Pregnancy is a time of radical changes; it’s understandable if you’re feeling vulnerable during this time.
You’re dealing with changes to your body, fluctuating hormones, and pregnancy emotions. You’re also aware the imminent arrival of your new baby is going to change your life forever.
Throughout your pregnancy, you will most likely experience many emotional changes. From extreme happiness to uncontrollable weeping, from fiery rages to unbearable excitement – sometimes you can feel and experience all these emotions in a five-minute rollercoaster ride.
It is very common for women to experience feelings of vulnerability during pregnancy. If you usually pride yourself on being a strong and independent woman, the feelings of vulnerability can make you feel really uncomfortable and may even knock you for six.
For those pregnant women who do feel especially vulnerable, it might be helpful to know the feelings can manifest in a number of ways.
You might be worried about being left alone, especially as your due date approaches. You might feel scared about giving birth or, in early pregnancy, about physical changes, or morning sickness. You might worry about the development of your growing baby, or how your new life will be after nine months.
It could be something less obvious that contributes to the emotional changes and mood fluctuations during your pregnancy, such as when you realize you can’t reach your feet to put on shoes.
It could just be the odd niggle of vulnerability you experience, or there could be bigger circumstances unfolding in your life that leave you feeling vulnerable most days.
You could find yourself feeling lonely, and might prefer being in the company of others, to give you a greater sense of connection and safety.
All these feelings are consequences of normal hormonal changes.
How can I stabilize my emotions during pregnancy?
If you are struggling with feelings of vulnerability, the following tips might help you manage and understand them better:
#1: Open up to your partner
Your partner needs to know how you’re feeling, especially during pregnancy. With the hormonal changes taking place inside your body, he might not be able to tune into your current mood as easily as before.
Avoid falling into the habit of expecting him to know. The reality is he has no idea. He’s not you and this isn’t happening in his body.
If you find yourself feeling clingier than usual, be honest and tell your partner how you feel. Explain that it might not be rational, but it’s those pesky pregnancy hormones at work again.
You might find your partner can be more understanding and more accepting when he understands this is all part of the radical pregnancy reality, and not a permanent personality change.
The key is to stay connected as much as you can.
#2: Be empathetic
Empathy has a key role to play in your relationship during pregnancy. Your partner could be getting frustrated by your mood swings and the push-pull of the hormonal roller coaster ride. This is all new for him, too.
He is also going through this life-changing transition with you, but in his own way, with his own feelings and thoughts. This can also make him feel vulnerable at times.
Understanding and remembering this will help you empathize with him when your first reaction might be to feel hurt or angry. The key is to turn to each other and not against or away from each other. You both need to feel safe in your vulnerability.
#3: Pick a mantra
The feelings of vulnerability you are experiencing aren’t rational, and you probably already know this. That’s not to say they don’t matter – of course, they do – but it might help you feel better by remembering they’re simply feelings and not truth.
For example, if you are nervous about your partner going on a night out, pick a mantra that reminds you how much he loves you and how excited he is to become a dad. If you’re feeling nervous about driving, remind yourself the chance of something going wrong is tiny.
Pick a short, concise phrase that will help keep you feeling positive during times of anxiety.
#4: Build a support system
Being pregnant is exhausting, but so is taking care of a pregnant woman – especially when he’s also juggling a full-time job, housework, and social commitments. You can forgive your partner for getting a little burnt out every now and then.
To give your partner a break, invest some time in building a support system you can both rely on. You’ll need a support system in place for when the baby arrives and it makes sense to have one now, too. That way, when you don’t want to be alone, you have other people you can call on to keep you company if your partner is busy. Your support system should consist of friends and family members who you enjoy spending time with.
#5: Connect with other pregnant women
What you need is reassurance that the things you’re experiencing are normal pregnancy emotions. And one of the best places to get that kind of reassurance is from other pregnant women. You might have already noticed that being pregnant has the power to form an instant bond between women.
Reach out to other women at your antenatal classes, or pregnant women you know in your everyday life, and try to form a friendship. You can also look online for support; there are plenty of forums and blogs where pregnant women chat about their symptoms and experiences.
#6: Join an antenatal yoga class
It’s well known that physical exercise can boost your mood, immune system, and energy levels. While you’re pregnant, pregnancy yoga is an ideal activity to help shake the blues.
Not only will you be improving your fitness, mastering your ever-changing center of gravity, and taking time out of your hectic day to relax, but you could also be improving your mental health.
Yoga can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga will teach you how to meditate, relax and control your breathing and these skills will certainly come in useful in the birth room.
Find out more in BellyBelly’s article Pregnant and Feeling Depressed or Anxious? This Can Help.
#7: Check your diet
What you eat has a huge part to play in how you feel both physically and emotionally. It’s not surprising that what you eat can dictate your health, but you might be a little surprised to hear that it can also influence your moods.
Too many refined sugars, grains, and processed foods can have an impact on your energy levels, sleep, and mood. Try switching those starchy, sugary foods for healthier alternatives.
Fresh vegetables, protein, nuts, and seeds can give you the energy boost you need, providing you and your developing baby with plenty of nutrients and without zapping your energy levels. Try eating for happiness and see if you notice an improvement in your moods.
#8: Talk to your healthcare provider
Your healthcare professional is charged with looking after you and your baby during pregnancy, and this includes taking care of your emotional wellbeing.
If feeling vulnerable is affecting your daily life, or leaving you feeling less than excited about the pregnancy, then ask your healthcare professional for advice. It might be worth checking that your iron and B vitamin levels are adequate, as deficiencies can affect your mood.
If you aren’t coping, ask your healthcare provider to refer you to see a specialist prenatal counselor, who will be trained and experienced in providing support during pregnancy.
Pregnant women – mental health problems
Pregnancy is often a happy and exciting time for women. However, not all women feel this way. Some women might have mixed or negative feelings about being pregnant.
It might be more difficult for you to cope with the changes and uncertainties that come with pregnancy. It is common for women to worry about coping with pregnancy or having a baby. Stress and anxiety are completely normal. For women who have experienced this problem in the past it can be an added concern, because it can increase the risk of becoming ill after giving birth. With the right help, this can often be avoided. Mental health problems can develop during pregnancy or after childbirth. How your mental health is affected during pregnancy depends on various factors.
During pregnancy, mental health problems are just as important as physical health problems. The type of illness and its severity will determine the best treatment for you. Options include medical treatment and psychotherapy.
Pregnant and feeling insecure about your relationship
The main purpose of all mammals is to reproduce. The role and life investment the female takes on board, however, are very different, when compared with the male. In many mammalian species, once the male has fertilized the female, his role in reproduction is fulfilled and he’s ready to reproduce again with other females.
In human beings this is similar, to an extent. A man’s role in becoming a father, however, is much wider than just producing sperm. The role of a father starts from the moment he’s aware the pregnancy has taken place. He must protect his partner and make her feel loved and looked after, because the correct development of his baby highly depends on the mother’s emotional stability.
Why am I so clingy during pregnancy?
At the same time, from the woman’s perspective, there is a need to feel secure and well supported by her partner and by those close to her. Her main role during pregnancy is to look after herself so she can take care of her new baby.
That means eating healthily, sleeping, and resting well. It also means keeping stress levels low, as stress hormones greatly interfere with baby’s development. For this to happen a woman needs to feel secure and protected. Asking for more support during pregnancy is normal and natural.
Feeling rejected by husband during pregnancy
Many women feel overwhelming emotions during pregnancy. Some women might experience feelings of rejection from their partners.
If this is your experience, talking to your partner is the best way to address it. He might not be rejecting you at all; it could be simply the perception you have. He might be overprotective of you, which could come across as rejection when it’s absolutely the opposite. If you’re upset about the body changes you’re experiencing, this could also make you think it’s him rather than you.
After talking to your partner, if you still feel rejected, then talk to your healthcare provider who will be able to help you overcome this problem.
Extreme jealousy during pregnancy
Extreme jealousy during pregnancy needs to be looked at in depth. It’s normal to feel you need your partner more during pregnancy, and his emotional support during this period is really important for your mental health; jealousy, though, is usually caused by a lack of trust.
If you’re a jealous woman, your jealousy will more likely increase during pregnancy. Of course, if your partner is giving you reasons to be jealous or has broken your trust in the past, you’re right to be cautious about his behavior.
If your partner hasn’t given you any reason to be jealous, you could speak to various health providers, who can help you and support you in understanding these trust issues you’re experiencing.
Feeling insecure about my body during pregnancy
Women’s bodies go through many changes during pregnancy. Apart from the obvious growing bump, pregnant women experience different physical changes that are reflected in their body shape and can lead them to experience mixed emotions about how their bodies are changing. This can take its toll on their self-esteem, especially if they’ve always been very conscious about their figure.
Be aware that these changes are completely normal and are totally related to that new life growing inside you.
Learn more about how your body changes during pregnancy in Why Am I Gaining Weight So Fast During Pregnancy?