Pregnancy gives a future mother a new status: now she is going to bring a new life to this world. Her lifestyle is changing greatly. She has a lot of expectations and needs. But do all the pregnancy cravings make sense?
The Controversial Positions about Pregnancy Cravings
When a woman finds out she is pregnant she comes to an understanding that her usual lifestyle and habits are going to change. She will have to give up a lot for her baby to be healthy. Some things won’t be hard for a future mother, but in some aspects, she will need help from those around her. Love and understanding provided by a family are very important. And a soon-to-be mom is expecting them from her loved ones.
What does the word “expectation” mean? That’s how we think other people should behave towards us. Everyone has their own expectations which change depending on their way of living and circumstances. The cravings of pregnant women are often justified – they help future mothers to adjust to their situation and accept their new roles. Pregnancy cravings are the base for the normal course of pregnancy, and if people around you don’t understand the importance of your sudden needs you have to put some effort and explain how essential this is for you and your unborn baby.
But justified expectations sometimes transform into something we call “passing fancies” or “whims”. Such notions usually have a negative meaning. Whims are egotistical things, bounding people around you to your will. If pregnancy cravings turn into whims, such a situation can have an unpleasant influence on your relationship with friends and family. So, let’s find out where is the line between the understandable pregnancy cravings and egotistical whims.
Mood Swings During Pregnancy
The first trimester of pregnancy is a hard time for a future mom. During this period a woman is going through a lot of hormonal changes. They affect her emotional state which can become quite unstable. There can be sudden mood swings: the pregnant woman becomes sentimental and irritable, and she is often prone to crying.
Pregnancy cravings. An expectant mother thinks that people around her should be patient and understanding, and there is no need to give her lectures about proper behavior or draw conclusions about her “spoiled nature”. In order to find a consensus, she should explain to her family that it’s sometimes very hard for her to control her emotions and if she can’t pull herself together from time to time she is not doing it on purpose. Some people need to be alone when they are upset, and some, on the contrary, need comfort and attention. And your family needs to know how to react to make it better for you. You just need to tell your loved ones (especially your partner): “When I’m irritated or upset, you are able to help. Could you, please,…” – and then tell them how to help you!
Pregnancy whims. Some pregnant women think they are allowed to do anything at all just because they are expecting. Their irritation finds a way out as loud shouting, constant complaints, and demands of the impossible (“You could have done it if you really loved me!”). If people around you are constantly suffering from your aggressive behavior you should think about whether it’s their fault or your own. Of course, pregnant women can become emotionally unstable, but there is a difference between that and a total loss of control! Remember that letting out your aggressiveness isn’t supposed to do you and your baby any good. Ask yourself: “How my behavior affects the people I love?” If you understand that you cause them unnecessary suffering it means that your rightful expectations have turned into whims. You need to be more reserved.
Smells During Pregnancy
During the first trimester of pregnancy, a lot of future mothers suffer from morning sickness when nausea strikes because of definite smells. Poor women have an urge to vomit after smelling seemingly harmless things. Someone can’t stand the scent of fish soup, someone – their husband’s cologne, and someone – the smell of house plants. A lot of pregnant women get sick because of the smell of alcohol or cigarettes. The same goes for food smells: some of them become unbearable for the expectant mother!
Pregnancy cravings. If a future mom is suffering from morning sickness it will only be fair if her family takes care of cooking meals from now on. You can ask your mother or mother-in-law to move in and cook until the morning sickness passes. Tell your family which smells you absolutely can’t stand. If their food smells, ask your loved ones not to cook these dishes for some time. If there are a lot of smells that make you sick, it’s recommended that you go for a walk while the food is being cooked. The aroma of an already prepared meal is often not so irritating. Or you can just eat out or order takeaway until you are better. If you calmly explain your situation to your family and suggest some coping mechanisms, then you’ll most likely get support from people close to you.
Pregnancy whims. We all heard stories about pregnant women who sent their husbands out for some food they wanted to eat in the middle of the night. If such a thing happens once during the whole course of pregnancy it even will be fun to remember after the baby is born. But when such requests are frequent and your partner is looking for some “miracle superfood” at night instead of sleeping (especially if they should be at work early the next day), then it’s a violation of their right to rest. Of course, food is important for the baby. But waiting a bit and buying the desired product in the morning won’t do any difference. If you’re tired or feel ill, ask your husband to buy it after work. And remember that eating at night is not healthy!
Physical Health During Pregnancy
Changes in the female body during pregnancy don’t immediately become obvious. But in fact, they’ve started since the first pregnancy weeks. For example, if there is any possibility of a miscarriage, your doctor will strictly forbid you to overexert yourself and lift weights. Even if there is no such threat to your health you should take care of yourself because now you’re responsible for the baby’s health too.
Pregnancy cravings. A pregnant woman can expect her family to reconsider the house chores. All the heavy lifting, general cleaning (for example, windows and other high situated surfaces), and cleaning with chemicals should be assigned to other people. If you live only with your husband and he’s not so keen on the idea of doing housework, you can hire a housekeeper. It’s not that expensive, and you won’t have to risk your health to keep the house tidy. And if you have to rely solely on your family members, be ready to phrase your requests as clearly as possible. Don’t take offense and say: “You don’t help me at all!” It’s better to tell your family members exactly what they can do for you. When your husband is going shopping, write down the explicit list of products, indicating the brands if they’re important. Speaking of the help with cleaning, formulate your request clearly: “Take off the curtains” or “clean the bath”.
Pregnancy whims. Despite the family of a pregnant woman should help her when necessary, she is more than able to do some of her usual duties. Of course, we are speaking about healthy future mothers who don’t need constant bed rest. But if an expectant mom whose pregnancy is taking its normal course has suddenly started thinking she is handicapped and is refusing to do even the easiest tasks, it’s just too much. Most of the house chores are not harmful to a pregnant woman. Pregnancy shouldn’t become an excuse for laziness and delegating all the work to others. If your family sees you’re just manipulating them with your pregnancy, don’t expect them to understand it. Such a situation can’t be good for the relationship in your family.
Emotional Comfort During Pregnancy
A mother-to-be needs to feel cherished and protected. She needs positive emotions and comfort because her psychological state is taking a turn on the baby. She needs to know there are people she can rely on at her side. A lot of pregnant women don’t react well to such delicate subjects as calamities (especially if there are kids among the victims), and can’t watch action and horror movies.
Pregnancy cravings. A future mother can hope that her loved ones make the atmosphere in the family more cordial. Everyone should speak to her in a calm voice and try not to cause her any negative emotions. You have every right to expect your husband not to suggest watching a scary movie before going to bed. But remember that no one can read your mind – talk to your family about things that make you uncomfortable.
Pregnancy whims. In this case, you can consider it a “whim” when a pregnant woman wants her partner to be always in a good mood and never have any problems. It’s mere petulance to blame your husband: “Do you have to be so upset? I’m worried, and it’s not good for me”. Your partner also has a right to be upset! And sometimes they also need emotional comfort and support. Try to give it freely and, maybe, discuss the problem. Or sometimes our loved ones just need to be alone in order to calm down and make their own decision. And speaking of movies and TV shows, don’t expect everyone to like the ones you do. Give them the opportunity to watch something they like from time to time. And if the show or movie is making you nervous, occupy your time with something else.
The Nesting Syndrome
During pregnancy, the woman often wants to prepare a room for her soon-to-be-born baby. She may have pregnancy cravings to buy new furniture for the nursery, toys, or clothes.
Pregnancy cravings. A future mom may expect her partner to help with the nursery room decoration. It’s also important to keep the room clean – your baby will appreciate that. But you should keep in mind how much time is needed for the furnishing and how much it costs. Of course, you’ll need help with larger purchases, such as a stroller, a crib, etc. But you are able to buy smaller items, such as clothes or toys, on your own.
Pregnancy whims. It’s not right to demand that your partner should do all the shopping with you and take an active part in choosing every little thing from clothes to breastfeeding bottles. You also shouldn’t expect your family members to scream in delight after looking at the things you’ve bought. They have a right not to be interested in the baby’s staff as much as you are.
Don’t Cross the Line!
A lot of pregnancy cravings are completely justified and can be easily explained by the physiological and psychological changes during pregnancy. But reasonable wishes should be separated from egotistical whims. It’s not as difficult as you may think. Just ask yourself: when I’m asking my family members to do something for me, do I violate their rights and wishes? Don’t make your pregnancy an excuse for forcing people around you to fulfill your every whim. You have your rightful wishes, but your loved ones have them too.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.