How I’m dealing with my pregnancy anxiety
Falling pregnant comes with a lot excitement for first-time parents, but there’s an understandable amount of nerves that come into play too. This is the case for 34-year-old GIULIA CALPARI, who is currently pregnant with her firstborn. Here’s how she’s dealing with her anxieties.
I’m a pretty anxious person in general. There are certain activities and encounters I’ll have throughout the day that heighten feelings of anxiety. It can be small things like getting on a packed train with too many layers of clothing on, or larger things like driving on a freeway in horrible weather. It can be thoughts I have, a cue of some description, like a news report prompting anxious feelings around the safety of the child I’m about to bring into the world.
I’m almost 22 weeks pregnant with my first child. When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately felt a mixture of excitement about what’s to come, and a little bit of uncertainty around the unknown. My anxiety hasn’t escalated during the pregnancy as such, there are just new things for me to be anxious about. My energy and sleep levels alerted me to the mixed emotions I’ve been feeling. I knew I need to try something different to manage these feelings properly.
My emotions vary on an average day. Sometimes feelings of anxiety don’t even enter my thoughts. Other days, though, someone will recap their own birthing experience and my mind goes racing. I say to myself, ‘Is it just me or is it really hot in here?’ It’s thinking about what’s to come that stirs up all the emotions.
There are a lot of anxieties that come with pregnancy. Too much stress on the body, miscarriage, getting to the hospital on time, labour pains, birth defects, concerns with breastfeeding when the time comes, losing the pregnancy weight post-birth. At some point in the past 22 weeks, I’ve experienced anxiety about all of the above, but just in little bursts.
There are some activities I’ve started enjoying less. I don’t leave the house as often as I did pre-pregnancy. I’ve enjoyed going out less, especially as I love a gin and soda, which I obviously can’t currently have. I haven’t been exercising as much as I used to as well. This has probably had an impact on my energy levels; exercise was a go-to activity for me when I needed some ‘me time’.
My doctor encouraged me to try mindfulness. And to use available psychology services, too. I conducted my own research into management techniques to determine what would suit me. Practising mindfulness has definitely been the best method in helping me manage my anxieties.
Having a bit of humour about the situation also helps. It’s important to be really open and honest about things and have a bit of a laugh – laughter is definitely the best medicine. Talking to others who have gone through pregnancy, birth and motherhood has helped to settle my emotions. Hearing stories from those who have gone through what I’m currently experiencing is reassuring.
The mindfulness practice is going to be ongoing. It’s definitely an anxiety management technique I’ll continue after the birth of my baby. Currently, I listen to meditation music when I’m feeling a little off, and sometimes I’ll also listen before bed to help me relax for a better night’s sleep. I also try and dedicate three minutes every morning to meditating, which helps to set my mood for the day.
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