Side-Effects of Pregnancy
Mood swings and fears
Rather than focus on your changing girth, concentrate on the positive physical changes of pregnancy. For one thing, during pregnancy your hair thickens and becomes shinier. You may also find that your nails are stronger and grow faster than usual. During a first pregnancy, why not indulge yourself with manicures? If you're worried about toxins and chemicals, there are toluene-free nailpolishes available to keep baby free from chemical exposure. You might not be able to wear your rings if you retain fluids, but at least your nails will be nice.
And don't forget that well-known glow—it's real! Your body is working overtime to keep all your internal systems working at peak efficiency—your blood circulation and hormonal system in particular. You really do end up with rosier cheeks and clearer skin during pregnancy.
Swinging with Your Moods
Many of the changes that occur during pregnancy are not visible. In fact, you may be the only one completely aware of what is going on inside you. You may find that during pregnancy you become what I call hormotional—experiencing those bouts of unexplainable weepies or grouchies that every pregnant woman seems to get.
Don't let the mood swings get you down—hormotionalism is a perfectly natural aspect of being pregnant and it is your right as a woman to be as hormotional as you please. Indulge your moods if you can, but remember that your partner won't always understand what's going on. If he protests about your unpredictable moods, just remind him that you are pregnant—and leave it at that.
Your emotions will balance out, once your hormones settle down. But until that happens, be careful: If you get the weepies you may have a tendency to allow all your fears to surface. You may even have scary, pregnancy-related dreams (a common one is that you have had your baby but you keep leaving it places). While it's normal to have a few fears when you are adjusting to the concept of being responsible for another living thing, don't let yourself obsess.
Most people need time to adjust to the idea of taking on the responsibility of a baby—someone who'll be completely dependent on you, at least for a while. And nine months of pregnancy seems to be just long enough to allow you to become utterly terrified, if you let that happen. But you're not the first to feel those fears, and you won't be the last. What you will do, eventually, is work through your fears.
One way to work past any fears you have is to turn them on their heads. Instead of focusing on your doubts (“It's such a big responsibility…how can I live up to it?”), concentrate on the opportunity that pregnancy offers: Your role as a mother is really one of the most precious and important things you can do with your life. It will have far-reaching impact and could influence future generations.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood © 1999 by Deborah Levine Herman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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