patterson says.
Go easy on yourself If you find yourself wishing you weren’t pregnant, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a bad mother. As Patterson says: “It’s not a sign of disturbance unless it persists.”
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Whether it’s caused by physical symptoms run amok or another factor, many women suffer from the blues during pregnancy. Here are a few resources to help you if you’re feeling down.
> Beyond the Blues: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression, by Shoshana S. Bennett and Pec Indman (Moodswings Press, 2003)