A wise person once said that you can truly become a woman only after you give birth to a child. And every mom-to-be certainly feels this: nothing can change a woman’s sense of self like the first pregnancy.
What’s the best age for having a first baby?
Not so long ago it was commonly believed that a woman’s 20s are the best age for having a first baby – it’s implied that her body is healthier and stronger, and therefore she has fewer problems during pregnancy and labor. But the latest studies of the subject (for example, the ones that took place in one of the New York hospitals where doctors observed about 4 thousands of female patients) state that the frequency of pregnancy and labor complications in moms-to-be aged 30-35 does not significantly exceed the frequency of those in 20-something ones. In a certain sense, late pregnancies are more justified: an older mom-to-be is not stressed out so easily, she is no stranger to discipline and is generally wiser and more responsible.
Earlier it was considered that late pregnancies lead to premature births and that such babies gain weight much slower and get ill more often. In fact, it’s not quite so. And if you take into account the fact that middle-aged parents tend to spare more time to raising their child, you’ll find that “late kids” often outgrow their peers intellectually.
This being said, it’s also important to know that late pregnancies have their own problems. After the age of 35, a woman may experience health issues like hypertonia or diabetes. This is why if you are 35 years old or older and want to get pregnant you must go through a medical examination.
What is a mom-to-be afraid of?
Pregnancy months are always filled with anxiety, even for the experienced moms. If you are planning to get pregnant for the first time, every step you make will keep you worried. So what are the future moms afraid of?
1. What if my baby will be born sick?
We have inherited this kind of fear from previous generations. Think though: health care made a big progress. Various tests and examinations allow identifying pregnancy pathologies at the earliest stages.
2. I won’t be a good mom; I won’t be able to handle the baby!
Every woman is armed with a maternal instinct that will tell her how to handle her baby. If you don’t want to rely on instincts, watch some educational movies or read books on the subject.
3. Pain scares me!
It’s interesting that fear and pain are very much interrelated. The first person to mention this was Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, author of the “Childbirth without Fear” bestseller. He was the first one to say that pain during childbirth comes from fear because it’s fear that causes muscle cramps and they, in their turn, make the pain worse. In short, the more pain scares us, the stronger we feel it.
4. I will turn into a shapeless hen and will remain like that for the rest of my life!
Have you ever looked at the celebrity moms? Many of them have more than one kid and they are still in a great shape. So it’s all in your hands (and legs), literally. You can keep fit by visiting a swimming pool, doing special stretching exercises or yoga. And don’t forget that overeating will never do you any good. Eat just as much as both you and your baby need.
5. My lifestyle won’t be carefree anymore
In a way, that’s true; childbirth changes your life forever. But in order not to let yourself be devoured by diapers and cooking, talk to your husband (your mother or your mother in law) and agree that they should help you to get some rest at least once a week. This would be great preventive measures against post-natal depression.
Forewarned is forearmed. Bear in mind that having the first baby often causes a real family crisis. After all, your family structure changes after your baby appears (which doesn’t happen with the birth of a second and a third child, when you are already used to being a parent) and there is a lot that needs to be different from the way it was before.
The most common mistake in this situation is to make yourself believe you and your partner don’t need any words to understand each other. This kind of mutual understanding is too rare.
You have to discuss your future now. Your roles change (soon you will become not just a married couple but parents, and your parents will become grandparents), as well as your schedule and your budget management. Who will get up in the middle of the night to soothe a crying baby? Will you and your partner stay at home, at least on weekends? Will the newly-minted grandparents stay with your baby when you want to go out? Or will you be the only one who undertakes all the responsibilities while your husband’s life if going to be as it was before?
By the way, such conversations will help you picture the way your life is going to be like after your baby is born — and this way you will get rid of the bigger part of your fears. For it’s the unknown that scares us — but you will know what to expect.