There I was – crying in class again – and I’m the teacher so that’s not good.
Nothing especially crazy had happened – I was just very pregnant and trying to do life while coping with pregnancy emotions.
I looked at those 12 year olds and they looked back at me, suddenly crying uncontrollably for no reason they could see – and I knew I had to do something. I had to get a handle on the pregnancy overwhelm I was caught up in.
It turns out that normal life + pregnancy is just hard and I needed to take a step back and figure out how I was going to make it work and get through those months.
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Why do you feel overwhelmed during pregnancy?
Do you sometimes feel like this pregnancy is just more than you can cope with? You actually don’t even know where to begin and the life that you usually lead just seems like a huge task – like something that you really can’t cope with any more.
Before getting pregnant, I was going to work and taking care of my kids and home and still feeling at least a bit like a normal person who was in control.
Bam! One positive pregnancy test later and suddenly everything was a struggle. I was so frustrated with myself because it didn’t matter how hard I tried, I just was not managing to do what I usually can. And the excessive crying during pregnancy that I was experiencing was taking its toll on me and those around me.
Life is already full up
Is your life normally easy peasy? One of the reasons why being pregnant can feel so overwhelming is that life is already full up.
You probably have a job that takes up a lot of your time and energy, keeping you away from home, possibly involving a commute. Then on top of that you might have children who you need to care for, whether that means potty training or activities to attend.
Plus you have a home to look after and a relationship which might feel a little neglected at times.
That’s already a ton of stuff that you’re doing day in, day out – probably without very much rest.
Emotional changes during pregnancy don’t help your stress levels
And now you’re also pregnant with all the physical and emotional changes that brings. Because sometimes pregnancy isn’t just about a bump and some weight gain – it’s a massive upheaval in your entire body.
Maybe you’re dealing with irritability just about every day. Or coping with pregnancy mood swings, anger, uncontrollable crying – and the general feeling that you just can’t handle what you usually can.
Even if you’re having a pretty easy pregnancy, you’re still doing EVERYTHING while growing a new human – and carrying that new human everywhere with you!
The changes and worries of pregnancy are valid
This is a period of change in your life and change is hard. You can’t predict how this pregnancy is going to affect your family, your job and your whole future. It’s not strange to worry when everything you know is changing and you can’t control it.
You worry about the baby and you worry about the birth and you worry how your relationships with your other children or your partner will change. And they are all totally valid things to worry about.
How do you avoid pregnancy overwhelm when the worries are real?
How can you relax and get on with what you need to do? How do you get the practicalities taken care of, from buying baby clothes to planning your financial future and nurturing your kids?
The only way to move forward is to prepare for what you can (such as birth planning and thinking about childcare options) and let go of the rest. All those other worries about your older kids and how to be a good parent – you’ll figure them out one day at a time.
How to handle emotions during pregnancy
Just because the things getting on top of you are real, big issues in your life, doesn’t mean you should let them take over. Here are some practical steps to help you avoid pregnancy overwhelm.
It’s hard and you might have to be really strict with yourself because if you keep on doing all the things, you’ll keep on feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, you’ll have to give yourself a pass on an activity or make yourself rest even though you can see tasks around you that you want to do.
To beat overwhelm, to handle your pregnancy emotions better, you have to do less stuff.
Find a way to relax
When pregnant life is overwhelming you, it’s more important than ever to find a way to relax. It’s easier said than done with all the baby prep to do on top of all your normal activities but time for yourself is important.
If you enjoy yoga or meditation, great – do that – but a walk is fine. Try to find your way out of the relentlessness of life each day or as often as you can. Even better if it’s an activity that will let you switch off and just enjoy the moment and your surroundings.
I moan about my dogs a lot, but those walks in the woods did a lot for my body and soul during the long months of pregnancy. (Even though by the end they were some pretty short walks.)
Get more rest
It might seem silly to say this because of course you’d like to get more rest but HOW? There’s more to do than ever, you have less energy and time is against you so how can you rest more?
Make some pregnant mom rules
Try making some wellness decisions for yourself in the form of pregnant mommy rules.
Mom must sit down after dinner for half an hour and do no chores. (Because so often moms power through the whole day without EVER taking a rest.)
Mom must go to bed by 10pm.
Mom does not vacuum.
They could be rules that only you know about but a little accountability from the rest of the family might help you stick to them. If you have little kids, they might enjoy telling you to go and sit down after dinner. Older ones would love mom having a bedtime too!
And if mom is doing less chores, maybe you need to discuss who is picking up the slack?
If you have friends and family around who want to help you out, let them! Even if you feel that you can do it and want to do it alone, swallow your pride and take the help. It will be worth it.
Let your friend take your older child out for the day. Let your mom come and stay when baby is due. Accept offers of dinner or meals for the freezer.
I didn’t want to do this because I feared people thinking I couldn’t cope and needed help. Now that I’m on the other side, thinking of ways to help pregnant friends when I can, I know it’s not a judgement. It’s someone who’s been there trying to lighten your load. You’ll make them really happy if you accept their offer.
Do things the easy way
Oh please, if there’s one thing I want to tell you, it’s this. Let go of perfect. Forget ideal. Just get through your nine months with as little pregnancy overwhelm as possible.
At the end of another pregnant day, the last thing I ever wanted to do was leave my cosy house again. It was just too much. So the online world came to my rescue.
Order grocery shopping online while watching TV.
Any baby things that you need can be delivered right to you as well – from maternity wear to daiper stockpiles and baby clothes. And there’s no need to spend more because almost anything you need will be on Ebay.
If there are things you need to learn before having your baby, you can do that online too. Quality breastfeeding classes and prenatal classes can come straight from professionals to your phone or laptop – so you know what you need to know without overwhelming yourself.
Let go of perfect
If you want to avoid pregnancy overwhelm, you MUST let go of perfection – at least for a while. Why? Because shooting for a perfect home and perfect life will keep you doing tasks when you could be resting.
Ask yourself what you can accept in the name of coping with pregnancy emotions.
For example, certain cleaning jobs in my home always get done. I cannot stand dog hair all over the floors of my home. It gets on my clothes and my kids’ clothes and in their toy box and on their plates (somehow). I can’t leave that – pregnant or not, it’s getting cleaned. On the other hand, messy bedrooms I can ignore – for a while anyway.
Think about what you do each day or week and decide what you could just close the door on until this pregnancy is over.
Does it have to be you who does the chores?
Do you usually do a LOT of the household tasks yourself? Even if you have a fair split in your family, now’s a good time for your spouse or kids to take on more. If that’s not an option then you have to train yourself to do less, to ignore.
Having a clean and tidy home can make you feel happy and content. But making a home tidy and clean does not reduce stress – it adds to it. Accept that it’s not going to be anywhere near perfect for a while and sit down on your sofa (once you move the clothes and toy shopping cart from your spot.)
Talk about how your pregnancy is affecting you
If you’re feeling the strain of emotional changes during pregnancy, you should probably talk about it. The people around you every day won’t know what you need unless you tell them.
Your boss and coworkers might have noticed that you’re frequently crying during pregnancy but they won’t know how to help. Think about what you need when you are feeling pregnant and overwhelmed at work and how others can support you. Do you need a little space? What would help you stay professional and cope with your heightened emotions? Would a hug from a friend help or just make the tears flow freely?
Even those closest to you might not understand what is happening. Your kids might need a chat about how mommy is feeling while the baby is growing in her belly. Youngsters are pretty accepting so try telling them that mama feels more grumpy and tired because it’s hard work growing a new baby. How much you should tell them depends on their age and maturity and also on their questions.
What about your partner? While you’re dealing with pregnancy emotions, your husband might think you’re angry or upset with him. And maybe you are but there’s a good chance that it’s partly pregnancy emotions.
Try to find time and chances to connect with each other and tell him what is going on with you.
Speak to your healthcare provider
Des it feel like your pregnancy emotions are getting out of control? If fears and worries are eating you up, it’s time to tell your healthcare provider. They are there to support you and they won’t think you’re being silly – and a chat with your doctor can put things in perspective.
My wonderful doctor helped me to learn to relax just when I needed it most. It wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have but I’m so glad I did it.
The other reason to speak to your doctor is that this might be more than pregnancy overwhelm. I was lucky – my emotional changes during pregnancy settled down a lot in the first months of my babies’ lives. If you are actually dealing with more than being overwhelmed – such as stress, anxiety or depression – and you just happen to be pregnant too – then you’re going to need professional advice.
Sometimes, without professional training it’s hard to tell what’s pregnancy overwhelm and what’s anxiety / stress / depression. Here is a useful resource about mental health in pregnancy.
Overwhelming emotions during pregnancy happen
Pregnancy mood swings, anger, uncontrollable crying – these happen to a LOT of pregnant moms. If it happens to you, try not to feel bad about it. (Yes. Feeling bad about feeling bad happens too.) Be open, take steps to minimize your pregnancy overwhelm and reach out to loved ones and professionals.
You’ll get through this.
Please pin this post!
Pregnancy overwhelm was REAL for me and one of the hardest parts of my pregnancies. I really hope this post helps you and I would love it if you commented below or pinned it to Pinterest.
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