How to stay emotionally healthy while pregnant : Life Kit Pregnancy is hard work – for the body, mind and soul. There are seemingly endless resources for all the physical and logistical aspects of pregnancy but far fewer for renegotiating your sense of self. Life Kit spoke with author and journalist Chelsea Conaboy about how pregnancy impacts the brain and how to embrace the changes that parenthood brings.

Pregnant? Here's how to deal with the new you

Pregnant? Here's how to deal with the new you

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Pregnancy is hard work – for the body, mind and soul.

Life Kit spoke with author and journalist Chelsea Conaboy about how pregnancy impacts the brain and how to embrace the changes that parenthood brings.

Since I got pregnant, so many little pieces that made me, me, have had to change or have fallen away entirely. (LA Johnson/NPR)
They're sacrifices I'm willing to make, but the loss has been acute — and has left a hole with big gnawing questions, like ... WHO AM I? (LA Johnson/NPR)
Will I ever get these pieces back? The Lover, The Adventurer, The Entrepreneur, The Free Spirit, The Best Friend, The Boss. (LA Johnson/NPR)
This all got me thinking — why am I thinking and feeling so much? (LA Johnson/NPR)
"All of those dramatic changes that happen to our hormones during pregnancy are priming the brain to be more plastic, more malleable, more changeable — to be ready to receive our babies." — Chelsea Conaboy, health journalist and author of the book Mother (LA Johnson/NPR)
Your mind is remolding itself for parenthood. "This is not a neurodegenerative stage of life. This is an adaptive one." — Conaboy (LA Johnson/NPR)
Research suggests the parental brain has heightened social cognition. "Our ability to read and respond to another person's mental state is essentially strengthened." — Conaboy (LA Johnson/NPR)
Experts also say the brain changes from pregnancy to parenthood are comparable in scope to adolescence, so try to give yourself a break. "Psychological distress is an inherent part of this transition to parenthood. The thing that shouldn't be is suffering." — Conaboy (LA Johnson/NPR)
LA Johnson/NPR
The hard truth is things won&#039;t ever go back to what they were. But it&#039;s important to internalize the sense that this is a period that you&#039;ll never get back again. (LA Johnson/NPR)
LA Johnson/NPR
And all those other pieces of you? They're all still a part of you — different hues of yourself that you can still tap into to make the portrait of this new stage of life brighter, richer and uniquely yours. (LA Johnson/NPR)

This comic was illustrated by LA Johnson based on the Life Kit podcast episode reported and hosted by Andee Tagle, produced by Clare Marie Schneider and edited by Meghan Keane.

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