"My mother has visited me once a month since Liv-Juli was born. Creating an emotional bond early on is really important to her." Parent: Frida Children: Liv-Juli, 2 1/2 years and Indi, 4 months
Frida is mother to Liv-Juli and Indi. She became single shortly before Indi was born, but has had help from her parents who live 600 km away and visit as often as they can.
What were your milestones during pregnancy?
"The first milestone was seeing the extra line on the pregnancy stick. That's a really cool feeling! Then came the process of preparing psychologically to become a mother. And getting used to not feeling free anymore, being confined in your body while your partner isn't. I found that really difficult. As the woman you've got to adapt to your body, while your partner is free to choose other options. That was a tough realisation. It's hard for the pregnant woman because your partner doesn't understand the different stages of pregnancy. You need quite a bit of extra support."
What were your family's milestones during the pregnancy?
"Everybody was thrilled to feel the baby kicking in my tummy, especially my mum. We talked a lot about her own pregnancy experiences and how she'd felt."
Did you make it clear to others that you were expecting a baby?
"Everybody was prepared for me having a baby. Of course it impacted on my social life. I had less energy and couldn't join in with everything I'd done before. Your focus in life changes. You leave your previous lifestyle behind and start a new, different life. Having a baby is a shock in some ways, however much you've prepared for it. Especially if you're single like I am with Indi and Liv-Juli now."
Did you sometimes feel lonely during pregnancy?
"Yes, definitely. I felt quite lonely during both my pregnancies. You feel lonely in general when you're pregnant. Friends without kids don't understand what it's like. I've had to seek out friends with children to get support and encouragement."
Did you lose your enthusiasm at any particular stage of pregnancy?
"There were tough moments, but nothing changed emotionally."
How involved were your family during the pregnancy?
"They were involved and supportive all the way through. My mother has visited me once a month since Liv-Juli was born. Creating an emotional bond early on is really important to her. My family come all the way from Östersund to visit, often enough to make sure Liv-Juli and Indi don't forget their grandparents. And if they can't come to Stockholm, I go to Östersund. It's necessary to meet in order to establish an emotional bond. And by showing she cares about my kids, mum shows she cares about me too."
Did you find it important for your family to be involved in the pregnancy?
"Very important. We've always had a very close relationship, and even more so since I got pregnant and had kids. My parents have their own relationship and emotional bond with Liv-Juli."
Did you discuss how they would be involved in the pregnancy while you were pregnant?
"No, it just happened naturally. Now our relationship is closer than ever. We meet often. They help me and take care of the kids. It's changed the way we relate to each other."
How do you help your family feel part your children's lives?
"I think it's important to let them know they are always welcome to visit. We also talk quite often on the phone. I want them to be part of my kids' life. My parents have never interfered with how I bring up the kids. They've always respected my choices. Some parents try to interfere when they visit, which I'm sure can easily lead to conflict. Actually, children quickly notice that different adults have different rules and learn to respect them. I think that's quite good."
Did you have any feelings that are hard to describe while you were pregnant?
"Yes, lots. There's a unique sort of loneliness about carrying a child. It's a very cool and special feeling that you can't describe or share. But it can also be difficult to feel trapped in your body. I felt big, heavy, ugly and unsociable, but I also experienced strong rushes of euphoria. It's an emotional roller coaster that's hard to describe, even to your nearest and dearest. I think people with children understand, although I'm sure every pregnancy experience is different."
Did you feel an emotional bond with your babies before giving birth?
"Yes, constantly, from the moment I felt the baby moving inside me and when I saw the ultrasound pictures. Before that it seemed unreal. When I started feeling there was a little personality inside me, an emotional bond formed. Liv-Juli and Indi were both very calm in the womb, and they have calm personalities now too."
When did your family establish an emotional bond with Liv-Juli and Indi?
"Not until after Liv-Juli and Indi were born really. Other people can't relate to the baby when it's in your tummy. But as soon as they met them they bonded very strongly."