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Does stress when your pregnant affect your baby?

Monday, 9 September 2013  |  Admin

I've made a couple of mistakes this week. Not huge ones, just a couple of littles ones, small but poignant ones.
The first mistake I made, was at the beginning of the week, I lost my temper. I lost it my temper properly. It started with me being affronted and it built up into an explosion. The reason why I lost it isn't even important. It was something and nothing, as these things often are, but I lost my temper like I hadn't lost it in a long time. My face was red, my heart was racing and my palms were sweating as I got myself worked up over the course of a couple of hours. It took me till the next day to calm down and then the realisation kicked in that being worked up like that can't be good for the little person swimming about inside me. I'll be 20 weeks tomorrow (halfway!) and this is the stage where it can start to hear me and the outside world. I don't want my baby to hear me getting upset and angry, I don't want it to feel its coming into an unhappy, stressful world, and I certainly don't want to pass my rotten, vocal temper onto it... God forbid!
I lost my temper on Tuesday and the fall out lasted till Thursday and ended in me crying in the swimming pool to my mum worrying that I'd done the baby harm by losing my rag and being so stressed out. I was worried that I'd get so angry that my body temperature would rise up and that it would boil the baby. I said that if this baby's head exploded because I'm so stressed then everyone around me was going to get it. Once she'd stopped laughing she assured me that me being upset or angry isn't going to kill the baby and that it's head will be fine but I'm now making the concerted effort to try and maintain a relaxed environment for the baby and not spend any time with people that wind me up.

I made that decision on Friday and now it's Sunday and I've only spoken to my Mum and the dog so maybe that decision isn't practical, I think I'll have to start spending time with people and just try to exercise some self control for once. I think it'll be best for mine and the baby's sake but especially for my Mum's who really does deserve a medal for being so supportive.

The second mistake I made was while I waiting for Celebrity Big Brother to come on I switched onto a programme call The Midwives. The title says it all really. It's a programme about midwives which is basically just an hour long coverage of people giving birth. Why I switched it on I still can't fathom, I knew what it was, people had warned me about it, but off I went, feeling brave, turning the channel to BBC2 thinking I can handle this. Before I got pregnant I watched practically every episode of One Born Every Minute. I used to love it. Love seeing those women going through all that pain, to get their baby at the end of it and I'd find myself hugging the dog with tears streaming down my face, marvelling at nature and how special it is. However since that stick turned blue I've avoided it at all costs. Again I don't know why. I don't think that I'm frightened of childbirth. The way I see it is that although it's going to be incredibly painful you're surrounded by professionals to help you through it. Women that have delivered thousands of babies are there to hold your hand and dish out pain relief so what can go wrong? Famous last words!

So I turned on The Midwives just as a 27 year old girl was giving birth to an 8lb 10 baby. OH! MY! GOD! They plonked her on the loo to help her push, she walked around the room with about 5 people in it with no pants on, moaning and groaning. She was hoisted onto the bed with legs splayed while strangers told her what to do and her husband lovingly supported her and she gave birth to a massive baby. She was determined to squeeze it out and she did, bless her. None of this freaked me out until they pulled out the baby. They pulled out this huge life, handed it over to her and it flopped onto her chest and it was the look on the mums face that did it. That look that said "oh my word, what the heck is this?" The look was complete shock really. Pregnancy is one thing but at the end there is going to be a baby, a life that's totally reliant on me to look after it and I'm so worried that I'm not going to be up for the job. The only time I've picked up a baby book is to kill a daddy long legs with it. So I'm now going to embark on a One Born Every Minute/ The Midwives marathon to get me prepared. Get me prepared for the birth, but mostly, to get used to the fact that there's going to be an extra person here at the end of it all.

I've started already, I bought a couple of little bits, tshirts, wipes etc, and I'm determined to have everything I need for when the baby gets here, because its not like when the baby is crying at 3 in the morning I have anyone to send out for another bottle or dummy from the 24 hour Tesco so I'm pushing myself to have everything I need in place.
I'm not just getting myself prepared either, I've started to get Henry ready. I've been reading up on how to introduce a new baby to the dog and what I can do to get him used to having a baby around. A lot of the information says to let him spend time with children, which he does already as he and my nephew are best friends and my nephew picks him up and carries him everywhere which he doesn't mind at all, even though his air supply has been cut off. However the websites also suggest playing baby sounds to him. So yesterday afternoon I searched for sound effects of babies crying on You Tube. I called the dog and played them to him. He sat there staring at my iPad, listening to the wailing that was coming out of it, cocking his head from left to right, sniffing it and looking at me inquisitively. Then he got up and walked out the room. I can't work out if that's a good or bad sign.

So a few lessons learnt this week and a whole load of new things for me to worry about and don't know what the next 20 weeks have in store for me or if I'm going to be able to get through it but I do know that if I go down, I'm taking the dog with me!