Adjusting to an Unplanned Pregnancy
If you’ve recently found out that you’re expecting, but you weren’t planning for it, there is probably a sea of emotions churning inside of you. Excitement, elation, fear, uncertainty, and everything in between. In this state, simply knowing what to do next can feel almost impossible!
Pregnancy is a big time for everyone, but if you didn’t plan it, your life can feel like it’s turning upside down. This is an absolutely vital time to take a step back and articulate your goals and vision for the future. Childbirth is simply the beginning of a new chapter, and it’s up to you to determine what that chapter will hold.
Over the next few months, you’re going to be busy planning your baby’s arrival and the subsequent steps. It’s easy to get overwhelmed: there are countless things to buy, daycares to find, and medical checks coming up. Right now, it’s natural to feel like everything must be done for your baby. However, don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself too.
A healthy mother means a healthy baby, which is why you should begin paying attention to your diet and exercise from the moment you learn that you’re expecting. Stay away from certain foods Stay away from certain foods, while making an effort to eat healthily. I’d recommend following this guide from Britain’s National Health Service about the fundamental dietary needs of your unborn child.
Perhaps even more importantly, take care of your mental health. When you’re faced with massive changes, immense responsibility, and the physical drain of pregnancy, it’s not unusual to have a mental breakdown. Many women also suffer from hormonal changes during pregnancy, leading to things like postpartum depression.
While it’s not possible to avoid these outcomes entirely, being proactive about your mental health is hugely important. Find your support networks, and rely on your friends and family for emotional (and even physical) support. Take time to relax, talk about your feelings, and simply enjoy the moment without thinking exclusively about the future.
If you do find yourself struggling with serious feelings of depression or anxiety, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you through it.
Get to Know Your Options
Often, once the initial joy of discovering that you’re pregnant wears off, women are hit with a massive dose of anxiety about the future. Given how much an unplanned pregnancy represents a serious change of plans, that’s completely natural! The options, possibilities, and even hopes you had before may feel threatened.
However, don’t let it get to you. Pregnancy happens to a lot of people (if it didn’t, there wouldn’t be people at all!), meaning that there is a wealth of resources out there to help you plan your next steps. If you’re concerned about your career, for example, take a look at Lensa’s list of jobs for pregnant women, and consider working from home for a while.
It’s All About The Little Things
It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the entirety of pregnancy, especially when you weren’t planning it. This is due in part to our tendency to think about the future, and the domino effect of each minute decision we’re making now on our child’s life. However, it’s in your interest to not let yourself get paralyzed by fear!
Take things one step at a time, because the real magic happens in the little things. Check out our article on the simple things you should know about pregnancy, and begin working those small pieces of advice into your daily life. Some particularly important ones to note are these:
- Stretch your legs before bed
- Switch to maternity clothes sooner rather than later
- Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
Pregnancy, just like motherhood, is about consistency and commitment. You don’t have to get lost in where it’s all going – instead, focus on the here and now.
Remind Yourself that You’re Not Alone
Finally, pregnancy can sometimes feel very lonely. This is doubly true if you weren’t expecting it, and you’re left alone with the thoughts and fears swirling in your mind about the future. It’s always a good idea to seek out friends and family members to hear about their experiences with pregnancy.
You’ll learn from them, more than you will from any article on the internet, that these fears are simply part of the package. It’s natural to feel unsure when you’re standing at the edge of the unknown, but once you speak to those who have already made the leap you’ll see that you can do it too. You’re not alone!