Broken Record: Anxiety, On Repeat

The Anxiety Monster
[image credit]

35 weeks. Still anxious.

I have to get real here for a moment: I’m really struggling.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some peaceful spells since I last posted about feeling anxious. But the last few days, whew. Doozies.

On the one hand, I have less to be anxious about than I did just a few weeks ago. If the bambina comes now, she’ll likely be totally fine. That is amazing!

But for some reason, that’s not helping me much. I keep imagining worst-case scenarios in my head. Every time I hear of a stillbirth, it puts me in a bad place for days. Mind you, I do not seek out these stories of tragedy, but a few make their way to me all the same.

I cannot imagine losing it all this close to game time. The thought terrifies me.

An anxious mind is a scary place to be trapped in.

Does this sound dramatic? Anxiety is very dramatic. That’s one of the things I hate about it. I dislike drama queens and when I’m anxious that’s what I feel like—a big, ole drama queen.

I’m trying to work my way out of it. I started doing a visualization adapted from Julia Indichova. It goes like this: imagine your worst fear. Think of an image associated with that fear. Watch it be engulfed by fire and a then huge flood of water (how’s that for drama, eh?). After you’re satisfied that the flood and fire have obliterated your worst fear, you visualize yourself taking three steps forward. Then you imagine a successful pregnancy, a smooth labor and holding a healthy baby in your arms. Tim and I have been doing this together. So far it’s not helped much, but I’m hoping that after time and repetition, it will.

I’ve also started talking to the baby more. Today I told her about all the different seasons and what I love about each one. This really helps a lot in the moment. It reminds me that the baby is here with me now and she’s just fine. And it makes me happy to think of all the things I’ll get to watch her experience for the first time.

So I’m working on it. But the fact is that I want to hold this baby in my arms so much I ache for it. I want to know that she’s safe. I want to see proof of it with my own eyes.

And yes, I know, I’ll worry about her even after she’s here, etc. etc. But that is a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it. Baby steps, people.

So tell me. If any of you felt anxiety at the end of your pregnancy, what helped you? Or if you had a non-pregnancy-related anxiety bout, what tricks guided you through it?

And even if you have no pearls of wisdom to offer, I’d love a shout out of support. I could really use it right about now.

Until then, I’ll be taking it one day at a time…

6 thoughts on “Broken Record: Anxiety, On Repeat

  1. You know I had major pregnancy anxiety, too, and I wish I had more to say to help you. It was rough. The worst case scenarios do creep into your mind and you feel panicked and powerless, but remember that you are keeping calm for that little girl. You want her to feel relaxed, happy, and confident. I didn’t have any magic trick for avoiding the anxiety, but every time you feel it creep in, push it back with good thoughts. Good thoughts of holding your little girl, good thoughts of bringing her home for the very first time, and the overwhelming love that will grow every day. You have been through a lot to get here, and that took incredible strength, so you have it in you to power through to the finish line of this pregnancy!

  2. Hi T,

    I’m sending you lots of good love and peaceful vibes. My evenings are pretty wide open–perhaps a talk would help you get some of these feelings out, let me know if that sounds good. Love! J

  3. First, do everything you can to keep bad stories from making their way to you. If someone starts to tell one, leave the room or ask them to stop. I did a lot of reading of positive, happy birth stories. I also journaled to my baby, confident that he would read it one day. I like your idea of talking to her. Tell her about the things you are going to do together. I think that saying things out loud, over and over, does help you believe that they are true. And feel the love and support you have from near and far. We can’t wait to see a picture of you with your little one in your arms!

  4. I had very similar fears all the way up to the moment each of my babies cried their first cries after delivery. I would agree that tuning out the bad stories does help. Remember, you don’t need to hear a million birth stories in order to give birth. So maybe ask people to keep some of their personal stories to themselves pre-baby. One thing that calmed me when I was overwhelmed with everything that could possibly go wrong…women have been giving birth FOREVER. They did it without doctors, they did it without epidurals, they did it without amazing surgical techniques and NICUs and all that business. And now we have all of that at our disposal! I’ll never forget this one moment as I was giving birth to Abby. I was in between pushes and I looked up and my OB was laughing at something the resident beside her was saying. It dawned on me that they were totally and completely relaxed. They do this every day. This was no big deal to them. And I suddenly felt calm. I hope you can find some peace in all of the happy, healthy baby stories. Because those far outweigh the scary ones. They just don’t get all the attention!

  5. I wish I had the definitive answer, but unlike in the movies, “Snap put of it!” won’t work. I think your friends are very wise with their advice. And, like Jess says, remember that this has been going on for a long time, and your midwives have seen everything. You have the best care, and so will the little one. Keep reminding yourself of this. And you have the support of a loving husband and wonderful family. We are all in your corner.

  6. I had my days at the end of pregnancy and what really helped me was constantly reminding myself of how much I didn’t want to wish the time of pregnancy away. I will never know if that is my only chance to experience the beauty of the moment and my connection to my daughter and I wanted to cherish it. I too wanted to hold her soooooo bad, but I wanted to appreciate the joy of pregnancy and I reminded myself it would all be so different when she arrives.

    Most of all, i kept myself busy with very trivial and superficial things. The experience was deep enough and some days I just had to get lost in the easy stuff like folding baby clothes or researching diapers.

    I am here when and if you need it. I am glad you wrote this post- better out than in !

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