How to handle anxiety during pregnancy
You’ve been clutching that plastic stick you just peed on in anxious silence. Whether you’re watching the little window waiting for the telltale lines to appear, or you’re refusing to look, the results don’t care. That little blue cross or those parallel pink lines will manifest and a new chapter of your life starts to be written. You’re pregnant.
Every single pregnancy is different, so tips for handling the experience are only suggestions. Pick and choose what feels right for you and follow your instincts. You’ll need to trust yourself. And remember: feeling some anxiety about being pregnant is appropriate. If you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, then it’s important you tell someone; however, don’t give yourself a hard time if you’re feeling scared. This is a big undertaking for your body and mind, but you will handle it.
Be in this moment
Count to 10. Count backwards from 10. Take six deep breaths. Get yourself into child’s pose (or just curl up in a ball) and stay there as long as you need. The results of your wee-stick will seem trivial when all your thoughts come flooding in about how you will manage your pregnancy and they will definitely seem trivial once bub is in your life – so do whatever you need to do to find clarity; look at the stick again and use all your senses to notice everything you can about the moment you found out you were going to be a mama.
How to handle advice
Whether or not you keep it a secret for your first trimester, eventually people are going to know what’s up. Then you will get advice and much more information than you bargained for. Decide early what you do and don’t want to know and get yourself an exit strategy or a coping mechanism. If you’re happy to listen, nodding and smiling goes a long way. If you’d prefer to set limitations try: ‘I’m feeling a little anxious, please don’t tell me any horror stories’, or ‘I’m following the recommendations of my midwife/mum/dad/sister/brother/doctor otherwise I’ll just get too overwhelmed’. Which leads us to…
Choose one source of truth
Or two, or three – but keep the resources you consult to a minimum. The internet can be a curse to people with anxiety; why not have one book, one website and one real-life human being who you choose to consult for advice? For every idea out there, you’ll find its contradiction – stressful, right? Well, if you always consult with the same person/book/website for all your questions (you will probably have a few!) then the contradictions might be kept under control. Of course, if you feel better when you’ve exhaustively researched something and compared pros and cons, ignore this completely.
Forty weeks might sound like a long time, but it will be over faster than you can imagine. Make room for your anxiety and your excitement to live together and find ways to embrace the changes with mindfulness and self-love. Congratulations!