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Pregnant? Make Sure You're Mentally Prepared, Too
PHOTO BY @Pimonova/iStock
  • Motherhood brings such big changes in a woman’s life that she knows the moment those two lines appear on the pregnancy kit, she needs to be open and ready for anything. Is the baby getting all the nutrients he needs? Is he growing as expected? Are all his baby things complete in time for his arrival? There is nothing wrong with this, really. Often, however, a pregnant woman is so focused on preparing for the arrival of her baby that she forgets about herself. 

    It is paramount that a new mom gives herself as much attention and time as she gives the baby in her womb to prepare for this new role she is about to take. Her mental and emotional health during pregnancy will affect not only birth outcomes, but more importantly, her disposition and ability to properly take care of her baby when it is born.

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    How a woman can make herself mentally prepared for motherhood

    1. Know what to expect.

    Expectations don’t always equal reality, and the same is true for pregnancy, especially if you’re a first-time mom. When those expectations are not met, you feel unqualified, you feel unworthy, and this frame of mind will eat you. Use your time well and read up. Books and reputable websites are your quickest sources about pregnancy, and you can verify facts with your doctor. For a more personal account, ask friends and loved ones who have gone the pregnancy path. (Be discerning, too, because you’re bound to get all sorts of advice). Perhaps from this exercise you’ll be able to surmount that no matter how one prepares for pregnancy, there will always be surprises. And being prepared for anything is a good attitude to take. 

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    2. Get support from your social circle.

    Social support, or having a network of people like friends and family whom you have strong personal relationships with, is a key factor in a pregnant woman’s mental health. This becomes even more critical when your child is born, and you go through parenthood on a daily basis. It is important that you have people you can lean on when you get overwhelmed by the tasks at hand.

    3. Be aware of your risk factors.

    Mental health conditions should never be disregarded. Postpartum depression (PPD), a clinical diagnosis, is a serious condition that affects many women who jut gave birth. According to Dr. Lucille Montes, a guidance counselor and psychologist, one in eight new moms experience it, and in some cases, the symptoms manifest even during pregnancy.

    Some of the symptoms of PPD are: feeling sad, empty, or hopeless, feeling unworthy, having excessive, inappropriate guilt, insomnia, and recurrent suicidal thoughts. Understanding your risk factors is a good first step to preventing it.

    Women who are prone to developing PPD are the following:

    • Those with a family history of PPD
    • Those who have been diagnosed previously with PPD
    • Those who have a history of depression or anxiety
    • Those who are going through stressful life events
    • Those with a poor support system

    Nonetheless, even without these risk factors, PPD could happen to any woman. Recent research, however, says that psychological interventions like interpersonal therapy, home visits, phone support, and competent midwife care may help prevent postpartum depression.

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    Need help? You can find mental health facilities in the Philippines using this interactive map

    Don't be afraid to reach out if you are feeling anxious, helpless, or despondent. If you need someone to talk to: 

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