How to Cope With Anxiety in Pregnancy
Anxiety During Pregnancy and How to Handle It
Never did I think after a relatively straightforward pregnancy first time around, would I experience anxiety during my second one. I was not aware that the experience of having a pre term baby affected me at all, until I hit the second trimester in this subsequent pregnancy.
Although Oliver was relatively healthy from being premature, his arrival was so out of the blue. I was experiencing normal Braxton hicks with no regular contractions and my waters broke prematurely (PPROM) like Niagara Falls at 35 weeks. Within 5 hours of this happening, he was here and motherhood began.
After a week in hospital we arrived home, this time should have been such a special, unfortunately it wasn’t. Oliver came home spending all of his days and nights screaming. Nothing we did would settle him and it was just soul destroying. It turned out that he had an undiagnosed bowel condition, reflux and later we discovered these were both related to Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy.
In the grand scheme of things, he was healthy but for those of you who have been through similar or maybe you are going through it now, having such an unhappy baby really does affect your mental health, your relationship and your experience of parenting.
As I sit here today 35+1 weeks pregnant, the fact our baby could arrive now or go full term has me completely on edge. For me, our due date is 35+2 (when Oliver arrived) and anytime in between I just wait expecting Niagara Falls to happen. Equally, knowing that Oliver’s allergies maybe genetic, I am fearful we will have the same rocky journey as before.
However, my anxiety has significantly decreased since investing time and energy into my emotional wellbeing and self-care. So, here are my 5 tips on how to cope with anxiety in the third trimester, whether you have had an early baby, or a tricky start or neither.
Family and Friends
This was a big one for me, from suffering with Post Natal Depression after having Oliver, I isolated myself from most of my support network. I like to be the one who keeps it together, but this pregnancy has made me realise that sharing how you truly feel with your nearest and dearest is a huge strength rather than a weakness.
Previously, I told myself that my friends would judge me for not being able to cope with something so “simple” as motherhood. Since confiding in my friends and family this time, they have been my rock supporting me every step of the way. No matter how small or big your support network is, I urge you to speak to one friend or family member about how you are feeling. A problem shared, is a problem halved.
I did everything I could to hide how I was feeling after having Oliver to all health care professionals. Mainly because I needed them to take me seriously about Oliver’s health. I knew that if I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, that it would be too easy for them to pin my concerns about his health on my own emotional health.
The upside to this was I was listened to and Oliver remained under paediatric care at the hospital until he was 10 months old. The downside was no one knew how I felt behind closed doors. Whilst I pretended I was okay, this meant I received no professional support which I believe prolonged my emotional health difficulties. It wasn’t until Oliver was a year old and after our own life changing results with Sleep Coaching that I started to feel like me again.
Whereas this time, I have been bold and told the midwife honestly how I have felt throughout this pregnancy. I’m so glad I have because I have had extra midwife and consultant appointments and will receive extra maternity support once our baby is born. I have also been referred to our local NHS wellbeing service which will provide me with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Time for You
More than ever, having time outside of being a mum, wife and business owner has made me feel so much better. I think remembering who you are is so important for your emotional wellbeing. Take the time to get up before your children, go for a walk, do some reading, try meditation and practice being grateful. Even if sometimes you don’t feel like it, make time to see your friends and have a giggle. Smiling and laughing is so powerful, when you feel like you are being overrun by parenting or pregnancy anxiety.
For those that know me, I am a natural planner and organiser. However, the one thing I cannot control is when this baby will arrive, whether it be today or at 42 weeks! However, by planning the things I can control, this has given me a sense of calm and reassurance.
For example, making sure my hospital bags were packed by 33 weeks, having a plan if this baby also has reflux or allergies, hiring help for those tasks we can delegate during the early days and even going as far as creating a Sleepless Survival Plan for our own unborn baby. Trust me, when you have had a sleep thief previously, you will do anything to lay the best foundations for sleep from day one.
Being ignorant during my first pregnancy, I didn’t even consider hypnobirthing. I thought because I practice meditation most days, I wouldn’t need it. Although meditation did help me cope through my natural labour, I noticed I needed additional support this time personalised to birth and parenting.
Even though, I had a 5 hour labour which was fairly straightforward compared to others, I was definitely holding onto unresolved trauma from having a pre term birth as well as the difficult time I had with Oliver once he was born.
My husband was reluctant to spend £100s on working with a hypnobirthing coach (as he was ironically with a Sleep Specialist), so we compromised and invested in the Digital Pack by The Positive Birth Company.
We are yet to finish the course but so far the support, advice and practical tips recommended have been invaluable in helping me cope with my third trimester anxiety. I feel empowered and more excited to welcome our 2nd baby and It has made me realise that I am in control of my own birth. It is the best £35 I have spent in this pregnancy and I highly recommend it.
There are my five tips on how to cope with anxiety during pregnancy in the third trimester. If you can relate to this, then I’d love for you to comment below this blog or why not share it with someone you care about.