This article is provided by our partners at Flo Health. Flo is a women’s health app, that supports women at each stage of their reproductive cycle. It tracks menstruation, cycle prediction, preparation for conception, pregnancy, early motherhood and menopause.
As the knowledge of being pregnant starts to sink in, many people drift off into fantasies about what their next 9 months will be like. Without realizing it, we often absorb information about pregnancy from movies and television shows that depict non-pregnant actresses playing pregnant, with adorable baby bumps appearing and disappearing right on cue.
We may also be affected by celebrities’ picture-perfect social media accounts or our friend from high school’s story about how she ran a marathon in her third trimester. All of this can come together to create an unrealistic sense of what pregnancy is like. Some common unmet expectations that pregnant women name include:
- My skin will glow, and I’ll feel radiant.
- I’ll have a ton of energy and get the best sleep of my life.
- I’ll have a cute little baby bump.
- I’ll have food cravings that will be endearing.
- I’ll suddenly feel maternal and grown-up.
- By the end, I’ll be so excited to have my baby.
It can be a huge letdown when the reality of pregnancy fails to match our expectations. These expectations can have such a strong grip on us that some pregnant women even describe feeling a sense of failure or like they are doing something wrong.
If the reality of your pregnancy has not lived up to your expectations, these three steps might just help:
Give Your Expectations a Name
The first step is to get a clear sense of what your expectations were going into this. Expectations are tricky little devils. Because they are subconscious, often we aren’t even aware of them until we start feeling like something is wrong when things don’t pan out the way we’d planned.
Try taking a step back and asking yourself if you had any specific images or fantasies in your mind at the beginning of the pregnancy.
There Are No “Shoulds”
Much like a fingerprint, every pregnancy experience is unique. When we’re able to free ourselves from the expectation of what our pregnancy “should” be like, then we’re more likely to see our experience as it actually is right now.
Be Here Now!
Often, when we’re feeling physically uncomfortable or are anxious about the future, it’s not easy to be present. However, even if your pregnancy is not the experience that you were hoping to have, you will never be this level of pregnant with this baby again… ever!
And this particular experience that you’re having, right at this moment, is the only one that you have. This might be helpful to keep in mind if it’s hard for you to have this experience right now, just as it is.
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