• Try to enjoy being pregnant. Don’t miss out on this experience because you’re high-risk. Do the normal prego things, even if you have to modify them: Shop online, get a belly cast, shoot expanding-belly photos, and savor those kicks and body changes. Don’t forget or stop dreaming about the actual birth and your desires for what it will be like. I regretted missing out on so much while carrying my daughter. Rather than enjoying the pregnancy, I kept focused on the end and my hope she would survive.
• Don’t let your emotions become your enemy. Say goodbye to guilt — this is not your fault! It’s okay to be bitter, angry and upset at the world, and to hate “normal” pregnant women, but it isn’t going to change anything. So go get mad, yell, and cry, and then move on.
• Pelvic rest sounds easy, but it isn’t. It’s not fun being forced to become a nun, so don’t. There are still ways to enjoy intimacy; you just need to get creative. Think high school — remember how much fun necking was? Try body oil, a massage… whipped cream? Sexy lingerie is still hot, even if you’re pregnant. Flaunt your new assets — they surely went up a cup size or two.
• Educate yourself about your situation. Don’t go reading about every other possible scenario out there; you don’t need to worry about problems that aren’t a likely issue for you.
• Ask and you shall receive. It may sometimes feel as though people have forgotten about you, but the reality is they’re busy and they have no idea what’s it’s like for you. If you want company, reach out and invite someone over.
I know it’s tough to be going through a high-risk pregnancy and to deal with living in fear every day. Although this will be the toughest time of your life, many of us have been through it and now have our children. You can, too. Keep your chin up and keep hoping. Healthy babies are born every day to families who’ve walked the same path.
Kelly Whitehead wrote High-Risk Pregnancy — Why Me? Understanding and Managing a Potential Preterm Pregnancy, which is backed by fetal and maternal medicine specialist Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, a top pre-term birth researcher. Whitehead’s first child died following his premature birth. During her next pregnancy, she spent 4½ months in bed worrying over and trying to protect her daughter. The book is both a medical reference and provides emotional support for mothers-to-be, with Whitehead providing answers in layman’s terms to the myriad medical questions families have.