Managing Pregnancy Anxiety
My truth is that I am predisposed to premature birth. I’ve had 2 preemies and early labour complications twice and I have built a mountain of fear within myself. A growing cloud of what if’s that took me years to sort through.
If I am being completely honest after 2 complicated pregnancies (one birth at 32 weeks and one complicated in and out of hospital for preterm labour and bed rest till 36 weeks) I was completely terrified to try for another baby.
In fact I had convinced myself that something would happen and that my body would fail me. That I wasn’t meant to have more kids and it was clear from my past experiences. I had told myself that my body just isn’t good at it even though in that same breath I am SO thankful for my two gorgeous children that I was able to bring into this world.
It’s hard everyone tries not to compare to others but I did a lot. People hiking 40 weeks pregnant or mamas that just carry babies full term like a champ. That’s not me, so I thought I should let that hinder my family dreams. I am usually not one to compare to others for I know we all have our own paths but this is something I really did struggle with, plus the other demands of motherhood, working, personal life etc.
In all honesty it took about 2 years after my second to start talking about the “3” we always dreamed of. My husband and I always hoped for a family of 5 but you never know. We were so greatfull with the 2 gorgeous babies that we had and knew we would figure out if trying for another was in our cards within the coming year.
I actually didn’t realize I had held so much guilt, sadness, happiness and all over confusion around my pregnancies that I went to therapy. That’s right. AS WE SHOULD. The reality is my cervix silently dialates and I don’t know. I don’t get labour symptoms and it can largely stem from my super flexible-ness or a soft tissue condition called Ehlers-Danlos hyper mobility. Having a cervix that doesn’t function well (its usually once the baby is closer to 30 weeks due to the weight of the baby) makes it hard to get full term and thus I am pre-disposed to preterm babies or complications. That’s my story that I HAD no idea until I was in the thick of it. A truth that I even though we may have a reason for my preemies/complications I have blamed myself for in the past. Why as mamas do we carry this baggage? It’s because we expect everything to be perfect and its just not the reality sometimes. In fact it rarely ever is so we need to start letting it go.
Honestly mamas, whether its your conception journey, pregnancy, birth, parenting, we all can get some hard shit mixed in there. Go to therapy, talk to a professional and they can help you get on the best track for you and feeling more like yourself! Talk to friends, supportive partners and seek tools to help you. You are not in this alone ever.
I now have confidence that what has happened to me actually allows me to be a better advocate for myself and my babies. Knowing we were excited to try for another (its now been 3 years SO give yourself time!) we made a plan for what would work best for me. I am now 23 weeks pregnant, the anxiety is still there BUT I am really focusing on the following things to bring me hope and strength:
I KNOW my body is capable of this, it just might require some modifications to activity (slowing life right down)
I can lean on my experiences to advocate for more doctor checks, more scans or further support throughout my pregnancy
I will reduce any heavy lifting, jumping or major activity besides walking to keep stress to my body (and my cervix) to a minimum
I remain positive knowing that I can fight for this little babe and whatever our story is going to be I know I can get through it.
i will go to therapy if I am feeling overwhelmed
Whether its a combination of being a mother for over 5 years, time to let myself heal (with therapy and it was the best, SO hard but so worth it) and the vision of my family 30 years down the road I know this slower time of life while pregnant will be worth it. It’s a period in time and one that I know will bring such joy.
For now its one week at a time, one scan at a time and keeping my head in a positive spot. I have good days and hard days (as we all do) but I go back to the reasons above and I know I have the strength to keep going.
I’ll update you all soon. For now its all about a long and strong cervix!! #ohyes
All the love,
Top Knot Mommy