Anxiety Doesn’t Own Me: How I Beat Pregnancy Anxiety

Note: Today’s guest post is written by warrior mom Andrea Bates from Good Girl Gone Redneck, addressing the often overlooked issue of pregnancy and anxiety.

How I Beat Pregnancy Anxiety

When I found out I was pregnant, I was over the moon excited. Beyond thrilled. And, if I’m being honest, a little bit shocked.

As someone submerged in the mental health field, I was on the ball. I knew what to look for. I knew what could happen.

I knew about postpartum depression. I knew about maternal mental health. I knew from anxiety. I experienced it in my regular life.

Pre-motherhood. Regular. You know? The basic days of work and school, caring for pets, becoming a wife. Moving across several states. Away from friends and family.

I knew anxiety. I knew it could hit me. I was ready.

But I never knew how hard it would hit.

My experience was during pregnancy. People focus on postpartum mental health a lot. Many mamas don’t know that they can experience this during pregnancy, as well.

I’m here to tell you it happens.

Even when you’re armed with information.

Even when you think you know what you’re looking for.

You know so much, and yet—when it hits you? You’re never quite ready.

I had no idea the thoughts would come so quickly.

Would race—unstoppable—through my head.

I didn’t know my heart would pound. The tears would fall.

I didn’t know my fears would escalate.

I didn’t know I’d fear for my baby’s life for no reason.

For. No. Reason.

Nothing was wrong. Pregnant women have fears. For certain. These were beyond the “norm.” These were intense.

I rationalized with myself. I told myself the doctors would tell me if something was wrong with my baby.

I knew they would. Of course they would!

Realistically I knew that.

But it didn’t matter.

I tossed and turned in bed as my husband slept blissfully beside me.

How could he just SLEEP? Didn’t he know how terrifying this was? Wasn’t he worried about our baby?

I reached a point where it was time.

I spoke with my doctor and started medication.

I have no shame.

Medication helped me remain calm. Helped me get through pregnancy with restful nights.

Turned off those racing voices.

Prepped me for motherhood in some ways, as I truly believe that addressing my anxiety during pregnancy helped me to avoid experiencing more intense postpartum anxiety. Keeping the lines of communication with my doctors wide open ensured that I was being watched and helped right away.

I was fortunate to have this help early on. My anxiety after my daughter was born was certainly there. It shifted through stages as she grew and changed. There were days I felt it like a brick on my chest. But I made it. I found my way through. I shifted the brick. Tossed it to the side.

I confess, it still shows up every now and then. My daughter is eight. I still get anxious. I still feel moments where things are out of my hands and my mind jumps ahead. But I talk myself through it. I turn to friends. I find the support and reminders I need that things will be okay. I will be okay.

After all, look at what I’ve already survived. Look at what I’ve made it through. I’ll be fine.

 

Original image credit: mateusd.

About Christina Gleason

Christina Gleason is a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. Her company is called Phenomenal Content. She is a relatively high-functioning Aspie who also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. She's not ashamed to admit that she is in the care of a psychiatrist, who assures her that people in therapy are often better adjusted than “normal” people who are not, because at least people in therapy know what their issues are and are working on them. Christina is a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including World of Warcraft and Plants vs Zombies 2. She has an intense phone phobia, so the Internet is her preferred method of communication.

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your fight against prenatal anxiety, which I feel is so often overlooked. I decided to go off my small dose of Lexapro when I conceived, not knowing that the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy can actually exacerbate your symptoms, just like in the postpartum period. When I started my lowest dose of my medicine again at 19 weeks, it didn’t work like it did before. I panicked and spiraled into a pretty bad state. I found out that because of so many physiological changes, that your body and brain will likely need more medicine during pregnancy. No one ever warned me of this beforehand.

    So I want other mamas to:
    1. Know of this possibility and consider this when deciding if you should or should not remain on a medication like an SSRI when you conceive.
    2. Understand that if you stay on or start medicine during pregnancy that you may need a higher dose because of what you’re body is going through.

    And please know that you deserve to be happy too. I felt so guilty about the idea of taking my medicine after struggling to get pregnant. But your mental health is very important too!

    Thanks so much for talking about this important topic!

    • Stephanie – thank YOU so much for commenting. I appreciate that my post led you to open up this way and share, and that you find this an important topic. So many thanks!!

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