Let’s be honest: getting pregnant isn’t always just pure happiness and squeals of delight.
While finding out you're pregnant can be one of the most joyful and exciting moments in your life, it also can be an emotional experience filled with ups and downs. In fact, it's not uncommon to also start having doubtful, mixed feelings about your pregnancy, even if it was a pregnancy you'd planned for. With so many changes ahead of you, it would be quite strange if you didn’t worry about any of them. In addition to the physical undertaking and changes you’ll undergo in the next nine months, you may see changes unfold in your relationship with your partner (if they're someone you plan on being in your and your baby's life), as well as new challenges in the workplace to navigate.
Given the inflection point that pregnancy represents, there are many good reasons why you might have mixed feelings.
Don’t beat yourself up about this — it’s totally normal.
Ambitious, career-oriented women in particular can feel challenged by pregnancy. If you’ve always been able to prioritize yourself, your education and your career over all else, finding out you’re pregnant can be a big wake-up call that things may soon change in an unprecedented way.
It’s not unusual to have mixed feelings about becoming pregnant, even if it’s something you’ve been trying to conceive and have expected.
Here are some of the things you may be feeling:
- Worry that your baby is going to derail everything you’ve studied and worked so hard for
- Concern over whether you’ll be able to be a good mother given your job and career goals
- Guilt that you’re not 100% over-the-moon about what this means
- Anxiety about whether your colleagues, clients and managers will view you as less committed or “different”
- Uncertainty about how your baby is going to change you and your relationship with your work and career
- Confusion about where to turn for information and support
- Loss of control, both of your body and your future job/work circumstances
In the coming weeks and months, this smorgasbord of feelings will likely evolve. You’ll have some good days and some not so good ones, and although all of these emotions and thoughts are common, that doesn’t make the experience any less intense or personal for you.
What can you do about these feelings?
Everyone copes with emotions in different ways, but don’t try to go it alone. You may find that even if you normally confide in your “work wife” or trusted colleagues, pregnancy feels too personal to talk about (and you may be waiting to break the news). Particularly if you are early in your pregnancy, you may prefer to keep your cards close to your chest and simply rely on your family and closest friends for support.
At the right time, you may want to seek out support from other pregnant women or look to women who are new moms for information and advice. The trick is to take it all on board as individual feedback in the context of the person sharing their thoughts. For example, if your best friend became a stay-at-home mom after her baby arrived, her perspectives may not be helpful to you if you plan on accelerating your career regardless of starting a family.
Whatever your situation, finding an outlet for your mixed feelings can make you happier throughout the day and consequently more productive. Everybody’s got that friend who soared through their pregnancy with high energy and worked every day without missing a beat. But it’s just as important to focus on your emotional health — trust us, it matters too! Your new emotions may take you on a ride, but if you accept that your feelings will fluctuate and change, you’ll be more able to achieve some measure of inner peace that will help make your days during the next nine months happier and healthier.