A high-risk pregnancy is extremely stressful. No one can challenge that.
But the thing about stress is that because it's a normal part of life, it can be hard for many moms to judge when the stress has become so much that you should ask for support.
Until it goes too far.
So often I hear from moms after they've delivered that they wished they'd asked for help during their pregnancy because they were certain stress played a role in their pregnancy complications worsening.
Asking for help can be hard.
You feel like should be able to manage all of this on your own. Or you feel like there's no one to talk to because no one understands what you're going through. It could be that you feel too proud to ask for help, worried about what others will think if you can't do it all by yourself.
These are all beliefs you're assuming are true.
You should not have to manage everything on your own because it's not physically possible to cook, clean, take care of the kids, work and maintain a relationship with your partner all while fighting for your baby!
The reality is stress is a very real risk factor for further pregnancy complications. (Tweet that!)
Trying to do everything on your own, whether it's to save face, because you genuinely believe you can manage it all or because you don't know who to turn to only adds to the stress you're already dealing with by having a complicated pregnancy.
Being a supermom doesn't mean doing everything by yourself.
It means knowing when to ask for help so you can focus on doing the thing that no one else but you can do: growing, nurturing and caring for your baby. (Tweet that!)
Top 5 signs you should ask for help
1. You often find yourself resentful or jealous of those moms who have it easy and get to enjoy their pregnancy.
Resentment and jealousy are masks for other emotions such as grief or sadness about your situation.
By identifying and working through the true underlying emotions while pregnant, you too can enjoy moments of your pregnancy despite the ups and downs that you're facing.
2. You feel completely overwhelmed with thoughts and information when you make decisions about your baby and your medical conditions.
You're reading everything you can on Google. You're in Facebook groups and online forums talking to other moms. You've searched all over PubMed.
Should I get a cerclage or not?
What type of bed rest is right for me?
Should I take insulin or not?
You're experiencing information overload.
The last thing that you need is one more person telling you what to do and giving you more information.
What you need instead is to figure out how to get in touch with your own values and priorities so you can quiet the noise so you can feel confident about the decisions you're making for you and your baby.
3. You feel helpless and feel like you've failed your baby.
You are not a failure.
I'm going to say it again.
You are not a failure.
You are doing the best that you can. And your body is doing the best that it can.
You are also not helpless.
Yes, there are many, many factors out of your control. But there are so many things that you can still influence, such as when you wake up, who is on your medical care team and what decisions you make.
If all of this sounds hard to believe, trust me as a mom who's been where you are now, that it's a good time to reach out for support.
By reframing your thoughts, you can find additional strength in yourself to keep fighting on another day.
You just have to be willing to ask for help.
4. You tell yourself you'll feel better once this pregnancy is over and your baby is home.
The reality is that everything that you're going through right now is going to stay with you until you process it.
That's just how emotions work.
Whether it's right now or after the babies home, these emotions will find a way back to your mind until you're able to work through them.
I can't tell you how many moms I work with after the baby comes home when they realize that they're still anxious, worried, overwhelmed, and so surprised at all these feelings are still around.
Your experiences aren't erased just because the pregnancy is over and your baby is home. (Tweet that!)
By asking for help during your pregnancy, when your baby is home, you can be fully presents to enjoy the life that you fought so hard for.
5. Most of the time you feel anxious, sad, or not like yourself.
Sadness, anxiety or hopelessness are normal experiences during a high-risk pregnancy. But if...
you find yourself feeling this way most of the time
your usual attempts to feel better aren't working
you're eating or sleeping more or less than usual
you're more withdrawn than usual
you're just feeling off
...ask for help before these emotions impact your daily quality of life.
Low mood, stress and anxiety during pregnancy can increase your risk of postpartum mood disorders and your ability to bond with your baby after birth. (Tweet that!)
They may seem obvious on the surface. But your specific triggers, why you feel so emotionally exhausted and what you can do that will actualy help can be tough to figure out while you're managing pregnancy complications.
Support can be extremely helpful in these situations.
Where can you get help?
1) Read this blog where I share tips weekly on how to cope with the ups and downs of a high-risk pregnancy.
2) Download the free Perinatal Wellness Toolbox and get started on some stress and anxiety lowering exercises immediately.
3) Join me and Maternal and Postpartum Health Specialist, Arianna Taboada, on January 20, 2016 for a free online workshop where we'll review all of the ways you can lower your stress and anxiety through day to day self-care activities.
4) If you have a history of clinical depression or anxiety, please contact your mental health care provider for assessment and treatment.
5) Work with me privately and to receive personalized support so you can feel more confident and more hopeful as you fight on another day. If you want to know more, just shoot me an email!
Whatever you choose, please know that I believe in you.
Just take it one day, one step at a time. You can do this.
How do you know when it's time to ask for additional help? Is it usually after the fact when you look back or can you recognize the signs while you're going through high stress?
Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!