How do you cope with anxiety when you're pregnant after infertility or pregnancy loss?Feb 15, 2021
You finally saw those two lines and felt pure joy and excitement. You imagined holding your baby in your arms..... before fear stepped in and took over.
I thought pregnancy was the cure for infertility and my miscarriage grief. Turns out I was wrong.
Anyone who has ever fallen pregnant after infertility or pregnancy loss will be nodding in agreement.
We think that if we can just fall pregnant, it will release us from the sadness that consumes our every waking thought.
And yes, achieving a positive pregnancy test does. You experience that moment of joy and relief and hope. You start day dreaming about what it will be like to finally hold your baby in your arms.
And then as soon as it came, that feeling of joy is ripped away from us. Because fear and anxiety takes over. It robs us of the perfect, stress free pregnancy we've always dreamed of. And in some cases, the stress is higher than ever before - because the stakes are higher, we have more invested, and we have further to fall.
If you have struggled to fall pregnant, or have suffered from a miscarriage or early pregnancy loss, once you actually fall pregnant there is a definite shift.
And it’s one that we are never prepared for.
I receive messages all the time from women who think there is something wrong with them after they finally fall pregnant. Why can’t they be truly happy after they get what they’ve always wanted? Are they being ungrateful? Or worse, are they crazy?
In my experience both personally after my miscarriages, and from the women I coach, there is usually a week’s grace between receiving the amazing news that you’re pregnant, and when it starts to go downhill. You are happier than you have ever been before, you start to dream again, and plan and feel an intense amount of love and joy that you haven’t experienced in a really long time.
Then it hits home. The reality. The doubts. The questions. The FEAR.
Firstly, it is completely normal to be scared.
You have been through so much already. If you don’t know why you miscarried, you carry the fear because you don’t know how to prevent it. And the innocence of a normal pregnancy has been stolen from you. You know how hard it is to achieve a pregnancy and keep a pregnancy. Your perspective has changed.
Or, if you've been trying to conceive for a really long time, and this is your first pregnancy, you don't know what's coming next.
This can lead to feelings of jealousy toward others who are pregnant or announce their pregnancy. You crave the normal feelings that they experience. The joy without having to be afraid that it’s going to end in pain and suffering.
You’re angry that you have to suffer for 9 months like this. Where you over analyse every cramp, check the toilet paper every time you go to the toilet, and miss out on the magic that you and your future baby deserve.
You’re feeling guilty because others would kill to be in your position. And because you're no longer struggling to fall pregnant, you don't fit into the infertility category. Your community is no longer rallying for you, and the people you used to talk to have been left behind. And you're here, all alone, where no-one else really understands.
You may also be worried that this pregnancy may mean that you and your loved ones will forget about your previous babies that never had a chance. All of a sudden people are saying that you’re going to be a mum, and instead of feeling happy, you feel sad because in your heart, you are already a mum. And you don’t want to betray your babies that came before.
I hear you. Your feelings and your fears are completely valid. Give yourself a little grace.
So how do you still enjoy all the aspects of pregnancy without getting swallowed up by fear?
Here are some tips on how you can keep the level of anxiety and other emotions at a manageable level when you finally fall pregnant after pregnancy loss or infertility.
- Fresh air. Get outside and into nature as much as possible. It will help, I promise.
- GET OFF GOOGLE. If you're worried about something, check with your doctor. But if you keep googling every time you have a twinge, you will drive yourself crazy. Your body is completely unique to everyone else. This is your pregnancy, and comparing it to other people's symptoms is only likely to invite more fear into your journey.
- Your fears are normal. Don't ignore them. The more you ignore them, the louder they will become. Acknowledge them, and write them down. See them and be conscious of them. Are they true, or is this merely a story you're telling yourself?
- Affirmations - create some affirmations or mantra's whenever the anxiety or fear comes up. Whatever feels comfortable for you - as long as it doesn’t trigger your bullsh*t button. You need to believe what you’re saying. Try these -
I trust that my baby will know what to do / I am taking one day at a time / I am doing everything in my power to grow a healthy baby / My body is strong and capable / I trust my body and my baby to do the right thing
- If you’re feeling angry at an insensitive comment or if you see a pregnancy announcement and still get triggered, that’s ok. As soon as you feel the emotion come up, pause. Take 3 deep breaths and imagine your baby growing inside your belly. Feel love and the need to protect your baby. Then when you’re in a calmer state, perhaps before you go to bed that night, grab out your journal and write down exactly why you felt that emotion. Keep asking yourself why. Eventually you may uncover what is really bothering you. Then you can rationalise it and once again develop a counter-affirmation
- Most importantly, talk to someone about your fears and level of anxiety. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. It is important to know your audience however. Your friend who is still struggling to fall pregnant, may have a hard time supporting you.
Having a normal amount of anxiety during your pregnancy after miscarriage / pregnancy loss or after trying to conceive for so long is expected.
But you don’t have to live there or be consumed by it.
You deserve to be happy and to have a beautiful pregnancy experience.
Are you pregnant and in need of support?
On 1 March, the doors will open to a new group support program for women who are pregnant after infertility and loss. Your Pregnancy Haven is a safe space where you can share, learn and connect with others who are on their pregnancy journey.
Join us LIVE every week for group coaching and support. Hear from experts. Learn tips on how to decrease your anxiety. Chat with others, ask questions and receive support 24/7 in our private community. Participate in group challenges to keep you inspired, focused and on-track to hold you baby in your arms.
You don't have to travel this path alone.
Click the button below for more information and to join our community.
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