I’ve definitely been experiencing the pregnancy mood swings with my second child-growing experience.
Generally, I don’t prefer blaming hormones for mood swings, emotional outbursts or temper tantrums, but, frankly, hormones really do affect how a woman feels (and some of us absolutely more than others).
That said, I don’t remember previously feeling this conflicting play of emotions and sudden grumpiness that I’m going through right now.
So I’ve dissected and delved fully into why and what could be different—besides the obvious fact that each pregnancy is new and individual—and I’ve come up with a few tips to hopefully help make this a smooth and glorious experience for all involved.
Yet, this is truly for the people who love and live with the (ahem) pregnancy monster (from time to time).
Here we go. You’re welcome (and thanks in advance to my husband).
1. Let her rest.
She needs rest. Lots of it.
This is the primary difference I’ve discovered between my second pregnancy and my first: in my first I was able to rest and nap and now…not so much.
And that’s life. It’s fine. I knew going into this that my life was far different (thankfully, because I love being a busy young mom).
Still, she needs to rest her body and, more, her mind.
It doesn’t have to be huge either. I’m not suggesting that she needs to take an hour and a half nap everyday. What I am offering is that someone else does the household chores as often as possible; that she gets to sit down and read a book or a magazine for no less than ten minutes without interruption, even if it means taking the little one to the bathroom with you (not from personal experience).
To an expectant mama the words “sit down and put your feet up, here’s your book, and I’ll clean up from dinner,” are magical. Try saying them—and things like this—frequently.
All people need to be told by the people they love that they are beautiful.
Tell her she’s beautiful when it comes to you naturally, like when she’s smiling into your eyes and laughing. Tell her she’s beautiful when she’s just out of the shower and putting cocoa butter lotion on her blossoming belly.
The point is simple: tell her that she looks beautiful, because now is a great time for her to hear it.
Her body is changing, her moods aren’t nearly as stable as they normally are and she knows that she looks different. Tell her that this new different is beautiful, and mean it.
3. Clean the toilets without her having to ask.
Enough said. Moving on.
4. Let her talk about the baby and get involved in the conversation.
Yes, it’s 100 percent true that pregnant women would and could talk about their pregnancy and future baby for hours—because we’re ecstatic!
We’re also nervous and curious and a plethora of other Pandora’s box of emotions. Let her talk about what’s happening within her and listen to her—really listen.
Look into her eyes and don’t think about what could be said next. Share this moment with her—and feel lucky if she chose you to spend it with.
5. Consider alternative therapies like massage.
The expense of massage therapy can be off-putting to some. I’m here to inform that it’s worth the money.
For one, body work can prevent more costly expenditures and, for another, she’s carrying a baby and massage will make her feel like she walked in with one (sore) body and then out with another (happier one) after just an hour.
Encourage her to try an appointment with a properly licensed therapist if she’s interested.
6. Never say that she’s being irrational…or a pregnancy monster.
Even if she is. Just trust me on this one. Repeat (out loud) after me: Do. Not. Tell. Her. She’s. Being. Irrational. Or. Difficult…Or. Demanding (especially if she chose to show you this list).
7. Encourage her self-care.
Exercise naturally makes us feel better. Suggest a walk with her at night and then push the stroller (thanks, honey). Offer to watch the kids or make dinner so that she can take a yoga class.
Speaking of dinner, pregnant ladies need to snack and if you haven’t heard the word “hangry” before, get used to it, because my husband and I grew to know this “hungry” and “angry” combination through our newborn.
This means: help prepare healthy snacks and meals for her before she’s starving and, likewise, prepare to learn how newborns let us know that they’re on their way toward an empty stomach too.
And help her care for herself when she’s too tired to.
8. Hold her, hug her, cuddle her.
She needs to be physically held and kissed.
Another wonderful way that our bodies naturally feel better, almost instantly, is through hugs and cuddles. Try it.
9. Be patient and forgive her.
This is the big one, isn’t it?
It’s hard to forgive bad behavior, especially when it’s not only a one-time occurrence. Trust me, though—she’s also working on forgiving herself for saying things in the heat of the moment and for feeling anxious or sensitive when she wants to feel nothing short of spectacular about this exciting period in her life.
However, finding patience with her is worth it because it will most assuredly help her continue to also be patient with herself, her body and everything that’s going on within her head and heart right now.
Try, equally, not to take her outbursts personally and to not respond, in turn, with anger or frustration.
Now is the time to practice patience.
Because, hey, before you know it, this will all be over and there will be another precious soul in her new-mother arms, and, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to rush these moments at all.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman