Some thoughts on pregnancy and anxiety

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Pregnancy and anxiety

Last week, I was sitting round a table with a group of fellow mums-to-be, relieved to hear that I’m not alone in the thoughts that have been running through my head these past few months of pregnancy. Is the baby still there? Is the baby okay? And how oh how do you get past worrying about cot death?

I’m prone to anxiety and catastrophic thinking – prolonged and I’m-way-to-young-to-deal-with-this stress during my teens has left its mark, but I’d say I’m on top of that in day-to-day life. I may instantly jump to tragic conclusions if someone is just 15 minutes late, but I can watch those thoughts and not let them rule the roost. The same has been true in pregnancy. I’m hyper aware of pre- and post-natal anxiety, so I watch myself for the signs. My midwife knows my past, and, like me, she’s currently not too concerned. It’s just something to keep one eye on.

Of course, knowing where to draw the line is tricky. When does a reasonable worry become anxiety? Pregnancy is naturally riddled with concerns. There’s the first 12 weeks when miscarriage is a fear, then the first round of anomaly tests, followed by a long wait for the 20-week scan where a sonographer works their way through a nerve-wracking checklist of vital signs – five fingers, a stomach, four chambers in the heart… I think it’d be unusual not to have nerves.

Pregnancy and anxiety

And then there’s the rest of it – the cost, the mind-bending change that’s blooming into your life, and its implication on relationships, dreams and habits. And that’s not to mention learning how to look after a newborn. Having a baby is life-altering, and change, while deeply exciting, also comes with questions.

So far, those questions aren’t making me anxious to a concerning degree. I worry about the baby’s wellbeing and I wonder about how my life will change. But I don’t have the crippling thoughts that characterise anxiety. If something bothers me – a pain, a worry, a fear – I speak to Steve, call the midwife, see the doctor, or sometimes just wait it out and let it pass – because those worries do pass and they don’t impede my life, and that’s why, for now, I know I’m okay.   

Because while pregnancy has its worries, for me this is also a time filled with joy: the pure awe of knowing a life is forming inside me, the thrill of feeling the baby move, and the endless dreams and hopes and wonders about what this little human’s life will be. The journey to get here was hard and I feel lucky every day.

So I’m watching the road with interest – worries rise and worries pass, on some days they feast on my nerves, on others they stay far away. I’m not a picture-perfect earth mother, at ease with every step, but, for now, I think having anxiety is one less thing to worry about.

Pregnancy and anxiety

How did you deal with the worries of pregnancy? Have you experienced pre- or post natal anxiety? A fellow blogger, Frankie, wrote a powerful blog about her own experiences with it, which I recommend people read. It’s important these things are talked about and recognised if they arise.

7 thoughts on “Some thoughts on pregnancy and anxiety”

  1. I remember this heady mix of excitement and anxiety so vividly. My stomach would churn before the check-ups desperate to see my boy but also worried there was a problem, and all those late night wake ups would be full of horrid what-ifs. I think being pregnant with or awaiting your first child in any form is the hugest leap of faith out there – so many unknowns… But you are doing the absolute right thing in talking about this and also allowing worries time to pass too. The one thing I didn’t mention in any of my writing about my experience of postnatal depression and anxiety is that while it was the hardest time in my life it wasn’t the worst, if that makes sense. As with the mix of feelings while pregnant, I also experienced a lot of happiness and joy – the two are not mutually exclusive. I’m not sure if that helps soothe some of your worries but felt it worth mentioning because all of these challenges and struggles are very special ones… Again I hope that makes sense! Lots of love and thank you for sharing my post too Xx

  2. This post resonates so much with me. I’m currently pregnant with my second (I’m about 23 weeks along), and I can already feel my senses heightening. I’m definitely on high alert and generally more anxious than usual (which is still pretty anxious.) 🙂 What has helped me in the past (and what I’m trying to do now!) is reminding myself this is a temporary phase and that hormones will shift again when the baby gets here. I’m also trying to eat a healthy diet that will help my mood. Easier said than done, but baby steps, right? 🙂

  3. wish you all the best! I’m due very soon:) the first trimester was the worrying period for me, but once you can feel the kicks of the baby it’s so different:) you know he/she is fine, playing around in your belly:) naturally, I have some fears concerning the birth but I try not to think too much about it. I try to focus as much as I can on the image of my baby boy finally in my arms:) it wasn’t an easy journey for use either to get pregnant so…

  4. I had all the same feels when I was pregnant last year. Your concerns and worries are of course totally valid, but rare. I had to remind myself that while there were so many “could happens”, the likelihood was small. I had to guard what I read and what I heard — stories about SIDs or still births would do me in so I had to make an effort to avoid hearing about them as much as I could and trust that God would keep my baby safe. I’d pray words of protection over him and it would help be trust that he was fine and was safe and sound in my cozy womb.

  5. I’m sure you are not alone in feeling like this – you are doing a big thing bringing life into the world! Bet you will be a lovely mum though 🙂 Best of luck with it all.

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