It’s the last week of the first half of my pregnancy and my, oh my, what a week it has been. The week started out with the usual stress, floor repairs in our rental house, the discovery of an air conditioning leak (during 90 degree Georgia days), and Lily taking her first serious tumble and busting open her lip. But, the game changer didn’t come until Sunday. I’ve been asked a lot how I’m feeling this pregnancy. What I want to respond with is “stressed.” But, that isn’t the answer most people are looking for. As my grandpa always says “can’t complain because no one listens anyway.” I usually respond with “a little uncomfortable, tired, but good.” Pregnancy wise, it’s the truth. I’ve told you guys before that this pregnancy physically feels a bit different. With him sitting lower than Lily did, I feel a lot more a lot sooner. For example, working out I feel like there is something in the way all the time to prevent me from really doing what I want. I felt his kicks from the inside much sooner and this week I was lucky enough to feel him moving with my hand on the outside of my belly. With all of these feelings there, of course, are worries, every time I feel things I didn’t feel until later in my pregnancy last time, I wonder if everything is okay.
Stress is a part of everyone’s life and our family is no exception. After coming to terms with being pregnant and raising a toddler during a busy football season, everything changed in the blink of an eye. Early in Sunday’s game, Andy was injured. Last year at the end of the season he tore his triceps and unfortunately less than 2 games into this season, he tore it again. That means surgery…asap. I was overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts; mainly how unfair this is for my hardworking husband and how badly I feel that he is going through this. After the original thoughts settled, I started thinking about how difficult it’s going to be to care for Lily, my growing child, myself and a husband who will be emotional, in a cast, and have no use of his left arm. I feel terrible for even letting myself think about how this is going to affect me, but now I’m carrying a child inside of me that requires me to care for myself too. During both pregnancies, I’ve had my fair share of stress but I’ve never had to carry an emotional burden for my husband like this. Football is the biggest part of his life outside of our family and to have it ripped away from him so unexpectedly won’t be easy for any of us.
This whole situation got me thinking about stress during pregnancy. I found myself wondering if it actually has an effect on your growing baby or if that is just an old wives tale. Well, mamas, now we can all collectively stress out because the research says stress does indeed have an effect on our little ones. Intense stress can cause things like trouble sleeping, headaches, a decreased immune system, loss of appetite, increased appetite, or even high blood pressure and heart disease. These issues can lead to premature birth and low birth weight. A lot of the research agrees that the first trimester is the most critical both when it comes to your diet and your stress level. I read a study on FitPregnancy.com that says stress can actually change the microbes in a mom’s vagina which can be transferred to the newborn during birth. These microbes can change the gut health (microbiome), brain development, immune system, and metabolism. The research scientists believe that an unhealthy microbiome in a child can lead to a greater risk of neurological disorders like autism and schizophrenia. Your stress level can also affect your milk supply postpartum. I personally know a woman whose milk completely dried up after losing a family member. Luckily for all of us busy moms, it seems like mild to moderate stress will likely not affect your growing child in a big way.
Sometimes I feel like this is why I should always stay off the internet while I’m pregnant. While it is VERY beneficial to know what is good and bad for you and your growing child, sometimes it is impossible to avoid stressing out. I’m happy that this time around I have learned that caring for myself, my mental state, and my body is important. I’ll ask for help from our nanny (since we don’t have any family nearby) when I need it and do the best to be the anchor for our family. I sometimes feel like the world needs to be on my shoulders (probably due in part to my anxiety disorder) but knowing that this little boy needs a healthy, calm mom makes me respect that I need to care for myself. Wish me luck!
What stresses you out during your pregnancy? Have you ever had a big, negative life event happen to you while pregnant? And, my biggest question, how do you deal with or limit your stress while you’re expecting?