It only lasts 40 weeks, yet your pregnancy will have an impact that reaches well into motherhood and beyond. As you focus on details like taking folic acid and whether to buy a Moses basket or a cot, you’re also learning skills that’ll make you a better mother and a happier person, long after you’ve welcomed junior into the world.
Here are five valuable life lessons pregnancy can teach you.
1. Look after yourself
The moment you confirm your pregnancy, you’ll ditch those diet books and late nights in favour of good nutrition, vitamins and pregnancy Pilates. Planning a well-balanced diet is very important to meet the needs of the baby growing inside of you. Plus, a nutritious diet and an appropriate exercise routine help to maintain your health and prepare you for lactation.
“Eat healthy — I took extra care of my diet and my health, as I was responsible for another being inside me,” Roohi Shah, 28, mum to Jiya Shah, 19 months shares. “I learnt to look after myself, so I’d be healthy enough to look after someone else.”
2. It’s not all about you
Until now, you’ve been able to put yourself first. But once you’re pregnant, “What’s best for me?” becomes “What’s best for my family?” as you reassess your priorities and start to wonder what kind of parent you’d be.
3. Practice patience
Pregnancy is all about being patient. 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 embrace life at full tilt, it can be a shock to slow down and wait. But pregnancy does not last forever so seize the moment — slow down, enjoy the process and talk to your baby. Plus, this experience will also “train” you to become more patient in general — a vital quality when you have to deal with babies and toddlers.
“Acquire patience — from carrying a life in your womb for nine months, to giving birth, it is an unforgettable experience,” says Ujala Dhillon, 27, mum to Arshvir, 2, and Jashvir, 3, of her key discovery from being pregnant.
4. You’ll get tougher
Pregnancy comes with a long list of complaints — backache, tiredness, indigestion, and swollen ankles… But you adjust, cope and come out the other side feeling stronger and more confident when you learn how to listen to your body.
5. It’s okay to ask for help
When you are pregnant, you’ll soon realise the importance of a reassuring chat with a friend or letting your mum cook for you — another way of experiencing more together with your loved ones. Having a baby is a major life change — time to ignore the link between asking for support and the fear of looking weak.