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15 Things To Remember When Your Loved One Is Pregnant

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15 Things To Remember When Your Loved One Is Pregnant

Very few things in life hold such a profound significance and bring on such big changes as going through pregnancy. It not only affects the woman and her partner, but all the people in their lives. It’s true that the an expecting mother has a certain glow about her, but the miracle of life comes with a long list of side-effects that you have to have to keep in mind if a loved one is pregnant. It can be someone challenging at times to stay on a pregnant woman’s good side, so it is important to remember a few things about women who are carrying a child.

1. They can develop a powerful nesting instinct

Some women can develop a strong urge to clean up and decorate their home for the newborn, particularly during the first trimester. It’s only logical that some changes have to be made to accommodate another member of the family, but don’t be surprised if most of a pregnant woman’s day consists of looking for baby stuff, talking about baby stuff, rearranging furniture, shopping for furniture and paint and so on. It’s best to just play along and offer a helping hand, but stay out of her way when it comes to big interior decoration decisions.

2. They can also become incredibly lazy and expect plenty of help

While there might be a strong nesting instinct in one group of pregnant women, others will start to get increasingly lazier. You will be expected, if not outright asked, to help out with the chores, which usually means doing the lion’s share of the work. With some luck you’ll probably be able to avoid big problems around the house, e.g. parts of it rotting away, and a few DIY home maintenance tips can help you keep things relatively tidy – don’t expect to be able to keep the home spotless, and don’t moan about her not helping.

3. They will get annoyed if you get overprotective

Here’s the kicker, pregnant women are quite the paradox, and depending on the woman things can go a few different ways. Some may expect help and not really be up to any type of physical work, while some will want to do some chores and stay active, but in most cases they won’t appreciate you treating them like a small child. If you become overprotective and just want them to sit around all day, lest they strain themselves from pouring a glass of water, you will get the full brunt of their pregnant rage (a phenomenon that has its own separate entry on this list). Lend a helping hand when needed, but don’t be overprotective.

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4. They get incredibly absent-minded

To picture how foggy a pregnant mind can get at times, imagine going to school or work after only 4-5 hours of sleep at night for a couple of consecutive days. If you have been there, you know how sluggish your brain can get, and how going from room to room is a sure way to forget what you needed or misplace something that you were carrying. A pregnant woman can get fairly absent-minded, so don’t expect her to tell you where she left the keys, and be sure to check if the oven is off if she was cooking in the kitchen.

5. They go from happy to boiling with rage to sad within minutes

Mood swings during pregnancy are a real thing, and a big, tearful, messy heap of a real thing at that. She will be just sitting there, watching her favorite show one minute, then before you know it she is crying – it might be a particularly emotional scene her hormones reacting to, or she may have seen a sad puppy in a commercial. Brace yourself, keep calm and weather the storm.

6. They will often stop mid-sentence and run off to the bathroom

You may not even get to hear her sad puppy story, because, statistically speaking, she needs to pee right now. No seriously, hold that thought, she’s already out the door and running down the hall. As the pregnancy progresses and the baby gets larger, it starts to press on her bladder and she will be cutting you off mid-sentence to go to the bathroom – every hour on the hour, like clockwork.

7. They can transfer their weird eating habits onto you

Everyone knows that pregnant women can get some very weird cravings and that they need to eat for two. It’s only natural, as the mommy and baby need a wide range of nutrients and plenty of calories. You know who doesn’t need all those extra calories? You. In a lot of cases a pregnant woman’s appetite can become contagious, affecting all those who spend a lot of time with her. It’s easy to start munching on some of the snacks that are always lying around, so be careful if you don’t want to put on a few extra pounds yourself.

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8. They don’t appreciate you being Captain Obvious and mentioning their size

I don’t know what it is with people, but someone always has to point out weight and size changes to a loved one who is pregnant. While a life partner commenting on the impressive size of her breasts is usually well-received, flat out saying something like: “Wow, look at how big you’ve got” or “Who says white girls don’t have booty, look at that thing” is frowned upon by the childbearing community – and by frowned upon I mean “you will get hurt if you don’t move out of the way of incoming projectiles fast enough”.

9. They instantly win any argument and that’s OK

Too tired from work to go get a tub of ice cream, Pringles and a burrito? She’s carrying your child, you insensitive bastard! Can’t help your pregnant sister by massaging her feet? Wow, I guess she can just spend the rest of the day in pain because her little sister is too busy texting – wait till the rest of the family hear about this. Why would you say that Twilight sucks? You know you shouldn’t upset a pregnant woman, what with her hormones raging and all. What’s wrong with you? You see, at some point every pregnant woman is going to abuse her total immunity to losing arguments, but it’s just something that you’ll have to get used to.

10. They won’t be able to fit into their shoes so expect to give foot massages

The foot massage comment in the last paragraph wasn’t just random – during pregnancy, a woman will gain some fat, but she will also hold a whole lot of water weight, and her blood can have trouble getting back to the heart effectively because the uterus is pressing on certain veins. This means that her ankles and feet will swell up, and some of the things she can do to combat the swelling is to stay of her feet, elevate them above heart level and massage them. So, get ready for some serious massaging.

11. They will lash out at you for the tiniest of things

We’ve already gone through the mood swings in a previous paragraph, but it is important to stress just how irritable and aggressive pregnant women can get. Oh, the hate, the unbridled anger that a sock left on the floor can cause. Have you mispronounced a word, or maybe you were talking too loudly or mumbling unintelligibly, or, heaven forbid, left a bottle of soda open? Well, be prepared for a long lecture or some screaming, because here comes the rage. It’s best to stay calm and relaxed, politely tell her that she is getting incredibly worked up over nothing and proceed to evacuate the area – say you’re going for ice cream and take your time.

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12. They become bored sitting around the house and need company

While the best way to avoid trouble is simply not being there, you can’t use that tactic all the time. You’ll need to help her out around the house, but more importantly, she will need someone to talk to and someone that she can have fun with. There’s not a lot of fun and exciting activities a woman can do in the later stages of pregnancy – she can’t exactly go running, have a few drinks with friends or dance the night away – so it’s up to the people who love her and care about her to provide some fun for her. If she wants to talk about babies for an hour, then so be it. Speaking of which.

13. They will do tons of research and keep talking about baby stuff

New mothers want to know all they can about pregnancy, childbirth, childcare and all sorts of baby-related stuff, and the internet allows them to do tons and tons of research on the subject. As with anyone who starts delving deeper into a subject and spending a few hours a day learning about it in detail, pregnant women will talk endlessly about baby stuff. They will manage to turn any conversation into a baby conversation within a few sentences. Go ahead, try talking to them about anything that comes to mind and time how much it takes for them to start the baby talk. Get in a few sentences on the topic you enjoy while you can, and then strap on because you’re in for a long ride.

14. They don’t like hearing pregnancy and parenting horror stories

Pregnant women are not the only ones who like to talk about children. Couples with kids love giving out advice to new parents, which can be quite helpful and is usually appreciated, but more often than not the conversation goes south and they end up talking about things like not getting any sleep, difficulties during labor and all kinds of negative things. Sure, they’re just venting a bit of frustration or trying to prepare the new mother, but she doesn’t want to hear about that kind of stuff. People with horror stories about doctors messing up or similar things they’ve read online should just keep their mouths shut.

15. They are extremely self-conscious and need some reassurance

Not being a jerk and making sure not to point a finger and call a pregnant woman fat is just common sense, but it’s not enough. You have to make an effort to make them feel comfortable, appreciated and beautiful, as they will become self-conscious and all those hormones won’t really help them deal with the physical changes quite so calmly. Once again, there is no need to be overprotective – just keep it straightforward and give them some reassurance.

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It may seem like a loved one who is pregnant is a minefield that should be carefully navigated, but there’s a reason for all this. With all the changes happening so quickly and hormones raging, she will need some help, patience and understanding from her family, but there will be some great moments, and seeing her with that motherly glow can be enough of a reward in itself.

Featured photo credit: Pregnant woman sitting on a bench. on background the children play. warm weather via shutterstock.com

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Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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