If you’re pregnant and feeling uncertain, or even if you feel great about pregnancy/childbirth, I still have an important recommendation: try to find a support group. Not necessarily one called “pregnancy support group,” but try to find a group of other veteran, new, or expecting moms to spend time with.
The support that’s offered just from spending time with others in the same boat, or who have been through it recently, is invaluable. A lot of the weird things about pregnancy can be less alarming if you have others to talk about them with, who can say: “oh yes, that happened to me too!” It helps to normalize a process that can often feel really strange or even scary to those of us who haven’t gone through it before (or even who have done it before; every pregnancy is different, even for the same woman).
In my case, I’m taking a pre- and post-natal yoga class. It’s taught by my doula Stacy, so there is already lovely support from the instructor. The class itself is so helpful for the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, and also to prepare for labor. I’m already a master at the squatting position that can be so useful and relieving during labor.
I was nervous about the class at first. I’ve never considered myself very girly–some of my favorite pastimes include video games and fantasy books–so I wasn’t sure how well I’d fit in with a group of all women; sometimes, in the past, I haven’t very well. Plus I’m often awkward in new social situations.
That could happen with the support group that you find. If you don’t like the atmosphere, leave it. But if you’re able to find a great group of women, it’s so worth it. Stacy would never abide for judgmental behavior among moms; one of the main unofficial mantras of the group is that you do what is right for you and your baby, and that could be different for everyone. They are big advocates of things like breastfeeding and baby wearing, but the group is also there to 100% support anyone with any decisions they make, whatever is right for them.
Meeting weekly to swap notes or war stories with other moms, complain about the glucose test, or just to chat about nothing in particular, has been so important for me. The best part of the whole group is that anyone who joins the yoga class is dropped into a private Facebook group by Stacy. There we can post any questions, comments, concerns, or anything that we have. So even if you can’t make it to yoga that week, the support is still there. It’s better than any pregnancy forum, if for no other reason than that everyone lives in the area, so you know when someone recommends a certain product or support group, it can be found locally.
Where can you find this kind of support? Look around for pre- or post-natal exercise classes in your area. Many are run through the hospital. Try your local La Leche League. Check out the library for baby groups. Your doctor’s practice might also have information on groups – that’s how I found out about Stacy and the yoga class she leads. The support is out there, and you can find it.
*(The above image by Ambro is from freedigitalphotos.net).