- Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park
I have GAD, and I’ve seen a therapist for years, often on some combination of pharmeceutical. In preparation for pregnancy and life changes, and to alter my way of thinking therapeutically, I began a mindfulness-awareness meditation practice over a year ago. This practice has made a greater difference for me than talk therapy or medication.
How did your anxiety/panic effect you during pregnancy?
I came off my medication for the third time this February with little notable effect, but some increase in anxiety. I’ve had one or two minor, controllable panic attacks since then.
When I stopped taking hormonal birth control a few months after that, I was very pleased to note that my anxiety level lessened considerably. I was really worried about stopping my SSRI *and* birth control because I always thought birth control helped stabilize my moods. It turns out, I was wrong. I think synthetic hormones have been a big part of my anxiety all along.
So far, I have felt great and have had little or no anxiety since becoming pregnant.
Did it change/disappear at all?
Yes. Since getting pregnant, I have had little to no anxiety or depression. I am of the mindset that pregnancy hormones are protective against it. My energy level hasn’t been great, but my moods are fine. In normally stressful situations I am able to remain calm and relaxed.
Basically, pregnancy has rendered me able to just not give a fuck.
What helped you stay calm and collected?
My meditation practice.
Lots of rest and saying “no” to overcommitment.
Limiting my commitments.
Positive reading, like Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery, Guide to Childbirth, and Midwife’s Manifesto. Avoiding hysterical literature or anything incindiary.
Limiting time on the internet.
If you are already a momma, how was labor? Did you have a panic attack knowing you’d be giving birth within the next day or so?
I have not yet gone into labor, but I enjoy physical challenges and endurance events (pain and strenuous activity are not one of my triggrers). I see labor as a rite of passage that I will have few changes to experience and I am honestly looking forward to experiencing labor and its challenges and rewards the most out of my entire pregnancy.