I was first diagnosed with anxiety sometime around 2016-2017, I honestly can’t exactly remember anymore. It was around then that I first started to go to therapy which I’ve been in ever since. Although currently I’m taking a short therapy break because of moving, I do hope to find a new therapist soon. I knew that getting and being pregnant would be a new experience for me and my anxiety to navigate, but while I could prepare for some things, there will always some scenarios that surprise.
Here are a few of the symptoms surprised and temporarily sent me into an anxiety induced panic.
Uterus growing pains: Makes sense when I think about it now, but when I first felt them I freaked out a little. Was I feeling cramps? Did that mean something was wrong? I panicked and checked for spotting before googling and realizing. This is perfectly normal.
Excess discharge: Okay I get why this one isn’t talked about really, who wants to talk about discharge? But honestly I thought something might be wrong until my pregnancy app said it was a possible symptom. Not to mention the type of discharge that’s thinner and more runny, that stuff freaked me out when it first happened. I was afraid I was leaking amniotic fluid. Good news is I wasn’t. So if you’re also pregnant and have a lot of varying vaginal discharge during your pregnancy, that’s perfectly normal. (Note I’m not a doctor so please if you have any real concerns talk to your health provider!)
General stomach/intestine discomfort: I was prepared for heartburn (though honestly not as early as first trimester) and for some constipation. What I wasn’t prepared for was the immediate cramps, discomfort, constant constipation and more soon after I eat anything. There’s so much of this going on right now. :O
And now that you all about the weird things happening to my body right now, I want to talk about some of the ways I’ve been working to calm my anxiety.
- Talking to my mom: My mother has had 11 children, is a doula in training and has researched a lot about pregnancy. If in doubt I go to her for advice.
- Talk to my partner: Nothing calms me down faster than just saying my thoughts out loud and running through scenarios with my partner. Once I say things out loud I hear which thoughts are anxiety thoughts and really need to be shut down.
- Hearing Bean’s heartbeat: I’m really grateful that I was able to borrow my sister’s home fetal doppler. Just checking in once a day to hear Bean is really calming. I’ve read some articles saying that some people can get obsessive with using this tool, and I can understand that. But for me it’s just a confirmation that this pregnancy isn’t in my head and that there really is a human inside me.
- Monitoring Bean’s movements: I’m only 18 and a half weeks along, so it’s still difficult for me to tell sometimes what’s an actual baby movement and what’s just gas. So I can’t go by the 10 movements in 2 hours rule. But I do like to spend some intentional quiet time just really paying attention and trying to guess what’s a movement. It’s fun to try and imagine what exactly baby’s doing that causes that movement. Is it a punch? Did Bean bounce off my uterus? I just like to imagine them floating around and doing all sorts of funny things.
- Journaling all of my good symptoms versus potential anxiety triggers: Journaling has been good for reminding me of how healthy I am, and how many of the ”correct” symptoms I have for how many weeks along I am. I’ve found that focusing on the positive helps to keep my anxiety thoughts a little more balanced.
That’s about all I have for now. These are just a few of the ways I’ve found to keep myself sane during this amazing but super anxiety inducing time. What are some ways you’ve combatted anxiety during pregnancy?