Finding Comfort in the Anxiety of Pregnancy
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Pregnancy is such an exciting time! But it can also be a season that brings a lot of extra worry, even to the calmest of women. Use this post to find some comfort when the anxiety of pregnancy hits.
Being pregnant is full of lots of joys, discomforts, and questions (no matter how many times you have done it!). One of the things that I have experienced, and that I know a lot of expectant mothers experience is anxiety during pregnancy.
And I am not talking about an anxiety disorder that needs to be treated by a doctor (who is much more knowledgeable on this topic than I am!). I am talking about the kind of anxiety that makes you start googling all the possible reasons for your elevated heart rate, or stressing about what is going to happen to your baby because you ate that turkey sandwich (without heating up the meat – gasp!).
Or it may even be anxiety you experience because you have been through a pregnancy before that ended in loss. If that is you – I highly encourage you to read my post on what to do after experiencing pregnancy loss, as I have been there too.
I have a friend who watched her sister go through a pretty strenuous pregnancy and then watched me go through my first pregnancy that ended in loss at 21 weeks. When she and her first husband got pregnant a couple of years later, I recall her telling me how worried she was that something might happen to her unborn baby and it was keeping her from enjoying being pregnant.
And I can totally understand that. Sometimes we see so many hard or difficult things that it keeps us from focusing on all of the wonderful and perfect things.
My friend and I talked about all of the ways to focus on the positive things about her pregnancy and other ideas to cast out that anxiety and fear and we both left the conversation feeling much better about all the things. She now has a perfect and adorable little girl.
But this affects more women than just my friend. I hear this come up in conversations pretty consistently and I wanted to offer up my strategies with coping with anxiety in pregnancy in hopes that it would help that mom who found herself in a Google rabbit hole after seeing a negative statistic or feeling a strange pregnancy symptom.
HOW TO COPE WITH ANXIETY IN PREGNANCY
Make a Gratitude List
One of the best things I have found to do is to start by keeping a running list of things that you are grateful. Add three things each day.
These can be super small things too like – “Felt the baby kick” or “Didn’t have morning sickness today”. Just anything that makes you smile.
Go back to this list when you start feeling the worry or doubt creep in. It is hard to get sucked into a negative spiral when you are surrounding yourself with reminders of your blessings.
If you need more tips on creating a Gratitude Journal, read this.
Check the Right Statistics
There is TONS of information out there and a lot of it isn’t correct. Be sure that when you do search the internet for information, that you are getting it from a correct source.
Recently, someone in a “Spinning Moms” facebook group I am in shared about her stress due to worry about miscarrying her baby during her first trimester. Another wise woman shared this site with her, Misscariage Odds Reassurer.
Yes, miscarriages do happen and it is awful and hard to deal with. But even though you likely know someone who has suffered a miscarriage or have even experienced that tragedy first hand, – miscarriage isn’t the norm. Not even close.
Statistically, you are MUCH more likely to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy than you are to have a miscarriage.
So put that worry out of your head!
Think of every person that you know or that you have ever met.
Do you have that number in your head?
This website estimates that the average person will meet or interact with 80,000 people in their lifetime (78.3 years).
And do you know how all of those 80,000 people came to live on this Earth?
Each one of them came through a pregnancy just like the one you are experiencing now.
Isn’t that so cool to think about that? Every person that you know had a mom who carried them through pregnancy and delivered them into this world. Just thinking about that always gives me more hope when I start to feel anxiety creeping in.
Talk to Your Doctor
I currently have my OB’s office on speed dial – and there is nothing crazy about that. Because my OB knows way more about my pregnancy than Google does. Or even WebMD.
It is so easy to spiral out of control when you try to search for answers on the internet.
During my second pregnancy, at around 34 weeks, I developed a rash that would show up in the evenings and was super itchy. Not wanting to be a bother to the on-call nurse that evening, I decided I would do the diagnosis on my own and started a little search on the internet.
Before I knew it, I was crying in front of my husband because I had found ONE article that said that an itchy rash late in pregnancy meant that something had gone terribly wrong with the baby and she was likely dead.
As a reasonable man, he encouraged me to call the doctor. As I was talking to the nurse over the phone and retelling her how I came to know that my pregnancy was in a disastrous state because of this article I found while Googling, I realized that I may have let my anxiety get out of hand too quickly. There is nothing like telling someone with a Medical Degree that you have concerns “because this thing I saw when I googled” to bring you down a couple notches.
And the great thing about those doctors and nurses is that they are not phased by the hysterical pregnant women on the other end of the phone. They aren’t going to treat you like you are silly for being concerned or even make you feel crazy for googling your symptoms. They are going to give you the best information possible because they know you and they know your pregnancy.
Get A Recording of Your Babies Heartbeat
A friend of mine suggested this to me when I was struggling with anxiety during my second pregnancy. The wait between doctors appointments was excruciating. I just wanted to hear our daughter’s heartbeat or feel her kick all the time to make sure she was ok.
And while you can get a Dopler Fetal Monitor for your home, I don’t know if that is the best idea unless you know how to use it. Because trying to find your little peanut’s heartbeat without any guidance could lead to more stress.
So my friend had suggested that I take out my phone during my next appointment and record the baby’s heartbeat when the nurse checked it. My nurse thought that was a great idea and even spoke a little bit about being to tell that the baby was moving around while they checked her.
The next time I was feeling anxious about not knowing if my baby was ok, I pulled out that recording and was reminded that even though I couldn’t hear it, our little girl’s heart was pumping in my growing belly.
Ultimately, the best thing I can tell you to do is to pray. There is something so comforting knowing that the Creator of the Universe, and the Creator of that baby you are carrying, is listening to your fears and helping you to cast them aside.
While I think that pretty much anything that we do is going to be done better when we lean on God, but especially things like pregnancy. Bringing another human into the world is honestly a mind-blowing process and truly one that you don’t have complete control over. Yes, you can control how well you eat, and if you take the time to workout during your pregnancy, but you have no control over how that baby grows and how your body reacts to all of the changes that pregnancy brings.
But God does have control. And he wants what is best for you and that baby.
Yes, there are still bad things that happen, and that is a topic that I do not have all the answers to. But as someone who is on my third pregnancy and only has one child running around the house, I can tell you that I still believe that God loves me and wants to prosper me, even if I don’t understand the paths I am taking to get there.
So when worry creeps in, pray. Pray that God would help you to focus on the blessing you have been given in carrying that baby and that you would be able to find the joy in this season.
And above all else, stop googling.
Praying for you and your pregnancy! If you think this post would be helpful for someone you know, please share it with them or share it on Pinterest so that it may help someone else kick out the anxiety in their pregnancy!