Top Ten Tips to Prepare for MotherhoodNov 30, 2016
Hindsight is a wonderful gift and a particularly helpful one if you are pregnant for the first time. At Thrive we would like to share some top tips with you on how you can best prepare for Motherhood, so that the transition is as smooth as it can be, with fewer unknowns and unhelpful surprises.
These top tips come from a multitude of sources - the Team’s personal experiences, those experiences of friends and families, helping 100s of women professionally and of course, medical papers and articles. We have distilled them into a “Top Ten Tips” list, based on how much they have helped others. If you would like more detail on these tips, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us at : [email protected]
1. Understand the hormonal and physiological changes your body is undergoing
Increase your knowledge of the hormonal and physiological changes you are going through, so that you understand how to best take care of yourself. It is the practical things that make a big difference to how much you feel in control and not caught out, especially at work! For example:
Knowing that in the 1st trimester, nausea is quite common especially in the morning, so you know to bring dry crackers to work, to munch on in the meetings rather than focusing on not being sick!
Knowing that during the 2nd trimester you might be a little more tired than normal, so that you plan those high priority tasks or highly visible activities for times when you have the most energy and no-one will be any the wiser.
- Knowing that in the 3rd trimester, some discomforts may seem worse in the final weeks and your nipples may leak so having a spare bra and top at work saves embarrassment!
The key message here is take care of yourself, ask for what you need at work rather than be shy for fear of being too demanding and also ask your partner to help out with tasks at home. In fact, this is a good time to start practising the art of saying “yes” to offers of help, especially if normally you struggle with this!
2. Prioritise appointments
Make sure you prioritise and attend your Doctor and ante-natal appointments - rather than go back each time to your Manager, acknowledge that there will be several appointments and agree now how you will best manage them, so that you don’t feel like you have to ask a “favour” each time! Sometimes women say to us, “I am too busy for these appointment” yet they are there for a reason - to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy so that in fact you won’t need to take time off work due to sickness...so please do make these appointments a priority!
3. Avoid Stressful situations
Rest assured that if you are stressed from time to time, you will most likely go on to have a healthy baby. But if you're stressed and anxious day in, day out, it’s time to make changes. Notice at work who or what evokes stress in you. Who or what can help you do to stop these situations arising?
Notice what additional stress you add to yourself - saying yes to additional project work, helping others consistently to the detriment of your own well-being, attending too many social invitations because you don’t want to appear rude - often we add to our load without even realising it. So take a step back and re-evaluate!
4. Find Pre and Post Natal Groups prior to the birth
Find out what pre-natal groups there are and other groups to help you prepare for the birth of your baby. This will also allow you to meet other women and create a network of local to-be mums for you to talk to, share your excitement, your fears and very importantly, share your stories of so that you can laugh about some of the wonders of pregnancy rather than cry! Often, after the 1st few weeks of your baby being born, one can feel isolated or have lots of questions. It is a great relief to know that you can meet with this network of women who are at the same stage as you, to share highs and lows; and so that you ‘normalise’ a lot of what you may be feeling.
5. Explore what child care is available now
As crazy as it may seem when you may only be half way through your pregnancy, explore child care options now. For those of you who may be away from your home country, you may not have lots of family and friends to help here. Explore what child care is available.
6. Eat and drink well
Without doubt, a nutritious, well-balanced eating & drinking plan is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and your baby - this is the only time that your eating habits directly affect another person. What a great motivation to start kicking some bad habits and introduce some new ways of eating!
7. Make exercise a regular part of your week
It's perfectly safe to exercise during pregnancy and the level of exercise will depend on what you are used to doing. Ask your health advisor or speak to the local gym. If you didn't exercise before you were pregnant, now might be a good time to start so don’t put it off- just make it gentle exercise.
8. Start to set realistic expectations now
We know that women’s expectations of parenthood can be powerfully influenced by our culture, family background and of course don’t forget the 100s of images and messages depicting happy families on social media! It is easy to be strongly influenced by myths surrounding motherhood and the belief that we effortlessly transition to motherhood and we are capable of being a superwoman! There is in fact a hidden pressure that mothering is instinctive and we have an innate ability to immediately bond with our baby and quickly become a selfless and caring nurturer.
However, the majority of Mothers find it slightly tougher than that! This discrepancy between myths and reality often then creates a sense of guilt, failure and unnecessary stress. So please be aware of these hidden assumptions and pressures, so that you consider both the wonder and magic of motherhood plus the challenges the transition brings. Talk to friends and family who do have young children or spend 24 hours in their company and you start to find a more realistic picture!
9. Build resilience against Social Expectations
The ideology of motherhood is what society, women included, use to measure who is a “good” mother and who is a “bad” mother. Of course, everyone will have their view. What is important to remember is your version of being a “good” mother is right for you, so don’t let others’ opinions give rise to feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and even a sense of failure. We know that there is a greater risk of this when women would also love to continue with their careers. If you are passionate about your professional aspirations, you do not need to give up on them because you have chosen motherhood! In fact, this is why Thrive was launched - to help you have the choice of family & career, to be energised by both and be guilt-free.
10. Practice self-care
It is important to take care of yourself and build your stamina, to recharge your batteries. Be proactive about this now as when the baby is born, there will be a window when this is too much of a challenge! Listen to your body - if you need more sleep, then sleep more and say “no” to those events which simply feel too much.
Think of what helps you feel nurtured, peaceful, content. Then identify what you want to be doing more of and make it a priority. If you feel stuck, google pregnancy self-care and you’ll be delighted by all the ideas. This is the time to treat yourself so make sure you do!
We do hope that these Top Ten Tips will empower you to benefit from other womens’ experiences, both positive and negative, so that you can maximise the likelihood of you having a healthy and fulfilling pregnancy, confident that you’ve done all you can to transition to becoming a mother. Enjoy!
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