How to Deal With Pregnancy Anxiety
I am now 23+ weeks pregnant, and since day 1, I’ve been extremely anxious about it all. It grew to the point where I would get actual pregnancy anxiety attacks. It started with “what if I’m not really pregnant?”, moved into “what if these pains mean ectopic pregnancy” and “what if the heart isn’t beating”, and recently, despite all the perfect test results, moved into “oh what if something is seriously wrong?”
I was always anxious, but pregnancy made it so much worse. And I figured I’m either going to be constantly on edge and exhausted, or I’m going to do something about it.
Here is an in-depth guide on beating anxiety, along with exercises and printables.
How to Ease Pregnancy Anxiety
I found two things to be hugely helpful: REBT, and practicing the law of attraction and manifesting.
Self-Help REBT Books for (Pregnancy) Anxiety
I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, plus two more years of psychotherapy education in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. And let me tell you, it’s been a huge help when it comes to getting my own life in order. I am currently reading a self-help book by Albert Ellis, the founder of REBT, called How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You. It’s filled with examples and light-hearted ways to show you that anxiety can be replaced with worry.
What’s the difference, you may ask? Well, while pregnancy can lead to extreme anxiety, making you obsess over something, giving youthat knot in your gut, heart palpitations, sweating, and stopping you from thinking rationally, worry does the opposite. Worry or concern help you figure out what’s real and what isn’t, and what you can do about it. However, they don’t let fear control your life.
To get from one to the other, you need to identify the irrational, scary thought you’re led by. But be warned, it’s often at the very verge of consciousness. I get severe pregnancy anxiety about something going wrong, but mostly about others’ opinion of me afterward. One of my irrational beliefs is is “If something is wrong with our baby, my husband will hate me“. The book then helps you dispute such thoughts until you get to something more rational – “If something is wrong, we’ll both be sad and hurt, but it will be no one’s fault and he’ll likely be able to see that.” Once you get there, you start disputing the catastrophizing part, namely “There is something wrong”, because why would there be?
REBT has helped me so much throughout my early 20s. It keeps helping me even now that I get pregnancy anxiety despite expecting a perfectly healthy baby. And because I’ve been studying, training, and practicing it (6 years of professional education, woot!), I know how it works. I haven’t worked with clients in a while, but I recently began offering free REBT sessions for cases of pregnancy anxiety, because why not help someone if I can?
After December 2022, you can still book a regular coaching session.
Law of Attraction & Mindfulness
I used to not buy this whole thing one bit. Then I realized how many things I wrote about, with deep desire, actually came to be, so I thought – why not try it? At the beginning of 2021, I downloaded this vision board app, started writing down gratitudes and affirmations, and in less than a month, I manifested myself a very nice raise. Then I manifested a skiing trip that wasn’t very likely to happen for a multitude of reasons. And this summer, I manifested a trip to Denmark, in the midst of a pandemic!
And now that I’ve been feeling so down, so anxious, I got back into the habit, because I truly believe that if you’re clear on what you want – you’ll get it. One important thing is to not let fear into your life, as thoughts become our reality. You can write pregnancy anxiety affirmations all you want. But if you don’t believe that’s what’s coming and still let your anxiety rule you… It won’t amount to much.
I start my day by listening to this great podcast, Law of Attraction Changed My Life, I changed my mobile and PC wallpaper to what I want to manifest (Pinterest is such a great source of all sorts of images and affirmations), I try to meditate and repeat the affirmations I have in my app, I also write a new one (almost) every day in my physical diary… With the help of some mindfulness apps, after focusing on that instead of obsessing over my anxieties, I noticed it’s helped me feel so much more positive and calm.
If you’re still feeling anxious, Talkspace will connect you to the right person who’ll be able to help you through your anxiety. By using the code SPACE, you’re getting $100 off your first month.
Whatever you find helpful: talking to friends who have been through the same thing therapeutic, actual therapy, manifesting…The important thing is finding any sort of outlet for your anxiety. Pregnancy should be the time we enjoy ourselves, not dread the next day, appointment, or giving birth.
Stay strong, mommas, and do share how you deal with anxiety during pregnancy – it may help someone else.