“I didn’t sleep too well last night and have been struggling with insomnia, so my start to the day is slower than I would like. And I had all these big plans! I’m trying to practice self-compassion and just do things in my own time.”
- With so much happening in the final weeks, it's important to take a step back and practice self-kindness.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and various lockdowns has made pregnancy that much more challenging, with people unable to spend valuable time with family members.
- Even with some pre-birthing anxiety, our mum-to-be says her overall wellbeing is good.
From our health to our relationships, Real Wellbeing relies on a whole range of factors. Here, we follow a week in the life of a mum-to-be to discover how she looks after her wellbeing as she and her partner navigate the final weeks of her pregnancy.
Job: Mental health counsellor
Lifestyle: Lives with her partner, Tyler, and dog Zeus in Surrey Hills, a suburb of Melbourne
At 35 weeks pregnant, I’m ready to have our baby. I’m looking forward to seeing who she looks like, what her personality is like. But the journey wasn’t always easy. Two miscarriages and a gestational diabetes diagnosis have made things more stressful than I would like.
I’ve learnt that I really need to practice self-compassion—not easy when you’re used to a busy lifestyle. This week, I’m forcing myself to take a step back.
Day one: Monday
Usually, I'd be getting ready to go to work. My job as a mental health counsellor is demanding and I’ve got a million things to do during the week. But after extending the deadline to finish up a few times, I've started maternity leave. I’m feeling a bit lost this week being at home.
Having gestational diabetes means I need to be mindful of what I eat so my blood sugar stays under control. After a light breakfast of scrambled eggs, I head to the obstetrician. It is an eventful appointment—the doctor confirms I have high blood pressure, which has been creeping up over the past few weeks. It's not a total surprise, but the news still leaves me feeling anxious. The obstetrician puts me on high blood pressure medication and we're doing tests for pre-eclampsia.
Even now, I still don't have any clarity in terms of what happens next. It’s a concern because the baby's arrival is imminent. We still don't know how she will be delivered, for example. But it's a relief to Tyler and me that she is okay. Our priority has definitely shifted away from ourselves to the baby.
Day two: Tuesday
I didn’t sleep too well last night and have been struggling with insomnia, so my start to the day is slower than I would like. And I had all these big plans! I’m trying to practice self-compassion and just do things in my own time.
Things pick up in the afternoon, though, and I have a productive afternoon of getting stuff done around the house. I have a feeling the baby will come next week or the week after, so I’m in preparation mode.
Day three: Wednesday
Back at the hospital again today for more monitoring. They do an ECG scan, and we talk once more about the medication I’m on.
After those hospital visits, Tyler and I debrief, but then I need to have some quiet time. I’ll read a book—I just started The Guest List, a recommendation from Reese Witherspoon’s book club, which I’ve been following for the past year—or I’ll watch a series.
In the evening, Tyler and I cook dinner together and watch TV. It doesn’t sound eventful or exciting, but it helps us connect with each other and have some downtime.
Day four: Thursday
The day starts as it has done over the past few months with testing my blood sugar—so not sexy, but it’s something I need to do first thing after the sleep “fast”.
Then, you guessed it, it’s time for another hospital appointment with the obstetrician. The constant monitoring gives me peace of mind even if we don’t have all the answers.
Later in the afternoon, I head to a local shopping centre to pick up an order. I’m avoiding the shops—with COVID-19 still in my mind, it’s not somewhere I want to be.
Day five: Friday
My doctor's advice is to exercise after 4pm, so after a non-eventful day, Tyler and I grab our dog Zeus and go for a walk.
I feel super fortunate that I've been able to control gestational diabetes through exercise and diet, and I haven't had to do insulin. That said, it's been quite a transition to test myself so often. It was especially tough when I was working as I wasn't always available to do the testing at the right times, so I needed to make a conscious effort to keep on top of it.
Friday nights are very different to what they used to be. Often, I'd grab after-work dinner or drinks with friends or colleagues or with Tyler. The past few years have also been a bit weird because we've been in and out of lockdown.
So instead, Tyler and I have been doing "date nights" to keep things special and maintain a connection. Now though, I'm in full nesting mode and want to stay at home a lot more, so we have a quiet night of dinner and a movie.
Day six: Saturday
Tyler captains cricket on Saturdays, so he is gone most of the day. I clean the house and get on top of the washing.
Tonight, we're going to a local Indian place with my mum and stepdad, and I'm looking forward to catching up. Being pregnant during lockdown was such a weird thing—the connection to other people was missing, and I especially missed my mum.
Other friends who are also first-time mums have said they felt the same way. We're going through this massive life change in and out of isolation and other people aren’t able to share in our pregnancies. It was obviously beyond my or anyone's control, but typical connections with friends and family couldn't happen the way they normally would, and I’ve really felt the impact of that.
Day seven: Sunday
Tyler and I tend to do something together on Sunday. It might be breakfast, or a drive, or a long walk. Today it's brunch at a local cafe. Then it's a case of catching up on household chores. We tend not to do anything too crazy on Sunday to give us space to prepare ourselves for the week ahead.
How do I rate my wellbeing?
I’d probably rate myself a seven out of 10. With everything going, I think I did pretty well this week—I felt quite grounded and calm, even though there is some anxiety about the birth.
Physically I feel fine, even in my condition. I'm really happy that I've gotten to 35 weeks without having to take insulin, and I've been able to do it on diet and exercise alone. My doctors are quite surprised that I've managed to do that.
I’m probably still missing that connection with family and friends. COVID-19 has at times limited how much I’ve been able to see people, which has had a direct effect on my wellbeing.
Otherwise, we’re excited about transitioning into a family and wonder what that looks like for us. We can’t wait to meet our little girl!
Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest. Interviewee titles and employer are cited as at the time of interview and may have changed since publication.