Confidence during pregnancy at work
Maintaining a confidence during pregnancy at work
Some women love the extra attention pregnancy brings; others hate it and find the shift of attention at work to a very personal issue overwhelming. If you fall into the latter camp, read on…
Why is our confidence affected during pregnancy at work?
It can be difficult to keep up your confidence during pregnancy at work for many reasons – some of the most common reasons confidence can be effected are;
- You are going through a tremendous period of change, and confidence is often shaken when things are changing
- If you were dissatisfied with your body before pregnancy, this may well be accentuated as you grow bigger.
- People treat you differently; at work you can be seen as a ‘mother-to-be’ as well as a professional
- You may not have fully accepted the pregnancy yet – especially if you are still in the early days
- You may naturally not like being the centre of attention and find yourself attracting more attention than you may be comfortable with
Maintain a positive ‘body image’
Now is the time to really begin to appreciate your body for the new life you are producing. Focus on 1-2 things you like about your body and whenever negative thoughts begin to creep in, remind yourself of your good points. And remember, these changes are only temporary!
Exercising can also do wonders for boosting confidence in your body, as long as you find the right exercise to suit you. If parading in front of the mirrors in a gym doesn’t suit you, start walking or swimming instead. This extra confidence you build will also feed into your confidence in pregnancy at work.
How you perceive pregnancy and motherhood in general may be affecting your confidence
Consider for a moment your perception of pregnancy and mothers. Even jot-down some adjectives. Are your thoughts positive, negative or mixed? Your perceptions are formed through a combination of: the environment you were raised in (what messages about pregnancy you received from your family as a child); the society and culture you are now living in and also whether your pregnancy has come at a good time in your life.
As a young teenager, you may have heard the messages ‘be careful not to get pregnant; education is far more important for you now’ from your parents, teachers and from society in general. As women are now actively encouraged to work after maternity leave, could this make you feel guilty or negative about taking time out to concentrate on full-time motherhood?
This is a very personal issue and you need to take some time for self-reflection. Concentrate on the positive sides of pregnancy and motherhood in order to boost confidence in yourself in your new role – you are doing the most important job of all now!
Acceptance of your pregnancy
No matter how planned your pregnancy was, it always comes as a surprise and initial shock. From a psychological perspective, the fact that pregnancy is 9 months long gives you and your family time to adjust to the change. If you have additional worries or changes during your pregnancy such as a relationship breakdown, illness in the family or concerns about the health of your baby, this may change the way you feel about your pregnancy, as it shakes your additional needs for security. Bear in mind also that your feelings will change week-by-week, even day-by-day. Keep talking to others, and don’t be afraid to enlist professional support from your midwife or a counsellor at any stage.
Enjoy the extra attention!
Let’s face it, this can come as a bit of a shock. As a professional, you are very used to making small talk at the beginning of a meeting with clients or colleagues about the weather and what’s happening in the news. It’s impersonal, polite, sociable, professional, and you are used to it.
Suddenly, however, now that you are visibly pregnant, that impersonal small talk may well become directed at your changing shape; whether you are looking radiant or exhausted or whether you’re feeling sick. This sudden change of attention can come as a shock and can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared for it, or if you naturally don’t enjoy being the centre of attention. Take comfort in the knowledge that many struggle through the extra attention with a degree of self-consciousness.
If you do find it hard, plan your response to questions. You can still be polite by answering questions briefly and then moving the conversation on; you don’t have to recall every detail (and if fact it won’t do much for your professional credibility if you do!)
Maintain reasonable self-expectations
This is particularly important as a working professional. Your life so far has probably been structured: school, further education and climbing the career ladder.
So far you have probably exerted a good degree of control over your life; now you are pregnant, there are many factors outside your control and you may not be used to this. Whilst it is important to be confident and optimistic in your ability, if you set yourself up to achieve a continuing level of perfection, you are bound to feel as if you are failing.
The key at the moment is to try not to do it all – now that you have just taken on a huge additional responsibility of growing and nurturing a healthy baby, as well as all your other jobs and roles in life, consider delegating other things – the cleaning, the shopping, the ironing, the extra projects at work, the bills and the admin at home.
Coaching can really help boost your confidence. Please contact us for more details.