It Takes a Village to Support a Pregnant Woman
As it sometimes happens in life, this week’s “lesson” presented itself with a strong theme.
I had my first appointment with my midwife this week. I was really hopeful that she would take me on as a patient because I would like to have a natural, drug-free birth and I want the extra care and attention through my pregnancy and labour.
I explained to her that we have recently moved back to Halifax from Vancouver (but we’re originally from Edmonton). We made the decision to move back to Halifax partly because it was a much more realistic and affordable place for us to live the life we wanted (house, travel etc.). But, it was a challenging decision because it meant moving 6,000 kms away from our support base – our families and our lifelong friends. Granted, we already lived “away” but it was a reasonable drive (occasionally). I also explained that my need for extra care also stems from the fact that I lost my mom to cancer when I was 16, so I wasn’t going to have her along for the journey. Kelly spent the majority of the appointment talking about the importance of building a strong support network through my pregnancy (and beyond). She talked about how it was one of the key ways to stay emotionally healthy and strong and she gave me some homework. I had to think about my support network and consider how to bolster it in the next few months.
And just like that, I met my first new pregnant friend in Halifax. I have always enjoyed (and required) a large social circle. I love making friends and having lots of friends is important to me. I have some amazing friends in Halifax but I’m the first in our group to venture into motherhood. I also have a great network of friends in Edmonton who are moms (and have been great virtual support). But, I think it’s important to make a few friends who I can bore to death with the details of my pregnancy (and eventually, my baby) in person. One gold star.
I have not completed my goal of finding a regular outing that involves pregnant women, but I have decided that I am going to try out prenatal yoga (several people have suggested it). Two gold stars (ok, well, I know I haven’t technically earned this star yet – but I’m taking it!)
And then came my first test: a week alone. My husband Mark went to the UK to visit a friend for the week, and I am on my own. Usually, I’m quite content to be on my own, but in my pregnant state, I’m feeling quite needy, lonely and emotional and well, alone. Time to test the ol’ support group. I’m happy to report I’m feeling very supported and have had several opportunities to stay social (board game nights, dessert dates, 1 hour phone calls). Three gold stars.
And so, in my 15th week of my pregnancy the importance of support is the clearest it has ever been. Being pregnant is exciting, but it’s also physically and emotionally draining and a little bit scary. Building yourself the proper support network should be on the giant list of “to do’s” you find in books and on parenting websites. Peruse the bulletin boards at libraries and coffee shops, look online (many local mom groups have their own Facebook pages), read local publications and talk to your doctor/midwife/doula/astrologist – whatever! Just be sure to take a good look at your support system and devote some time to build it up if needed.