Pregnancy is a beautiful journey. Each one is unique and comes with its own delights… and its own challenges, too. Here’s my story of my first pregnancy and what I learned about How To Deal with Challenges In Pregnancy, as well as some tips to help you, too!
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How To Deal with Challenges In Pregnancy
How I Learned to Deal with Challenges In My First Pregnancy
I had my fair share of challenges during my first pregnancy, including a disappointing Gestational Diabetes diagnosis that threatened all my natural hospital birth plans.
The most painful challenge of my pregnancy, however, came early on. At very beginning of my second trimester I started experiencing back pain.
It wasn’t only discomfort, either. It was so debilitating that if I was on my feet for any amount of time or even a little active I was unable to move or stand up after sitting down.
A furious pinching feeling would shoot through my back and hips and my body would totally freeze. I couldn’t walk or even stand upright.
Great. Just great.
There was no way to confirm a diagnosis without imaging, which was not an option due to the possible risk to my baby. Instead, I went through physical therapy, did special exercises, anything and everything I could to alleviate the pain.
My doctor gave me the news that I couldn’t work at this point since my job was 90% on my feet and highly active. I was extremely disappointed. My plan was to work right up until baby’s arrival.
Furthermore, as each week went by, it became harder and harder to do the things I wanted to do to prepare for my baby.
Now what? My plans were shot. What was I going to do?
Made Up Mind
I resolved that I wasn’t going to take this lying down–I was going to figure out a way to find relief and stay active during my pregnancy. I still had six months to go!
My plan was to have an unmedicated hospital birth and I knew that in order to accomplish that I had to remain strong.
I remember standing at the kitchen sink, gazing outside to the empty pool in our backyard.
Something inside me yearned to be in the water so badly it brought me to tears. I’m not an easy crier, even during pregnancy, so I knew it was something deeper, on an instinctive level. I had to get into that pool!
I shared my feelings with my husband and in a matter of days he and my father-in-law had the pool filled and ready to go. Bless them!
It was late February in Southern California. The weather was sunny but still chilly with a crisp breeze, but I was standing on the steps of the still-filling pool, doing my happy dance.
I swam. I swam, I swam and I swam. It provided so much relief, I didn’t care if it was barely seventy degrees outside. If wasn’t raining, I was swimming. Adam would come outside, his hands tucked in his warm hoodie, watch me splash around happily and shake his head.
Finally In Tune with Myself
There were times I’d just stand in the water, imagining every single pore in my body soaking in the water and the sun (an incredible combination). I would spread my arms, lift up my face and just let the tears fall.
Not sad tears. I don’t even know what kind of tears they were.
They came from somewhere so deep inside it was on an instinctive level. I would pray in those moments, feeling so close to God, allowing the water to minister to my body and Him to minister to my soul.
The water was chilly, the sun was warm. I stood there, in that place where warmth and refreshing coolness meet, and let everything inside me soak it up.
Sometimes I played music, sometimes I listened to the breeze brush the leaves of the trees together. Sometimes I tuned it all out and disappeared to a happily, just-not-here place. But I was never far from the peace of the Comforter as I swam and floated in weightless oblivion.
It was the happiest decision I could have made, choosing to find a way to move and exercise and get relief. It changed the course of my pregnancy. I didn’t set out to be a marathon swimmer. I simply got in the water and moved. And then I relaxed. Floating was like a balm to my achy muscles.
Although I was disappointed to have this challenge so early in my pregnancy, it didn’t have to defeat me–and it didn’t defeat me.
I was able to stay fit and strong and was blessed to be able to give birth the way I’d planned.
How I Learned to Mentally Deal with Challenges in My Pregnancy
Was I pain free? Nope. Did I still have “hitches” in my back? Yep. But I found something that helped me manage it.
I became a fighter about it and I refused to be forced to be sedentary during my pregnancy. I knew that in order to be in control of my labor, I was going to need to be strong, both mentally and physically.
The thing is that while my back problems challenged me physically, my choice to fight back strengthened me mentally. It forced me to build up some grit, to learn how to deal with the discomfort and disappointment.
Having that “mental workout” proved to be an enormous benefit during my labor. It gave me confidence to know that if I could make it through that challenge, then I could get through this.
You Will Have Your Own Story
During pregnancy, you can count on at least one thing or another not going your way. It’s just bound to happen. While this is almost a guarantee, you don’t have to give in to it. You can still stay on top.
You are tough, Mama. If you’re pregnant you’ve probably already faced your share of challenges. But here you are, still fighting and pressing on. It’s not easy but it can be done.
You are stronger and bigger than the challenges you face, and you’re worth the fight. Your baby is worth the fight.
There are days it will seem hard to get through even the simplest tasks and times when you feel mentally drained. But you have got what it takes. Just remember that you’ve made it this far.
Look at the progress that’s already been made! You’re incredible! You can build up that grit, that fight that sets your jaw and straightens your shoulders and gives you that resolve to continue on.
Look at it this way.
We are being strengthened for the future. We are learning what it means to be disappointed, have things go an entirely different direction than we planned, and roll with it.
It’s a skill that we’ll be able to carry with us through a lifetime. We’ll be able to apply it to parenting, raising our children, and living our lives in general.
You are capable and strong. You have got what it takes.
Ways You Can Mentally Deal With Challenges In Pregnancy
Hitches and glitches aren’t just a nuisance during pregnancy. They can present a direct threat to your confidence in your ability to labor and give birth fearlessly.
Which can change everything.
So how can you learn to fight back?
The first place to fight back is in your mind. When those challenges arise it’s important to find the confidence to face those challenges and still believe in your ability to give birth.
Here are some ways to build up your mental strength:
- Surround yourself with a positive support group that understands what you’re facing and encourages you.
- Fill your mind with uplifting and encouraging content (like my book that builds your mental mama muscles!)
- Try not to wear the “label” of whatever you’re facing, but instead view it as something you’re working through. That challenge isn’t you, it’s a mountain that you’re climbing–and you’ll get to the top.
- As a praying person, find a connection in prayer that builds your faith and connects you to God. His strength is perfect!
- Take time to get away from stress, even if it’s a quiet place in the house, and do something relaxing. Stress will only add to your challenges.
- Try to avoid reading too much or getting too much information on whatever your challenge is. Focusing on every tiny detail can be discouraging.
Ways You Can Physically Deal with Challenges In Pregnancy
Not all challenges are mental battles.
A lot are physical, too. Physical challenges can range from chronic pain to preeclampsia or GD and beyond.
Those sound daunting, but you still have options. There are ways to fight against those physical challenges, too!
Here are some ways you can physically fight back:
- Find a safe way to stay active. Swimming is one of the healthiest forms of exercise during pregnancy.
- Eat a healthy diet that boosts strength and energy.
- Try and get as much rest as you can. Quality sleep helps fight stress, keeps your blood sugars better regulated and will overall improve your health.
- Do stretches and gentle exercises on a birthing ball. Birthing ball exercises keep you active but also align your pelvis and helps baby get in good position for birth. It’s low intensity and can help with back pain (and it’s comfy too).
- Sleep with a pregnancy pillow for better quality rest and good back/hip support.
- Pamper every so often. Take a warm bath in Epsom salt with your favorite candle.
- Get a pregnancy-safe massage. Check with your doctor or healthcare provider first.
- Go somewhere relaxing–the beach, the mountains, a quiet place you enjoy and just get away.
- Listen to your body. Your instincts are strong! If your body is telling you to rest, to move or simply just “stop”–listen!
I used the Leachco Snoogle pillow during both of my pregnancies and loved it! (Hint: It’s great for nursing support too!)
You are absolutely everything it takes. Much support to you, Mama!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.Philippians 4:13