Pregnancy Your Way

You are a nervous wreck when you are selecting which pregnancy test to buy.You are dizzy with anxiety when you are peeing on the pregnancy test stick.You are beside yourself with fear, apprehension and awe as you sit on the edge of the bath tub waiting for the line to appear in the window of the stick…

And then it appears and you are feeling faint. Is it right? Did you do the test correctly? Did enough pee get on the window? You are not sure…and you NEED to be sure! So you do the test again. The line appears again and you ARE pregnant! YOU are pregnant! You are PREGNANT!
The reality of pregnancy can be overwhelming and so can the effort to do the right thing. There is so much to consider. So much is new– body changes, mood shifts, the baby residing within. There is so much you feel you must change—the way you eat, dress, exercise and work. And there are so many sources of information– thousands of pregnancy books, hundreds of mothering and mom-to-be websites, an endless stream of advice-givers. How do you navigate through the rising sea of information? How do you make choices when so much of it is territory uncharted by you?
How do you make your pregnancy your own?
If you are reading this blog, you are an information seeker, someone who takes the steps to be in the know. And I am another advice-giver, another self-proclaimed expert. And so my first bit of advice to you is to weigh what I have to say in the context of your life and what you already know. If my advice sounds sound and applicable to you, use it. If not, toss it out with all the stuff your grandmother tells you that is outdated and/or scary; and all the stuff your sister-in-law tells you that sounds like some crazy old Louisiana back-creek wives-tale that likely scares you, too.
The beauty of your pregnancy is that you can craft your own way. You can pick and choose the information you use and do whatever makes you feel good, confident and competent. Kick the rest to the curb. In your quest to find your way, though, you must be careful not to play the comparison game. This is an easy trap to fall into as you have your antennae up to receive guidance and help. When you start to encounter other pregnant women—perhaps your friends who are pregnant or new mothers, or others in the doctors’ offices or your pre-natal exercise classes—you look to each other for support and advice This is a good thing. But competition can be sparked here and in this game, there will be no winners.
As Leanne Spencer, marriage and family therapist in Austin, Texas , says, such behavior can be “deadly” to your self image and your pregnancy experience. She suggests that a newly pregnant woman get an index card and write on it “I will not play the comparison game” and stick to that resolution. Otherwise, she warns, the mother-to-be will only tear down her own experience; forget her own body and try to control someone else’s.
A much healthier approach is to decide what you want to accomplish in your pregnancy. Obviously, your number one goal is to deliver a healthy baby. But in furtherance of that, you may also want to stay fit, or improve your diet or learn to knit! There are hundreds of ways to accomplish those things.
Make a pregnancy plan. We commonly hear about birth plans, where the hospital or birthing center allows you to choose the details of your birthing experience, like medication preferences, delivery room environment, who will present, etc. So it’s not so big a stretch to have a pregnancy plan. You’ll want to plan with your lifestyle in mind. You should to be realistic about what you will be able to stick to and what is important to you. This way, you are clear about your direction and less likely to be derailed by someone else’s.
The She Knows website has an online pregnancy calendar to help you keep track of your progress, the baby’s progress and your goals. A nice selection of pregnancy planners is also available in bookstores. One truly lovely one is ­The Belly Book: A Nine Month Journal for You and Your Growing Belly, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Random House, Inc.). This spiral bound journal is large and beautiful and mother-focused.
Also, do your own research. Be careful about getting all of your information from only one or two sources, like your older sisters. Their opinion matters. But this is your pregnancy, not theirs. So try to achieve a balance of perspectives by asking other reliable folks. Here are some tricky information sources that should be accepted with an ounce or two of skepticism:
Tricky Info Source #1–Friends: The input of friends is easy information to illicit because friends can’t wait to tell you about their pregnancy and birthing experiences. These exchanges can be fun and engaging and endearing. But your friends can get so wrapped up in their memories that they do not at all realize when they have gone too far and said too much.
I suggest you ask them specific questions and then cut them off right before they start in about their labor experiences. Otherwise, if your friends are like mine, they will go on and on about the details of their childbirth ordeal. It’s a mother–to–mother thing. They can’t help it! But really, those stories should be shared among women away from the ears of pregnant first-timers.
Tricky Info Source #2–Family: I’ve mentioned a little about this already. But further exploration may be helpful. It seems as though every family has some or all of these:
The Wives Tale Teller: “Oh, you got the morning sickness? Well, all you gotta do for that is swallow some cod liver oil in the morning and then again at night and then immediately wrap your head in a warm towel…”
The Old Auntie: She doesn’t mean to make you feel inadequate when she says, “Back in my day, we didn’t have time for morning sickness…”
The Family Expert: “I just read an article about morning sickness and it said that its all in your head…”
The general rule is to let your loved ones talk but ignore everything they say that doesn’t sound reasonable or current. Any comment from an old person that begins with “back in my day” will not likely have any relevance whatsoever now. But you can be respectful and listen (feign listening, anyway) and then ignore the advice altogether. Family doesn’t even have that tiny bit of restraint that friends and acquaintance do. And the older the relative, the worse the imposition can be.
Tricky Info Source #3–Magazines: I love magazines. I am a freelance writer, after all. They are so handy a resource because they give little snippets of information in easy-to-read formats. You don’t need to read a whole technical paper about the latest research in ultrasound technology. You just want to bottom line about the study’s findings and how the findings relate to your next doctor’s appointment. Magazines will do that for you. The only problem is that fundamentally magazines are designed to sell you something…actually lots of things. I am sure you noticed that the bulk of any magazine are pages and pages of advertisements. And sometimes it is hard to discern the difference between what is being sold and what is just information. Very often the lines are very fuzzy at best. So watch out for the articles that are really just a long ad for the newest version of a pregnancy or baby gadget that you really don’t need.
We women in pregnancy are especially susceptible to magazine ads. We are told that we have to buy new clothes and we have to get ready for baby and all the stuff that comes with that. No wonder the pregnancy and parenting trade in magazines is booming. How many magazines can one industry support? Evidentially, lots. The print media feeds you an image of the ideal family and the perfect pregnancy and let’s face it, a whole utopic life. Even the most discerning reader can fall for the gorgeous version of pregnancy laid out for you in a magazine. It’s all designed to make you spend your money. Be a wise information seeker and a savvy consumer by remembering to keep the media hype in check.
A word about Websites: Mommy websites abound! Some are great and some are not. Blogs can provide great information. But they are usually also trying to sell you something. And you may not be sure of the veracity of the source. So tread carefully with your own internal internet filters on high security.
And not to worry. There are plenty of great information sources, like:
#1 Great Info. Source—Your Mother: If you have a healthy relationship with Mom, she is a wonderful source because she has only your well-being in mind. She will tell you about her pregnancy experience and though it is old information, its relevance lies in the fact that you share her genetics. So you can take note of any similarities and take heed of the possible medical inheritances.
#2 Great Info. Source—Your Sibling: The above is also true of a sister who has a child or children. But there are some sibling dynamics that can cut away at this. Just remember ot to make your sisters your only source.
#3 Great Info Source—Trusted Professionals: Of course your doctors, lactations experts, mid-wives, etc.
#4 Great Info Source—Books: There are tons of books all new and updated with the latest information. Seek out recommendations of books by seasoned parents (Seasoned but with young children. If they are too seasoned the books may be outdated.)
As you gather your information, even from the reliable sources, it is still a good idea to weigh all of the information you gather against what you know to be true about yourself, your marriage and your family. That way your pregnancy stays true to who you are and what you want.
Posted by Gina L. Carroll at 22:31:02 Permanent LinkComments (1) 

Beautiful things for mom and baby


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