With the hormones and stresses on the body that are caused from pregnancy, it is no wonder than anxiety can increase. Many women want to talk about some of the things that they feel anxious about but don’t for fear of being judged or for appearing to be ‘silly’.
Instead of bottling anxieties up, though, I have recently shared them with other women who have been through what I am currently going through (pregnant, dropped and waiting for baby 2) and I have been overwhelmed at how common my ‘creative’ reasons for anxiety actually are.
Having a baby is a pretty big deal. Feeling anxious about it is normal.
Here are my current top ten reasons for stressing out, feeling anxious and feeling a bit afraid. Each reason for anxiety is followed by a small dose of the kind of self-talk that is currently helping me to stress a bit less.
- I am afraid my body won’t be the way it used to be.
No it won’t be. It will be a better version of itself. It will be stronger. It will know its limits more. It will heal and it will respond to exercise slowly but it will respond.
You may not gain a super power (lightning armpits?) but, you will gain a new understanding of what your body can actually do.
- I am afraid that I have gained too much weight.
A lot of pregnancy weight can be put down to fluid retention. Drink lots of water and eat well after pregnancy and your weight will sort itself out. Exercise post pregnancy needs to be part of your day every day and you can enlist your friends for supporting you to exercise after your baby is born.
- I am afraid that I will lose my ability to control my own urine.
You can train your pelvic floor again. It is just another muscle. Three blind mice is a good nursery rhyme to use at the traffic lights to train it back into shape. (Ask me if you are interested…)
- I am afraid that I won’t love my next baby as much as my first baby.
With your first pregnancy, you were afraid that you wouldn’t love your baby as much as your partner. Love is deep and endless and vast. It is also surprising how far it can go without having to be spread thin.
- I am afraid that my first child will feel rejected when the new baby arrives.
They will struggle with change but change is a part of life and they will grow stronger because they will be supported through their feelings of insecurity. They know they are loved and you will show them.
- I am afraid that I won’t cope with more than one dependent child.
Life never throws anything at you that you can’t handle. I like this mantra. Even ‘I can’t cope’ moments are just a normal part of life. Go easy on yourself and don’t fill your plate with too much. Ration your energy if needed.
- I am afraid that the birth won’t go according to plan.
Set a loose plan so that your expectations of what everything will be like won’t be too unsettling when things deviate from the optimum outcome.
- I am afraid of the pain of labour.
Pain can be managed. Practice your breathing. You have done this before as have millions of women before you. It will be ok.
- I am afraid of how my life will change.
The first thing to accept about being a parent is that change is constant. Change can be your friend or your enemy. Make friends with it early. Humans can adapt.
- I am afraid that I smell more strongly than usual
I have to confess I added this tenth reason for anxiety just because my design for the ‘anxious pregnant woman sign’ makes it look like lightning is shooting out of the woman’s armpits. (?!)
A [very loose] link is that women can experience a heightened sense of smell so their own odours may seem to be stronger than usual. Bathe regularly and you should be ok.
–These are the things that I tell myself to help to get me through.
How about you? What were you most afraid of prior to having a baby?
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