Finding out that you are pregnant can lead you to experience a wide range of emotions. For some, it will bring feelings of joy and excitement at the prospect of beginning to create new life and welcome a new member to your family and all the changes that it will bring.
If your pregnancy was unplanned, the news is likely to come as quite a shock, and it may take some time for this to sink in and become a reality.
I was both excited and scared, as I was not emotionally ready for the pregnancy.
As the reality begins to set in, you will start to consider your options (continuing the pregnancy, adoption or termination).
In this instance, it may be helpful to consider confiding in someone that you trust, as sharing your thoughts and feelings and seeking guidance about your options can assist to make things seem more real and manageable. In some cases, it may be preferable to talk to someone independent (e.g for religious reasons, family values, perceived judgement from others), like a counsellor or health professional. This allows you to keep the information confidential and give yourself time to come to terms with the situation and consider what is right for you.
I was not planning to get pregnant, so it really came as a shock. I didn’t want to tell anyone about it because I knew they would judge me. Talking to a counsellor who didn’t know me personally helped make it real, and then weigh up my options – it gave me space and time.
A health professional is also likely to be better equipped to provide you with important, accurate information about your options and guide you through an informed decision making process.
For others who may have been trying to become pregnant for some time and/or may have experienced fertility problems, often feelings of joy may be mixed with feelings of apprehension – as you hope that the pregnancy continues to progress successfully. Whilst feeling joy and excitement at one level, you may find that you are not allowing yourself to become too attached to the idea or the baby for fear of miscarriage, particularly if this has happened to you previously.
Women who have experienced miscarriages often talk about feeling anxiety symptoms during a later successful pregnancy and, if you are feeling this way, it can be useful to discuss this with your health professional.
Having had three miscarriages previous to my one live birth (Pregnancy No. 4), I was terrified throughout the whole pregnancy of losing the baby. It definitely contributed to me experiencing anxiety in pregnancy.
The fact is there is no right way to feel. How you feel will vary depending on your plans, wishes, previous experiences and your circumstances.
Pregnancy is also a time when there is a greater risk of experiencing emotional and mental health problems – so it’s important to keep check on how you or your partner is travelling as this next stage in your perinatal journey begins.