Pregnancy and the early days of parenting can sometimes zap you of your energy. Here’s what you can do to beat it.
WORDS SUE-ANN BAUMGÄRTEL
1. Time Out
If the challenges of pregnancy or being a new mum are really wearing you out, take time out for yourself and fill that time with something positive for yourself. It could be yoga, meditation or a mummy-friendly massage, the most important goal is to give yourself some space. You are after relaxation, not exhaustion!
2. State of Mind
The early months of pregnancy are often filled with mixed feelings. Along with the physical ailments, chances are your feelings and emotions are pretty much reflecting your hormones. Euphoria or shock at being pregnant, followed by loss of control, uncertainty, fear of the birth, these are all normal concerns of most expectant mums. By talking about your fears, joys, worries and sharing your journey with an understanding friend can give you a mental and emotional boost. The demands which pregnancy makes on a woman’s mental and emotional state should not be treated lightly. The state of your mind is as important as how much your baby is developing.
3. Prioritise Your Responsibilities
There are so many hours in a day, and you can only do so much. Don’t beat yourself up for not doing everything you did before. You are responsible for growing a brand new person. If the ironing is not done, don’t worry, it will still be there tomorrow! It is more important to look after yourself and your family.
4. Delegate or Accept Help
Having a baby is the business of the whole village. Explain to any older children that you are tired, and involve them helping around more in the house. If your mother-in-law offers to pick up your kids from school, accept her offer graciously and use that time for yourself. Let your husband take over some of your responsibilities at home. Even if you let your neighbour just hold your newborn baby for an hour, while you put up your feet, there is no shame in asking for help. Freeing up some more time during the day can buy you more time for yourself – to meet up with friends or simply recharge your batteries. Just don’t stress about things not being exactly to your own standards!
5. Listen to Your Body
Pregnancy is a huge game changer. Some women can carry on as if nothing has happened and pop out a baby nine months later without so much as a squeak of discomfort. Some women, out of no fault of their own, can suffer from every pregnancy cliché under the sun. Everyone is different. If your body is telling you to take it easy, it is probably for good reason. Don’t fight it, but accept and respect the changes and feats that your body is going through.
Fatigue can also be the sign of underlying problems. While anaemia can be easily remedied with tablets, acute fatigue can also be a symptom of depression. Looking after a newborn is a challenge. A gloriously rewarding and self-revealing experience, but an uphill struggle nonetheless. Depression and post-natal depression are serious illnesses. If you are feeling overwhelmed by exhaustion and negativity, either as an expectant mum or a new mum, get help from your GP.
And finally, if you have reached this sentence without falling asleep, well done! Now go and enjoy that well-earned rest.