From patience to getting your priorities in order, it’s all part of the motherhood process
Even before your baby’s here, you’re well on the way to getting those mum skills you’ve heard about. Yes, you still manage to get to work five minutes late no matter when you leave the house and the thought of organising your pre-baby finances may fill you with dread. But the all important skills of motherhood are developing, albeit in subtle ways…
1. Your priorities have changed
Until now, you’ve been able to put yourself first pretty much every time you wish. But once you’re pregnant, ‘What’s best for me?’ becomes ‘What’s best for my family?’ as you reassess your priorities.
‘During pregnancy, you learn that the world doesn’t revolve around you and there’s another little being in the equation who alters your perception of everything,’ says child psychologist Dr Rachel Johnson.
A semi-detached with a garden suddenly seems more alluring than a city studio and a career that – for the next few years at least – means a 70-hour week is a no-no.
2. You look after your body
Out go the diet books and late nights and in come vitamins and Pilates.
‘Being pregnant brings home the importance of eating, resting and looking after your health,’ says maternity coach Alison Hesley. ‘You’re now the cornerstone of your family so you need to be strong, physically and mentally.’ Yes, finally a proper reason to ditch those bad habits long term.
3. You learn the art of patience
You wait for the first scan, first signs of a bump, first twinges of labour and, eventually, the first glimpse of your baby. For women who live life at full speed, slowing down and having to wait can be a shock.
‘Taking things slowly gives us time to stop and reflect,’ says Alison. It also helps you become more patient in general – a vital quality when dealing with slow-feeding babies and toddlers who work to nobody’s schedule but their own.
4. You toughen up
Pregnancy comes with a long list of ailments – backache, tiredness, indigestion, swollen ankles… You get it. But through learning how to listen to your body, you adjust, cope and come out the other side feeling stronger and more confident.
‘The stress, tiredness and discomfort of pregnancy are tougher than anything most of us are used to,’ says Rachel. ‘This leads to a new strength and understanding of what your body’s capable of.’ Yep, even that half marathon you did five years ago will pale into significance.
5. You ask for help
Pregnancy can make you realise the importance of a reassuring chat with a friend or letting your mum cook for you. It’s a great time to ditch the link between asking for support and looking weak.
‘Some women feel they’ve failed if they ask for help, but allowing your loved ones to care for you makes them feel good, helps them bond with your unborn baby and gives you the support that you need as a mum-to-be,’ says Rachel.
So, don’t feel guilty at all next time you send your bloke out to get a tub of Ben and Jerry’s at 10pm. It’s all for the good.