Communicating and setting boundaries while pregnant can feel awkward and difficult during a particularly vulnerable time.
Learning to set boundaries has been (and will continue to be) a lifelong process for me. It’s something I’ve slowly grown more comfortable with, and I’ve learned that the more boundaries I set around my energy and time, the more calm and joyful I feel.
When I learned I was pregnant; I expected there to be new challenges and a lot of new things to learn. What I didn’t account for was how important setting boundaries would become – and also how challenging.
What I learned about setting boundaries while pregnant
Quite quickly, I learned that everyone will have an opinion about your pregnancy. Here’s a small sampling of you can expect to hear unsolicited advice on (based on my experiences):
- The possible gender of your baby
- How your labor and delivery will go
- What you should name him/her
- How you should (and shouldn’t) give birth
- When and what you should tell others
- How their pregnancy and birth went (so naturally yours will follow suit)
While most people are very well-intentioned, it can still irk you to the core if you’re not looking for opinions and if what they have to say causes more harm than good.
I believe it’s essential to learn to set boundaries, communicate what opinions you’re open to, and back up your boundaries with tough-love as needed. Learning to set healthy boundaries and getting comfortable with using your No is essential for a more joy-filled pregnancy journey.
How to start setting boundaries while pregnant
I’ll be the first to admit it: I have little to zero clues about what I’m doing when it comes to raising a child at this point in my pregnancy. For reference, I’m 20 weeks along right now.
On the flip side, I am very in touch with how my body reacts when someone is violating my boundaries. I know what it feels like to be grounded in my beliefs and truth – and chances are I’m not wavering from that spot.
Pregnancy presents many new physical and emotional challenges, many of which you’ve never encountered before. To effectively set limits with yourself and others during this particular time, there are a few very essential pieces of information to keep in mind.
To begin setting healthy boundaries during your pregnancy, I encourage you to take the following steps:
- Get in touch with your core desired feelings while pregnant
- Begin to trust your intuition and hone your instincts
- Pick one or two trusted friends to confide in and ask for advice
- Contruct a few one-liners to fall back on when your boundaries are challenged
Check out these additional pregnancy resources
Four times to set boundaries during pregnancy
1. When someone offers unsolicited advice
…especially if it causes you fear or panic
When I confided my birth “plan” (in quotes because I use this term loosely) to a small group of friends, I was immediately met with pushback and fear-mongering stories of their birth.
A part of me began to second-guess my decisions, but a bigger part of me politely explained that I would move forward with the best choice for me — end of discussion.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t be afraid to tap into and stand in your own voice. You do not have to have the same pregnancy or birth as those around you, nor do you need to grin and bear their unsolicited opinions.
2. When you’re pooped (or just don’t want to)
Learning to say No has been an essential part of maintaining my sanity throughout my pregnancy journey.
This act will require you to say No to your husband/partner, your boss, your co-workers, your kids, your neighbors, your family, and others. By doing so, you are ensuring that you are saying yes to yourself.
Whether you’re exhausted, nauseous, or just had enough of acting like a human, saying No to requests is a healthy boundary to set while growing a little one. This act can help protect your precious energy and maintain your mental wellbeing.
3. When someone asks you something you don’t want to share
Have you thought of names?
When are you going back to work?
What’s your birth plan?
What’s the gender?
Do you plan on breastfeeding?
Are you going to use drugs during delivery?
These are a small sampling of the questions that might come your way once pregnant. I found that sometimes, I do want to share my answers – and sometimes, I don’t and that’s perfectly okay.
4. When someone mentions visiting shortly after the baby is born (and you’re not ready for that)
Most grandparents, friends, and family members are undoubtedly excited for your little one to arrive and probably can’t wait to get their hands on your new baby.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to a visiting timeline; what matters most is communicating what and who you’re comfortable inviting into your space – hospital or home – after birth.
If you’re adamant on no visitors, the below statement can help communicate your feelings:
At this time, I’m not sure how I’ll be feeling after birth or what support I’ll need when we get home. I’d like to give our family a few days/weeks by ourselves, and we will be sure to reach out when we’re ready for visitors. Thank you so much for offering your support!
My final thoughts on setting boundaries during pregnancy
Do your best not to feel guilty if you don’t give everyone the same amount of access to your pregnancy. It’s perfectly okay to set boundaries on the amount of information you share and with whom.
Throughout your pregnancy, the needs and requirements of your boundaries will change, shift, and grow. Over time, you’ll get a clearer picture of what knowledge you are comfortable with openly sharing, and what you want to guard a little closer.
Learn to be okay with this, and find comfort in tuning back into your core desired feelings to keep you grounded throughout the nine months.
Above all, remember that you’ve got this, mama.