All your relationships will be affected in some way by the pain and immobility you are experiencing. As we said in our section on the ‘Emotional impact of PGP’, you may be experiencing many different feelings including frustration with your immobility, disappointment in your body, being frightened things won’t get better, angry about the loss of independence, feeling a lack of joy in your pregnancy, and that you are a burden to your family and friends whom you have to ask for help.
It is almost certain your partner, family members and friends who care about you are experiencing quite a lot of the same feelings. You and your loved ones may not be sharing these feelings, trying to protect one another. This can leave you all feeling more isolated and disconnected. Sharing your feelings gives you an opportunity to experience more emotional closeness and may provide opportunities for problem-solving.
Some women have said they find it difficult to talk about how they are feeling. In this situation it can be helpful to write down your feelings or write about your PGP story, how it began and how it has affected you, either to show to your partner, family or friends or to keep as a personal diary to help you process your feelings.
You may feel you are burdensome asking your family and friends for practical help or to just keep you company. Generally the opposite is true, and those around you want to be useful and assist you to cope in the very best way you can.
It is often the not knowing, trying to guess, wondering if it is all right to talk about things, which separates and disempowers women and their families and friends.
Try to be upfront about your needs; write lists of things you would like done, e.g. if a friend visits to help you, it will be easier to communicate what would be helpful and your friend will feel more comfortable and be able to get on with the tasks.
It is important that your family and friends do understand about PGP, what it is and how it affects you. Try showing them some information from our website or from our Family and Friends publication.
It is important to feel and name the emotions you may be feeling but it can be equally as important to distract yourself and take time out from the challenges you are facing.
You could be feeling emotionally disconnected from your partner, family members or friends, and sometimes something as simple as having a cup of tea with a friend or snuggling up with your partner and watching a good film can give you respite from your feelings.
If you have already had a child, your child may be upset or worried about you and may feel confused about why you are unable to do some things you have always done before. Children often cope better if they are given straightforward explanations about why mummy is not able to do things or why she seems sad.
Make sure the staff at the nursery, playgroup or school your child attends understand what is going on at home, as it may alter your child’s behaviour for a while. It can be helpful to have a plan for someone else to collect your child from school, if you are unable to do so. If this is planned in advance, and your child knows why and what is happening they will be less anxious.
You may feel distressed that you cannot play with your child in the same way, but it is important for you and your child’s emotional state to keep interacting with your child and adapting playtime so that you can still relax and have fun together (please see our Practical suggestions for ideas about adapting playtime, getting out and about).
Allowing yourself time and space can be one of the hardest things to do, but making time for yourself and your relaxation is an important tool for helping you to manage the physical and emotional symptoms of PGP.
Joining the Pelvic Partnership: you may find it helpful to receive our e-newsletter to keep up to date with information about PGP and the Pelvic Partnership. You would also have access to our on-line members’ area including articles written by healthcare professionals about the treatment and management of PGP and other women’s experiences of PGP (see our Join us page for more information).
NCT or other parent’s organisations: these can be a good way to meet other mothers and receive support.
If you are struggling to talk to your partner, family or friends or your situation seems to be having a very negative impact on your relationships, you or you and your partner may wish to seek professional counselling (please visit our Counselling page for more information).
Content reviewed and updated in 2016.