Emotional changes are to be expected in the prenatal, perinatal and postnatal time. During pregnancy we are often so focused on our physical health including caring for our bodies and the mechanics of pregnancy, labor and delivery that we forget to focus on our emotional well being. This is just as important for a healthy pregnancy.
Just because we know to expect emotional changes, doesn’t mean we’ll know how to manage changes when they come. Many women think they “should” know it all, but secretly don’t.
Here’s a few tips to help you cope better with pre and postnatal emotions or you could take this self-assessment quiz :
1. Observe how you talk to yourself . Are you negative, critiquing everything you do, or are you compassionate and supporting? A good way to think about this is to ask yourself: “What would I tell my friend (insert name of friend) if they were struggling with this issue?” How you would talk to your friend is how you should talk to yourself. Remind yourself emotional changes are normal and the feelings will pass. They are not facts, just feelings.
2. Take it easy – Pamper yourself both during pregnancy and after. You may be a mom or becoming a mom but you still deserve the royal treatment sometimes. Simplify your “To Do” List to a few short tasks that are easily achieved. That way you feel a sense of accomplishment instead of failure for not getting it all done like superwoman (oops did I say that?)
3. Bond with your partner : Tell them how you feel so they don’t take your emotional changes personally. Talking about feelings is cathartic and reduces stress. Allow your partner to talk about their feelings as well. Spend time together and strengthen your connection. Nurture your relationship with your friends and family to provide support for you
4. Manage your stress : Do this by finding ways to decompress. Identify sources of stress in your life and change what you can. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, exercise. Do something fun (that only adults can do). Although we may not have much time away from new baby or our other children, carving out even a few minutes of relaxation and adult time can do worlds of good to replenish your tea cup. Try relaxation strategies- pregnancy yoga class, practice them daily
5. If all else fails, consult a professional counselor : There may come a time when even your mother or mommy friends can’t help, If your coping skills aren’t working well enough consider consulting a professional who can be a neutral support for you.
Feeling like the emotions you deal with may be more severe than they should be? Why not take this self-assessment quizto see if your symptoms resemble postpartum depression or anxiety?
Jennifer Estrada is a Licensed Psychotherapist who helps women find their joy again, whether in motherhood or after a traumatic experience. She enjoys helping women heal from their past and find hope for their future. She practices in Palm Springs and can be reached at