Post # 1
I’m 16 weeks pregnant and looking for advice/quotes/insight on how to stop being so anxious/morbid about all of the things that could go wrong from now until the baby’s born and beyond.
I’m really excited for this baby (our first) but can’t stop thinking about all the tragedy that could befall him/her. I could have a miscarriage, or could make it to full term but then the baby could be stillborn. Then there’s the scare of SIDS. Or some kind of rare genetic disorder that makes the baby only live for 2 years. And of course, potential car accidents or freak accidents or childhood cancer or my husband could die or or or… I know these things are statistically unlikely, but at the same time, I know or know of or have read about people who have experienced all of the above. I also feel like I’ve been ridiculously lucky in life so far and haven’t personally had any major deaths or tragedies (grandparents died which was sad but I wouldn’t say tragic) so maybe I’m “due” for something bad. Is that horrible to say? I feel bad even typing it. My husband and I joke that I’m not going to get too attached to our baby until it’s like 14, just to be sure.
Of course, whatever will happen will happen and worrying’s not going to change the future but will put a damper on what should be an exciting time. I’m not religious and don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, so that’s not much of a comfort. I want to be able to let this fear go and just enjoy the moment, regardless of whatever happens next. I’m generally a happy and fun-loving person, and don’t suffer from anxiety attacks or depression or anything, just have this morbid little voice in the back of my head. Has anyone else experienced this? How did you get over it?
Post # 3
I think you’re going to have to find a way to accept that none of these things are within your control. Worrying comes with motherhood – it’s up to you to decide how much you let it take over your life.
Post # 4
I’m sorry that you feel anxious – that does not sound fun at all. Sometimes people think of the worst possibilies as a way to prepare themselves for the chance of things not turning out smoothly. Most likely, if something does not turn out as planned, it will be far less troublesome than the worst-case so it will seem not as major. I hope you can find peace with your worries.
Post # 5
@crayfish: You’re so right. This is the rational way to think and maybe it just needs to be a mantra: “I don’t control everything. Chill Out.” I actually would HATE to become a controlling helicopter parent so probably a good idea to start letting go now!
@ms lovestruck: I think that’s exactly what I’m doing, trying to somehow prepare for the worst so I won’t feel so blindsided if it comes to pass. Which is a terrible way to live in the moment. Thanks for your thoughts.
Post # 6
My strategy is threefold.
One, is to take a deep breath and ask myself, “Is scary situation your reality right now?” And then realize no, it’s not. Then, it usually involves me figuring out a) what IS really going right now because sometimes anxiety about hypotheticals is really misplaced anxiety about something else which CAN be addressed.
Two is to do the old psychology trick and to get myself to envision my fears. It sounds counter-intuitive, but what the technique is about is getting you to realize that your imagination regarding what could happen is generally worse than what the reality would be. It also will help you to remember that many people can and do handle tragedy all the time and that tragedies in ones life do not mean you’ll never experience happiness thereafter. As the Buddhists say, “if you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” Some of the most inspiring, generous, and yes, happy people in my life have also had quite a bit of hardship. You don’t have a choice of what life dishes up; you ALWAYS have a choice as to how you react to it.
Finally, accept that worrying is part of parenthood, as crayfish said, and that it’s OKAY to worry. It’s great that you are a “happy-go-lucky” person, but don’t think you have to be happy go lucky all the time. Sometimes it’s worth giving yourself permission to experinece discomfort–it can cause more anxiety if you’re anxious about feeling anxiety in the first place! Just recognize the difference between a little worry and going crazy and take a step back.