Now that you are at week seven of your pregnancy how are you feeling?
Physically, you might be having some nausea, feel that you are having quite a few extra trips to the loo – sometimes even having to get up at night. This is all quite usual and expected, unless, that is, you have discomfort when you pass urine and feel shivery and unwell. Then you need to see your GP in case you have an infection. Also, if the nausea and/or vomiting become prolonged or are affecting your life too much, then seek advice here too. Feeling nauseated and breaking your sleep for loo-visits can be tiring and add to the tiredness and lack of energy that often goes with early pregnancy.
So, how do you feel emotionally?
It’s probably reasonable to say that most women are very happy to become pregnant – ‘over the moon’, ecstatic, joyful are what happy pregnant women say when they are telling their good news. Other ‘good feelings’ are broody, content, fulfilled and along with this can go a real sense of achievement. It’s wonderful to have these positive feelings: cherish and look after them and remember them when you look back.
Some women, though, don’t feel so good. It’s almost like two sides of the same coin. If you are on the not so good side, don’t despair. Some of the negative feelings we don’t even like to admit to. They include things like frightened, anxious – about yourself or baby, horrified, irritable, impatient, self-centred, jealous, unsure and uncertain. Do you see yourself anywhere there?
Stress of pregnancy
It can be a stressful time, pregnancy. It’s a huge life event especially the first, with big changes ahead. It would be surprising if we didn’t feel stressed at some point.
Even a planned pregnancy needs time for adjustment. Hormonal changes put you on a roller-coaster of highs and lows which come with mood swings, heightened emotions, apparently unexplainable anxiety-ridden dreams. You might have a sense of loss of freedom especially if your pregnancy is unplanned or even just sooner that you had expected. What about all those plans you made? It’s hard to sacrifice cherished plans and make other choices.
Many pregnant women have hidden feelings of loss. These are important and real. They need to be acknowledged. You might feel guilty about them, that it’s wrong to feel like this, ashamed to talk to anyone about it.
What kind of feelings of loss are we looking at?
Shape, figure – you are, or will be getting larger and you don’t fit your ‘own’ clothes. This then leads to loss of self-esteem.
Social life – too tired, sick, insecure, emotional to go out and enjoy life.
Identity – you are now going to be ‘someone’s mother’. Who am I? What am I doing?
Freedom – suddenly you realise that very soon you can’t just ‘please yourself’. You will have a baby to think of first.
Does your partner feel stressed too? It can be catching – or you might feel that there is some stress in your relationship. This could be from before pregnant times or can be caused by pregnancy. After all you’re both having to think about adjusting to new roles and this includes ‘himself’ as well. There can also be problems with making love. Sometimes pregnancy temporarily lessens a woman’s desire for love-making and fathers sometimes are worried about making love in case they harm the developing baby. It all adds to the tension.
How are the ‘nearly grandparents’ coping?
Some grannies are delighted. Some feel that being a granny makes them old too soon. Grannies have to adjust to their daughter and son now going to be parents. Your mother may be dying to teach you her ways which she used when you were a baby – but you may have more modern ideas of your own.
The new grandfathers are important too. Some men have real problems with this, partly because it makes them feel old, but also, a woman’s father may well be carrying worrying thoughts of his little girl, ‘you’, becoming a mother. He could feel that that’s taking you away from him.
The perfect mother
TV mums in the ads always seem to be perfect. They are depicted as being carefree, their babies hardly ever cry, changing nappies is no problem, the washing gets done as if by magic. Everything is wonderful. How can you live up to this ideal? Remember, the perfect mother doesn’t exist!
What about your rights at work?
Although the law is quite clear on pregnant women at work and their rights, unfortunately the law does not cater for unsympathetic bosses. It can be hard to get your boss to understand and take you seriously. How is your situation? If there is a problem, can you do something about it? How about speaking to an expert?
Conflicting feelings about your baby.
Sometimes mothers have conflicting feelings about being pregnant: happy about being pregnant but may have feelings of resentment towards the baby for ‘making them feel sick and tired’. These can be difficult to handle and may be made worse by feeling guilty about resenting this little baby who you love and want … yet the feelings are there.
Many women will recognise these stress factors and will understand the feelings of loss of social life, going to the gym, size ten figure, worry about her relationship, guilty feelings and the frequent nausea and vomiting. Energy levels can plummet, self-esteem drops and this is all made wore if there is no support at work.
How do you cope?
We’re all different and all respond to problems in different ways – pregnancy doesn’t make this any different. Short-term, quick-fix ways of coping can be negative and can just make things worse. But there are positive things you can do giving long term benefits for you all:
Clothes – There are lovely clothes for pregnant mums out there. See what you can find – or make.
Feel like a woman – yes! And raise your self esteem at the same time.
Talk – to friends, your partner, relatives. Write a letter to your partner (this really works). Often you can write down what is very difficult to say and this can lead to greater understanding. Once your partner understands, the barriers come down. Even if you still don’t feel like love-making the closeness that comes with understanding brings togetherness and tenderness.
Use the professionals to help you – your midwife, health visitor and doctor are there for you. However only you can tell them what you are feeling like.
Use self-help remedies for nausea – have a look back at our article: Week by week series: Week 3 for some tips to help with this.
Find out all you can about pregnancy, how you feel and why, how you are going to cope with your baby and the changes in your life. This can be done by:
- reading books and magazines, and online,
- going to parentcraft classes,
- joining a support group,
- watching friends deal with their baby,
Friends without children sometimes don’t quite understand what a mind and life changing condition pregnancy is. Many pregnant couples find that their circle of friends widens to include couples who are going through pregnancy too. This creates a bond very quickly and many lifelong friendships are created. You don’t need to lose your old friends. However you need to accept that until they reach the point that you are at they won’t fully understand.
Take good care of yourself
Make time for yourself. It’s not selfish. It is sensible.
When you’re pregnant you don’t need to stop exercising but you might need to modify it a bit. Walking, swimming, cycling, aerobics (if you tell your instructor beforehand) are all good. It’s quite an effort but you do feel better afterwards. You can speak to pregnancy fitness experts on Greatvine
The feelings discussed here are very common during pregnancy but must be taken seriously. If you feel like this or anywhere near it, take the first step towards recovery – tell someone.
Seven weeks after conception your baby’s trunk is straightening and gro-o-owing. He will be around 1.8cm long from crown to rump. The arms are growing, bones are developing and he even has the beginning of an elbow-bend. His limbs will be making very early movements. Toes are beginning to form. Eyelids and ears continue to take shape.
During pregnancy you will be offered different tests. Next week, week eight after conception, we’ll take a look at some of them.