The Importance Of Boundaries To A High-Risk Pregnancy

Welcome back to Risky Baby Business, our Saturday series here at More Cowbell! If you’re new over here, the previous posts in this series can be found here.

Those of you who are regular readers know that the road to pregnancy wasn’t a flowery walk through the garden for me. There were shots in the belly, and worries, and mindsets to be developed.

Several posts back, I talked about:

There are an amazing number of things that pregnant women must learn in a very short time. When you add the words “high-risk” to pregnancy, the amount of things to learn doubles. Or triples.

It’s mind boggling.

I’m of the mindset that god doesn’t cull out the sissies for this high-risk stuff. He or she picks the best and most creative people. People who will find a way to MAKE the impossible work, because they want that baby more than anything.

Graphic from

Most people are pretty crappy at setting boundaries. Women with high-risk pregnancies don’t really have the option of NOT learning to do this.

They must set a 10 foot high barbed-wire barrier around the peace of their pregnancy and protect it with everything in their arsenal.

What was that? *listening* Oh, you haven’t developed “an arsenal yet?” Too bad, so sad…you’ve got a baby to protect now.

The events of the world can be worried about by everyone else. You have to worry about providing a stable environment for your baby to grow.

Remember, God’s in charge of the pregnancy; you’re in charge of your Zen.

At the baby craps table, some women will throw an Easy Eight and some will be praying for the “Oh my God, please let me ‘Pass Line.'” It doesn’t matter that some other mother gets to eat what she wants and do what you think is a crappy job.

  • If you want to survive all this high-risk business with your sanity intact, you need to focus on today with YOUR BABY.
  • You must focus on breathing and eating right and exercising.
  • You don’t need to hear the “what if” stories.
  • You don’t need to look down the road.
  • You need to breathe and focus on TODAY.

You need to set a boundary around TODAY and protect it. If you’re like I was, you also need to protect yourself for the future.

I’ll never forget the appointment I had with the periodontist very early in my pregnancy. I am a girl that has to fight for healthy gums and, believe it or not, dental health is incredibly important in pregnancy.

I was at the front desk, making my appointment for 6 months down the road, when I was hoping (but not depending) on having a new baby.

Because I was on Lovenox, I’d had to let the dentist know that I was pregnant so they could take the proper precautions. The receptionist gave me a big sunny smile and said, “Oh, the next time you come in, you’ll have the baby with you.”

I responded, “Hopefully.”

Photo from

Her face fell, and she said, “What do you mean??!”

I said, “We’re hoping to get a baby out of this in April, but I can miscarry all the way into the 3rd trimester.”

She started crying. Hard.

And suddenly I found myself comforting HER.

I walked out of that office, incredibly emotional. By the time I got home, I was hopping mad. It took a discussion with my husband to sort it all out.

I could have kept my news to myself. I could have gone through the entire pregnancy, trying to smooth everyone else’s feelings. What I knew about myself is that if I lost that baby, I needed the space to NOT TALK ABOUT IT. I needed to know there was a safe bubble available to me to deal with my loss.

I don’t really care whether I made others uncomfortable, knowing I could lose my baby at any time. I was uncomfortable every day, searching and praying for a way to GET comfortable with the idea that I could lose a child that I very much wanted.

I had to make MYSELF as comfortable as possible and, quite frankly, everyone else could just deal.

I believe this is a hard concept for anyone to grasp, but for females the idea of distressing others is typicaly very  uncomfortable. It’s important that you sit down and think about what YOU need while you navigate a pregnancy where the end game is not guaranteed.

You’re not being negative. You’re eating, you’re sleeping, you’re hoping. In short, you’re caring for your baby. There is nothing wrong with being practical and building a safe zone around your emotions while you keep your focus on the child growing inside you.

In my experience, women worry about the specifics and men (like my hubby, Mr. Disaster Recovery) tend to worry about the “Big Picture” mechanics:

  • How will we feed the baby?
  • How will we diaper the baby?
  • What will you use to swaddle the baby?
  • Who/how/what/where will care for the baby?

Moms need to be concerned about growing the baby. That’s all they need to be worried about. Moms need to think about the “brass tacks/today” sorts of things:

  • What will I eat today?
  • What vitamins/folic acid/fish oil does the baby need?
  • Am I getting enough rest?
  • Do I need more exercise?

Do you see the difference?

All the people you meet will be focused on the baby. It’s their natural inclination to place importance on the end product…which stresses a high-risk mom out. The high-risk mom doesn’t even know if she can produce  an end product!!

The most important thing that you can do for your unborn child is minimize your stress.

People can get excited later  when everything else turns out OK. Getting excited early puts pressure on the high-risk mother who just needs to live inside of TODAY, baking her baby to a healthy conclusion.

What are your thoughts? Do you think moms need to set boundaries in general? Did all of the people who focused on your baby make you nervous, or provide you with comfort? We’re definitely curious about all  these answers here at Risky Baby Business!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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19 Responses to The Importance Of Boundaries To A High-Risk Pregnancy

  1. Jenny, as you know, I married two wonderful stepchildren on the same day I married my husband.

    Yes, it took soul-searching to take mommyhood out of my life plan. But, I don’t look back with regret. I DO applaud and pray for those who struggle to achieve their dream.

    I have no stories to share. Just KUDOS for you and others on this journey. Your advice is true for MANY challenges in life. But, nothing trumps the wonder and responsibility of caring for your baby.

    Put a bubble around yourself and life stresses. And, for those stress inducers? Put those strays in your laundry basket to good use and stick a sock in ’em.


  2. This is actually something I have been thinking about all week.

    I even sent out an email to close family members and friends updating them on the facts of high risk pregnancy and what my hubby and I might be up against…if the insemination was successful. ** I sent a few of them to your post from last week – that definitely helped open some eyes – thankyou!

    Since they had been in my personal information circle during the first two pregnancy/miscarriages, I felt the deserved to know.

    Then at the end of my email, I basically told them they would no longer be in Tiffany’s moment-to- moment -personal-information-circle. “Please don’t ask if we are preggers from here on out. Hubby and I will share news when it is time to share news. ”

    That was my boundary wall. Stated in 2 sentences.

    After going through it 2 times before, blind in emotional, no energy to hold that delicate boundary up….I knew, this one had to be different.

    Thanks again for a great post, Jenny. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Tiff! I’m excited for you that you’re getting to cross hurdles and feel like you’re moving forward. In case you hadn’t guessed, I wrote this post for YOU too. 🙂

      You just keep trucking…like I said, all this craps table pregnancy stuff ain’t for sissies!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      p.s. Forward that email to me if you’re comfortable doing so – I’d love to see it.


  3. K.B. Owen says:

    Thanks for keeping it real, Jenny! Whenever I get stressed/worried/blue, I try to focus on my blessings, and on the fact that some folks are going through just as much crap – or much worse. It doesn’t always work – I’ll have a li’l ole pity party for myself anyway. Not my best moments, for sure. My hat’s off to you for handling your experience so exceptionally well!


  4. tomwisk says:

    Your blog gave me, an unable to bear chidren male, an insight into pregnancy. I am awed by women who carry a new life in them and then devote eighteen some years caring for the child. Men won’t admit it, but we would be totally spent and crying for Mommy if we had to go through the pregnancy process. Yeah, we’ll take a bullet, but carrying a child? No way.


  5. Both your wisdom and your writing ability constantly amaze me, Jenny – not to mention your grit in getting through your ordeal.


  6. Jenny —

    Brilliant blog on balancing boundaries.

    I think like a psychologist because I am one. You think like a psychologist because you’re smart, smart, smart!

    Loved this line: I had to make MYSELF as comfortable as possible and, quite frankly, everyone else could just deal.

    Perfect message: Everyone else can just deal. 🙂


  7. Wonderful advice as always, Jenny.You’re such a wonderful resource and source of encouragement. Thank you.


  8. Julie Glover says:

    My high risk was after discovering the placenta previa. Spending four weeks in the hospital, I learned to both be compliant with the doctor’s orders and to speak up for what I needed to get through the difficult time. My doctor was so fabulous in allowing me to digest information and get okay with what needed to happen. And now I have a healthy, happy 11-year-old son!


  9. Mary Metcalfe says:

    As the mother of a daughter who has just reached 8 months of a high-risk pregnancy, I wish I’d seen this wisdom months ago. My daughter is a natural boundary setter with a very healthy lifestyle but your blog helped me understand what she must have been going through socially. Thanks so much for the personal insights.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re very welcome, Mary. I think it’s extraordinairily hard on the mothers of the high-risk daughters. My mom passed away 6 years before I gave birth and I’ve always wondered how she’d do with the strain of it. I think she would have been a champ like you. 🙂


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