Being pregnant, especially after infertility and loss, can be hard. I know because I’ve been there. It took 6 years, multiple rounds of fertility treatment and sadly 3 losses before I finally got to bring my daughter home in 2019.
So if you’re feeling anxious - almost like you’re holding your breath until you actually have your longed for, living, breathing baby in your arms - I get it.
My experience prompted me to start a podcast, and a group on Peanut, to support other women through pregnancy after loss. So I’m here to help you - here are my top three strategies for coping with anxiety during pregnancy.
3 ways to cope with anxiety during pregnancy
1. Use positive affirmations
It is estimated we have between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, apparently 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. So, it’s no wonder we can find ourselves in a downward spiral. A clever way to counteract this is by introducing and repeating positive affirmations.
Find some time during your day to take two to three minutes to yourself. Standing, sitting or lying down, close your eyes and rest your hands on your stomach. Take three slow, deep breaths and visualise your baby growing inside you. Imagine how hard your body is working to help your little one thrive each day. Now take another deep breath and tell yourself: today, I am pregnant.
2. Let go of the guilt
Often when you’ve been trying for a baby for a while you’ve become a part of the TTC community, and formed unbreakable bonds with other women in the same boat. These friendships are key when it comes to support, but when you find yourself pregnant and your friends are still struggling, you might find yourself suffering with survivor’s guilt.
You need to take time to remind yourself that you deserve this pregnancy. Your friends believe that too, they just wish that they were there with you. It’s not your fault that infertility or baby loss happened to you, and you couldn’t have done anything to change it - for you or for your friends.
3. Find your tribe
A group of people who understand what you’re going through is exactly what you need right now. Big or small, this group will help you through this often anxiety-fuelled period and beyond. Not sure where to start? Why not head straight to the Finally Pregnant group on Peanut?
You can also sit down and have a think about the people in your current support network. Write down the people, groups, classes, and communities that make you feel understood. Then, answer the following questions:
- Do you have support that will see you through the different stages of your pregnancy and beyond?
- Do you have people to go to when you’re in need of support? Does your partner (if you have one) have support too?
- Are there any gaps in your existing support network that need filling?
This should put you in a great place to start building a supportive network of women who understand what you’re going through, and will be there throughout this anxious time in your life.
One of the main things I want you to know is that you are not alone and that your thoughts and anxieties are felt by women all over the world. I know this because I was you and I now speak with and support hundreds of other women who are finally pregnant. I truly hope using my strategies helps to keep the anxiety at bay and most importantly, that they help you enjoy lots of moments of this miraculous time!