Even if you are generally confident and self-assured, pregnancy anxiety can be debilitating. For many women, including successful professional women, pregnancy can bring with it feelings of anxiety that they are ill prepared for.
It is not uncommon for your pregnancy to stir up delight, anxiety, exhilaration and exhaustion — sometimes all at once. Even if you’re thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life. It’s perfectly normal to experience some anxiety when you are pregnant. When pregnancy anxiety becomes severe or intense, consult your physician or psychologist for support.
The anxiety that accompanies pregnancy can come in all shapes and sizes. Some concerns might center on very practical questions. When will you be able to return to work? When are you going to find the time to re-arrange your apartment? Some are much more emotional and abstract. Will I be a good mother? Am I still going to be the same person I am now? Am I still the same person now as I used to be? Most difficult of all to cope with are uncontrollable anxious thoughts about your own mortality, and the health and well-being of your baby
Where does pregnancy anxiety come from?
Part of the reason you feel different during pregnancy is because you are different. Carrying and growing another human being inside you puts immense stresses on the body. The balance of chemicals on your brain that control mood is not what is is under normal circumstances. Simply pretending that your emotional needs are unchanged by pregnancy makes no more sense than pretending your dietary needs are.
For some expectant mothers, pregnancy releases feelings and thoughts about past experiences that they may have kept a lid on before getting pregnant. Your partner, family, colleagues, and friends are all treating you differently and may be expecting you to act and feel differently. The cumulative effect of so many new experiences can be to make you feel insecure about your identity and make life seem newly uncertain.
Talking about anxiety
For some people, bottling up worries is the default response to anxiety. This can be particularly true of pregnant women, who are experiencing feelings they are not used to and which they hope will just go away. Suppressing your feelings is not the way to deal with pregnancy anxiety.
Ideally, pregnancy should be a time of joy and hope. Losing that period to anxiety means starting motherhood with a handicap. A happy pregnancy will place you in the right state of mind to start bonding with your baby from day one. There is also evidence that freeing yourself from feelings of stress and worry helps in utero development.
Therapy can help you deal with pregnancy anxiety. Through discussion, you can separate rational concerns from irrational anxiety, and you can focus on those concerns that you can address with practical actions. More fundamentally, you can also learn about who you, as a mother-to-be, truly are and wants to be. Instead of being an unwelcome means to an end, your pregnancy can become a stepping stone to a more happy and fulfilled life. If you are experiencing severe or intense pregnancy anxiety, reach out today.
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