How I've Managed My Anxiety This Pregnancy

Lilies and Lambs How I've Managed My Anxiety This Pregnancy

When I sat down to write this post, I headed to my Musings tab to see what I’ve already said about my previous experience with pregnancy and postpartum anxiety. And I was shocked to find- very little. Aside from a few mentions in my 30 Week Bumbdate {here} and a few posts on Instagram, I haven’t really delved into the anxiety that riddled my first pregnancy and reared its head after Maddie was born.

So here it is:

Pregnancy Number One was no walk in the park for me. In hindsight, it was manageable, and the complications and afflictions I faced during it paled in comparison to what they could have been. But after all our struggles to conceive, I was an emotional wreck for all thirty-some weeks of my pregnancy. And every tiny scare, every hiccup, every symptom, every tingly finger made me crippled with anxiety. My mind ran rampant for weeks with all the what-ifs. All the worst-case scenarios. All the horror stories that could ensue. And it was pretty miserable- for me, sometimes for my husband- for 38 weeks.

And then Maddie came. And aside from having to be induced, and being itty bitty- she was perfect.

And then there was postpartum anxiety, which came a few weeks later and stuck around for quite some time. It didn’t take long for me to seek help- to call my therapist, and schedule a session and quickly start taking medication to help assuage these unwanted symptoms. And, thankfully, they worked- right away.

So when I, quite unexpectedly, found out I was pregnant with Baby Number Two, I was scared at first that this pregnancy would be the same- that off my medication, and faced with the what-if’s of the upcoming forty-weeks, my anxiety would again cast a burdensome cloud over such an amazing, happy time.

So I made a few promises to myself; a few rules. And I’ve stuck to them. I’ve let myself feel nerves and have the “normal” fears and thoughts one has when bringing another human into the world.

But, for the most part, I’ve found a way to experience this pregnancy with as much joy and as little anxiety as possible- for me.

Here are the 5 practices that have helped me manage my anxiety this pregnancy:

no more Googling

In my previous pregnancy I, admittedly, was a chronic Google-er. Of literally everything- every symptom, every thought, every worry- Googled. And it would send me into a tailspin. Each and every time. This time around I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t Google. And I’ve stuck to it. If I have a question or concern, I now email or call my doctor. And its truly made such a difference.

Read + WritE + WALK

This pregnancy, as with my last, I found myself somewhat restricted in terms of physical activity. As someone that normally works out as a way to manage my nerves, this was once again a challenge at first. So this time, I looked to a few different ways to clear my mind. I found that reading, writing, and going for light strolls really helped keep my mind at ease; and finding a great Podcast to listen to helped, too.

Stay BusY

Before I became pregnant with Maddie, I had taken some time off from work to focus on fertility treatments and finish up a few graduate school classes. So when I finally became pregnant, I didn’t have much of a full schedule besides a class here and there. And I had way too much time on my hands- way too much time to think and let my worries take over. This time, luckily, I’ve been busy. Busy with my four year-old, with my family, with life. When it came to this blog, there were times over the past few months when I thought about taking a break from it all- to put it on hold. But, as difficult as it was at times to create content, I believe staying focused and busy in this space has kept me from letting my mind run wild with fears. I will likely be taking some time off in the next few weeks, but I’m so grateful to have had this outlet over the last thirty-five weeks.

Say it out loud

There have been times this pregnancy where I’ve had a particular fear or worry that I just can’t shake. And typically, 9/10, they’re pretty ridiculous. But I’ve found that saying my fear out loud has helped me assess whether or not it’s something I should actually be spending my time worrying about.

Have a Little Trust

In my first pregnancy, there were times I would leave my doctors appointments and fact check everything I had heard via the internet. I would sit and ruminate on every word they said- whether or not I thought they were right; whether they missed something. But somewhere over the last few years I realized what an absolute waste of time this practice was. I chose my doctors because I believe them to be smart, experienced, knowledgeable and reputable. Am I a doctor? No, I’m not. Do I trust my doctors? Yes, I absolutely do. So why waste my time second-guessing them and causing myself so much grief. That said, I always trust my gut; and if I ever felt a need for a second opinion from a professional, I would absolutely do so. But this, thankfully, hasn’t been my experience; and reminding myself that they are professionals that I trust and chose for a reason has helped immensely.

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Here I am sharing my personal experiences and what has helped me manage my anxiety. Please consult your doctor if you are considering going on medication and/or consult a professional if you are experiencing anxiety and/or depression. xx

photo by Julia Dags