Sunday, February 10, 2013

Anxiety In Pregnancy

I've always been a worrier, probably since around the time I left school. I don't know why; nothing significant happened at all, perhaps I just became more aware of the fact I was growing up and adult problems started to affect me.

I used to be worse, everything, literally EVERYTHING worried me - money, relationships, job, parents, college/uni work, etc etc. I made everything seem so much worse than it was and therefore made the worrying worse. I got into a lot of debt when I went to uni and I felt constant anxiety about being able to afford payments on my cards and loans, what would happen if I couldn't afford to make those payments and also what my Mum would do if she found out about the level of debt I had (she did, eventually, which is probably a story for another day!). I think this debt worry escalated my anxiety issues and since then it has never really gone away.

My anxiety is much better now than it was. I think, as I have got older, I have definitely learnt to deal with it better and more maturely. I've sorted out issues I had with money and I don't worry about it like I used to. Although, other issues have replaced this I suppose, as they do as life changes.

One massive thing I did worry about and was anxious about for quite some time was my wedding. When the (now) hubby proposed, it was the best time of my life; we were so happy, so excited and so content. And this was what worried me. I convinced myself something must be bound to go wrong. After the initial honeymoon period of engagement, receiving cards, flowers, well wishes, people asking about plans and dates etc, the anxiety started to creep in. It got worse in the few months leading up to our wedding. I worried that, at some point before the wedding, he would turn around and say it was all a mistake and he didn't want to get married after all. I couldn't comprehend that this was actually happening to me and that I WAS getting married. I never believed that this would happen for me - and I don't know why. I'd had some serious relationships before the hubby, and besides one of them, I had always been the one to break things off. It's not like I had had a terrible break up and hadn't gotten over it, or something similar had happened to me in the past and I was worried it would happen again. I just couldn't believe that this was happening to me. It got worse the closer the wedding day got and the night before the wedding I didn't sleep at all, I was so convinced that he wouldn't show up or that we'd get down the aisle only for him to say err actually no, I don't want to marry you. Fortunately, this didn't happen! And the moment we exchanged rings and said 'I do' and I looked at my now husband, I realised his love for me and how happy he looked and I wondered what I had been thinking all that time. I felt guilty that I'd mistrusted him and hadn't believed in our relationship. It's weird now because I rarely worry about us. I know we are happy, we have arguments like any normal couple, but we fit and work together and I know that if there was to be something wrong, he is open enough to tell me.

However, my anxiety issues seemed to return when we started trying for a baby. It took us around 11 months to get a positive pregnancy test and all throughout that time my anxiety got the better of me. I convinced myself it was never going to happen, I thought there was something wrong with me (hubby already has a daughter so I knew it couldn't be him) and I laid awake at night, worrying that if we tried to adopt we might not get accepted. Anyway, 11 months after we started trying, we got pregnant and then the real anxiety began. I've mentioned before on this blog that I've been worried about things going wrong, just as all pregnant mums do. But I don't feel I've coped very well with it. I think I could have been stronger, believed in my body a bit more to know what it's doing and try and actually relax and enjoy being pregnant. But I haven't. Some days I have been consumed with worry about this baby. I've worried when I haven't felt him move in an hour. Just last night, even though he had been very active since 8am that morning, I worried when I went to bed that I hadn't felt him since about 9pm. I laid awake until well after 1am willing him to move, prodding him to see if I could wake him etc and then freaking out when I couldn't feel his heartbeat in the normal place. I must have nodded off and woke again sometime after 2am and he was wriggling away, just like normal! This has been the norm on and off for the past 5 months or so, since I started to be able to feel movements. To be honest, it's exhausting.

I've read a lot of heartbreaking stories lately about parents loosing their children or things going wrong in pregnancy.  I worry these things are going to happen to me. The same feeling I had before my wedding comes back to me - that I just can't believe this is really happening to me. I can't yet see the end result, just like I couldn't about my wedding. I've tried to enjoy these last couple of weeks being pregnant but worry that by doing that I am 'jinxing' something.

I don't know why I have such anxiety issues. I don't enjoy it and it worries me that this could spiral after birth into PND. I've never had any sort of depression in the past, so I don't think I could be 'predisposed' to it, like I've been told some women are. But I don't think I am emotionally strong and that concerns me. I suppose acknowledging this is a step forward. I don't know whether it's bad enough or serious enough that I should speak to someone about it. Writing it here helps in a way and I try and read all the blogs I follow of women with new babies who are just getting on with life as a mum and I will myself to believe that I can be like them.

Have you suffered with anxiety? Any advice?

mummystartingout x

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