Motherhood: A Time of Sacrifice

By: malo


"To understand a mother's love, bear your own children."

-- Chinese Proverb

Being a first time mom is the most exciting event to ever happen in a woman's life. It is perhaps, the ultimate fulfillment for any woman. To be able to create life... to carry a baby in your womb for nine months --- both difficult and wonderful milestones that every woman should experience. Awaiting in anticipation for the moment of the baby's arrival creates such an indescribable feeling of joy, completeness, and excitement. To hold that bundle of joy in your own arms for the very first time compensates for all the discomfort and personal sacrifice that a woman makes during pregnancy.

Being a parent or first time mom has long been considered the epitome of self-sacrifice. Indeed, going through the usual “morning sickness” that consists of nausea and vomiting is really something to reckon with. Having a newborn at home quite literally disrupts all routines and practices of a couple. Adjustments are made from the time meals are cooked, to the time we get off from work, to the amount of time we can sleep at night. All of a sudden, a couple's life revolves around that little baby in the crib. Still, all the hardships and challenges of motherhood are accepted with open arms. In fact, it is a time to celebrate the real meaning of being a woman.

But just like everything else in life, the first-time mom is sure to encounter challenges that require new skills and a lot of emotional stability. One of the first issues that women grapple with is the surprise of becoming pregnant.

Signs of Pregnancy

First-time moms usually do not know they are pregnant until after major symptoms appear or only after they use a pregnancy test kit. So, here are a few pointers on how to know if a woman is pregnant:

1. Tender nipples- Your breasts, particularly the nipples becomes tender around three weeks after conception. It may also feel swollen. You may also notice that the areola has become darker and has increased in diameter. The color change in the areola is associated with the body's adjustments in preparation for breastfeeding.

2. Slight spotting – A light pink spotting can occur at the time when the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus. Cramping can also happen and this is when the uterus assumes its mid-position and becomes supported by the pelvis during the second trimester.

3. Extreme fatigue – A very common symptom among pregnant women is fatigue or feeling exhausted. A pregnant woman undergoes hormonal changes that also cause a bit of sluggishness.

4. Fainting- There are times you would feel dizzy or feel that you are about to faint. This happens when the growing uterus compresses major arteries in your legs which causes your blood pressure to drop, therefore, making you feel light-headed.

5. Nausea and vomiting- This is more popularly known as “morning sickness.” This may come as early as a week into the pregnancy. Others experience nausea in the afternoon or evenings while for some, it can be throughout the day.

6. Frequent urination – When the fetus is growing, it causes the uterus to swell and it puts pressure on your bladder, which also makes you urinate more often.

7. Constipation – You would feel this in the early part of your pregnancy when your hormones slows down bowel functions.

8. Irritability – Sometimes, you would feel a combination of these symptoms in just one day and because of your raging hormones --- you tend to feel irritable. This symptom is best managed by getting rest and plenty of sleep, and by maintaining a healthy diet.

Things Pregnant Women Should do...

A pregnant woman should also make sure that she follows the following pregnancy tips:

- Regular Medical Exams – Monitoring the progress of your pregnancy is a must to avoid any complications or problems. The doctor can recommend what medicines or supplements you should take; what to avoid food to avoid; and other dietary prescriptions that you should follow such as the regular consumption of milk that contains high amounts of folic acid and pre-natal vitamins.

- Check your immunity – Pregnant women should avoid contracting diseases like chicken pox and measles --- which have potential harmful effects on your pregnancy. It is important to be fully vaccinated prior to getting pregnant.

- Eating right – Pregnant women should eat plenty of high protein foods which are essential to the healthy development of the baby. Pregnant women should be aware of the the appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fat that should be consumed daily.

- Avoid negative emotions - Emotions like anger should be avoided because even the baby is affected by the mood of the mother.

- Inform your doctor on your family history- If you have any pre-existing conditions, it is best to inform the doctor so that appropriate action can be taken to adjust procedures and medicines that may be prescribed during your pregnancy.

Things Pregnant Women Should Not Do...

- You should not smoke- You should not smoke or be around people who smoke. Smoking is hazardous to the health of the mother and the baby. Direct or second-hand smoke can result in spontaneous abortion, underweight babies, and even infantile deaths.

- You should not drink alcohol- Like smoking, alcohol consumption during pregnancy poses a very serious health risk to the baby in the womb.

- You should not take prescription drugs or over-thecounter medicines- There are certain drugs which are not safe to take when you are pregnant. The approval of your doctor must be sought before using any kind of drug or medication. The use of prohibited drugs can also cause severe birth defects.

- You should not drink coffee – Consumption of drinks with caffeine increases the baby's risk of having diabetes.

- You should avoid stress - Stress should be avoided by pregnant women because emotional instability has adverse effects on the health and physical growth of a baby.

- You should avoid exposing your self to pesticides, paint thinner, and household cleaning products. These chemicals can have harmful effects to your newborn.

Parenthood is learning process that entails studying how to care for your baby even before it is born into the world. It takes a lot of involvement by both the new mother and new father --- who equally share the responsibility of ensuring that their baby is healthy and free from risks that could impede its growth and development. Expectant fathers should be more patient and prepared to engage in a more active role in caring for the baby. The last few weeks of pregnancy can very exhausting and might cause some anxieties for the first time mom. But a caring husband can do wonders for his expectant wife by being more understanding and by doing all he can to make his wife comfortable and fully relaxed. Before you know it, the waiting game would be over. By taking the time and effort to prepare for the baby's arrival, a new mom and new dad can become fully prepared for the day that they'll finally meet their little bundle of joy.

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