* As seen in New Hampshire Women’s Magazine
Today’s woman is advancing her career, getting her Ph.D, working on relationships, networking, and achieving fitness milestones. She may dream of adding “mother” to that list but struggles with the feeling that her life seems like it’s already at capacity. But life is quickly passing by, and her plan to become a mom at 29 seems to be pushed back with each coming year.
Garrison Women’s Health, an OB/GYN practice located in Dover, New Hampshire, likes to educate its patients on the importance of balance. Garrison’s providers see women every day having trouble reconciling their desire to have a baby with a deep investment in their careers and other aspirations. Oftentimes women feel as though these are mutually exclusive. It’s easy to get caught up in societal “norms” of what pregnancy should be like or when it is the right time to have a baby, or to comparing yourself to other women your age who have babies or have gone down a different path than you. This is normal, and so are you.
The clock is not actually ticking…in this case
There has been a shift over the last few decades of women delaying pregnancy for lifestyle-related reasons, like establishing a career, finishing school, or reaching a specific goal before starting a family. While working towards those achievements, many still worry about their “biological clocks” and feel that they need to have children before a certain age (most commonly around the age of 35). But guess what? There is no magic cutoff time. On your 35th birthday you aren’t immediately unable to conceive a child. You are in control of your life! So, the first step is to dismiss the pressure of having a child when society says you should. Besides, the reality is this: the new norm is that there is no norm.
A customizable approach is important
Women should feel that they are an active participant in making healthcare decisions with their providers. It is your provider’s job to relieve anxieties and help you strategize a plan that works with your schedule and lifestyle. If you become pregnant unintendedly (like 50 percent of women do) you should still feel empowered to develop a pregnancy plan that’s fully on your terms.
The balancing act
Before you become pregnant, you may think, “I will still be able to exceptionally manage my team at work, exercise regularly, and function normally.” However, in reality you may find that you’re exhausted and have trouble with tasks that were once very simple. Give yourself a break — you are creating a human being! It’s miraculous. This journey is about balance. Sleep when you need to sleep, eat healthfully, and drink plenty of fluids. Never feel guilty about “me time.”
Support can go a long way
Once your bundle of joy is home with you, you may be surprised that you feel anxious and overwhelmed—this is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. We encourage women to talk about how they feel and to accept support whenever it comes. And to ask for it! No one is expected to or should have to raise a child on their own.
Time for yourself is key
Your life changes immensely the second you lay eyes on your beautiful baby. Being a parent is a full-time job. You are dedicating every ounce of energy to your newborn and the thought of having time to yourself may feel like a dream. Making time for the things you love to do is imperative, whether it’s yoga, book club, or walking aimlessly around the aisles of Target.
Remember this: you created a human being. That’s amazing! You are inspiring, beautiful, and strong. It took you months and months to grow your precious baby. Don’t expect everything to go back to normal instantly. Give it some time and love yourself.
At Garrison, we are women caring for women. We want mothers to dedicate time for themselves, live every day to the fullest, and most importantly, take charge of their pregnancies. When you’re living life for you, you are living your best life.