Anxiety issues

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Anxiety issues

Postby TrebleLily » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:22 pm

So I don't have constant anxiety, for the most part I'm pretty good and happy about my pregnancy. But there are also times where I just get totally overwhelmed with fears that something is wrong with the baby, or its dead or many other worst case scenarios. I even find myself having involuntary "fantasies" (for lack of a better word) of some catastrophe happening. For instance I will be driving and someone slightly cuts me off, and I will start imagining getting in that accident, being crying and upset and telling the other driver I'm pregnant, calling my husband in tears, going to the hospital.... The whole thing unfolding. This type of fantasy happens OFTEN. Crossing the street, walking down steep stairs, imagining being attacked by strangers, etc. Even just going to the bathroom, and imagining baby falling out!! Sometimes the fantasy upsets me, other times I just brush it off and keep going. (I used to have catastrophe type fantasies pre-pregnancy too, so this isn't new necessarily, but they've increased now and always involve the baby).

I'm 16 weeks and have every indication of a healthy normal pregnancy. Though I didn't do an NT or any of those tests. Now that part is starting to make me nervous too. I've got my anatomy scan booked for next month and have had visions of going in and being told that the baby's scull hasn't formed properly and it will be unable to survive. Or of finding out my cervix has seriously shortened and it's too late to do a curclage so I'm going to loose the baby. Sigh... I think I'm loosing it. I just want these negative thoughts to go away!

Today my husband and I were out at a museum and art gallery, enjoying our honeymoon in Vienna, when I started having some minor twinges of pain in my uterus. They're probably just ligament pains and nothing at all to worry about realistically. But after a while the combination of things just made me loose it. I was sick and tired of the museum/art gallery, freezing cold, had a headache, and these twinges just made my mind start spinning down the doomsday path again until I was barely even able to keep from crying and asked to go back to the hotel where I promptly burst into tears the moment we got to the room. Much to my poor hubbys confusion. I still haven't told him what this afternoons breakdown was all about. He just thinks it was my headache.

Anyway, any advice or words of reassurance would be great. Anyone else experience these morbid fantasies? How do you make them go away? :?
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby Amanda0713 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:50 pm

Hi there,

I've had a history of anxiety issues for most of my life. I think it's normal to be very anxious in pregnancy, but the level to which you are describing the "fantasies" and how often they happen is something pretty specific to anxiety disorders. I can totally relate. I had them all though my first pregnancy, and again this time so far. Even after DS was born I would have them. Like I'd be walking upstairs near the railing and imagine stumbling and like flinging him over the railing and him dying. Or I'd be walking with him outside on concrete, even in a carrier and it's like I could literally see it all happening if I dropped him, and like you said you can see not just the incident, but the aftermath. Calling 911, telling your family, grieving the loss, collapsing in pain. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about and I have always felt so shitty that my brain does that to me.

I don't know how to make them go away, so I can't help you there, but I have always just tried to calm myself down, and tell myself that it's just my own stupid malfunctioning brain, and not that it's a likely event, not a desire, not an omen or a prediction, just my stupid brain. I literally have to tell myself to stop it several times, and sometimes I force myself into some task that will force my mind into something else so I don't dwell.

I wish I could be more help, but at the very least wanted to tell you that you aren't the only one who experiences that so vividly and so often. It probably will get worse when you have a newborn, so you just need to find ways to calm down when it happens and get it off your mind. Good luck
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby Amanda0713 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:54 pm

Also, if it gets really really bad, they make anti-anxiety/depression meds that are safe in later pregnancy and while breastfeeding, so if it gets unmanageable, you should talk to your doctor.
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby FrostedFuji » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:08 pm

I think you would be surprised just how common this is. For a lot of women it doesn't happen until after the baby is born, but quite a few of us experience it during the pregnancy as well. I've experienced the fears of baby falling out and car accidents, for sure. You are not alone, and I totally get how hard it is. The "visions" where it basically unfolds in front of my eyes, and then I "wake up" and feel like an idiot because it's SO irrational and unlikely (or even impossible!).

At my last prenatal appointment, my midwife told me about her own anxieties after she gave birth. When she went back to work, she would have these constant fears that she'd get home and find her child and the babysitter both dead. This is, unfortunately, very common and fairly universal - in all cultures, among many women; it just starts sooner for some than others.

If I'm able to at the time (e.g. not driving a car...lol) I'll usually sit back and just do some deep breathing and relaxation, remind myself that such awful things are very uncommon, and that realistically what I'm worried about is just being a good mom. It often helps me to remember that I'm not the first person to have these imaginary scenarios pop up in my mind, and that I'm not the last. I know I'm doing everything humanly possible to keep my baby safe and well, and that even in the womb babies are INCREDIBLY resilient. Plenty of women who DON'T do all the right things go on to have perfectly healthy babies.

Also, I totally hear you on the concern about the anatomy scan. The best part about the scan, IMO, was seeing her brain - it was the coolest thing ever, it was so reassuring that it's there and developing properly, and I hope that I never ever have to see her brain again, lol.

If the thoughts are becoming REALLY pervasive and making it hard for you to look forward to your baby, be happy with your pregnancy, or just get on with your everyday life, I would strongly urge you to find a professional to talk to. There are definitely counselors/therapists/psychiatrists out there who specialize in obstetric psychology who can offer specific help, and if necessary the right medications at the right doses to help you without affecting your baby.

Finally, I'd let your husband in on what's going on. Mine can be super helpful in distracting me when I'm starting on a bad mental path, so if I'm able to let him know early, he can often help me get past it before it gets too horrible.

Best wishes and much love to you! You can always message me about things, too :)
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby alecita1987 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:24 pm

I agree with FrostedFuji and I would tell your DH.
Prenancy makes me really anxious as well, mainly due to the horrible experience I had with my first pregnancy/mc, and some days I just wake up and can't function at all cause I do nothing but think of every possible way my pregnancy is going to fail, how am I gonna deal with it? How am I gonna react when I see my dead baby on an u/s? What will the tech tell me if the baby has no heart beat? How much will the baby measure? Did I have any signs of it happening and I just didn't realize it? And crazy stuff like that... Talking go my DH helps a lot. He's also scared, but I guess because of the fact that he's not overwhelmed by all these hormones and emotions, he's able to be realistic and think with more clarity. I know I would be doing worse if it wasn't for him.

If talking to your DH does not seem to help at all I would maybe look into counseling to learn how to deal with the "fantasies" especially in situations where it can become dangerous for you and baby to have your head trapped in some bad though (such as when you're driving, etc).
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby TrebleLily » Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:54 am

Thank you so much for your replies ladies. It's so good to know I'm not the only one who's mind does this.

@Amanda- yes, it certainly sounds like you describe what my fantasies are like too. Very detailed... Sorry to hear you go through these too. Interesting to know that you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and feel it is related. I've always been a "worrier" but because I generally cope with it fairly well and don't let it negatively impact my life I haven't bothered looking into it. I really want to avoid medications, but you're right that perhaps talking to a therapist about these thoughts would be helpful. I'm a big advocate of counseling/therapy for anyone! Talking to a professional is always a good idea. Time to take my own advice I suppose.



I ended up letting my DH read my post here. He didn't have much to say other than " you are a healthy baby maker- all is fine". Not so helpful... I don't think he really understands the risks and many things that can go wrong even though I am healthy. :? Hours after that initial brief response he reminded me of a friend of ours who had a miscarriage at 5 or 6 months because she was having panic attacks and told me to stop worrying so much. So he made me feel guilty for my worries and like my worries are going to harm the baby! Gah!
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby Amanda0713 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:27 am

I understand that. My DH is great but he totally doesn't understand worrying about things you can't control. We did have a MC last time and he has accidentally and with good intentions, made me feel guilty for worrying too.

The reason I think mine are related to an anxiety disorder is because I had those types of fantasies long before I ever had kids. I'd have them about myself, my family and friends. It just was never nearly as stressful as when it's about your own children. I worked with professionals years back before kids and got it under control and now I am much more self aware. I haven't needed meds in any of my pregnancies, but I have always touched base with my Obgyn about it just in case. If it ever starts to get too bad or too dark, I want to get out ahead of it if need be.

I do think that for me this issue is life long, and worse with kids, but anyone can have temporary struggles. Talking with someone will probably help tons, and like I said being as self aware as possible is the best thing I think. Knowing that it's just in your mind, and that you are ultimately in control is important.

I hope you get some relief from these thoughts, or find ways to just not let them get you so down. No matter how hard it is, it's all worth it in the end to have your amazing little baby. Good luck
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby FrostedFuji » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:30 am

Oh Lily, I'm so sorry about your husband's reaction :( You should not feel guilty at ALL. My guess is that your friend's situation was likely due more to hormonal problems completely out of her control which caused both the very late term loss as well as the panic attacks, rather than the panic attacks causing the loss.

What you are experiencing is not needless worry, it's a experience that is entirely out of your control and impossible to just stop doing. You're not seeking out things to be afraid of, they are coming to you and taking over.

Keep in mind your husband probably just doesn't know what to say or do; his reaction and responses were unhelpful and not really appropriate, but he's probably also just confused and unsure of how to help. If you think he would be open to it, explaining to him what you need in that situation (being held, comfort that you're doing the right thing, a reminder that you're doing everything you can for your baby, etc.) when you're feeling okay and not in the middle of the anxiety can be very helpful. If he's not open to that or still isn't able to get on board, counseling - even if it's for you alone, and not just as a couple - can be really, really helpful.

I really hope you're able to find some relief. This too, shall pass - I promise.
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby WK_78 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:31 pm

TrebleLily wrote: I ended up letting my DH read my post here. He didn't have much to say other than " you are a healthy baby maker- all is fine". Not so helpful... I don't think he really understands the risks and many things that can go wrong even though I am healthy. :? Hours after that initial brief response he reminded me of a friend of ours who had a miscarriage at 5 or 6 months because she was having panic attacks and told me to stop worrying so much. So he made me feel guilty for my worries and like my worries are going to harm the baby! Gah!


I'm experiencing a similar thing, but my "fantasies" mostly revolve around the baby not suddenly being alive, along with having bad scenarios of driving on the highway when there's a lot of traffic (too many people drive way too close to each other at very high speeds!). Now that I hit the second trimester, my pregnancy symptoms vanished and that causes me to worry. Quite a lot.

And having my DH tell me that too much worrying can end up harming the baby is not the support I need. Luckily, he also has the presence of mind to keep telling me that the baby is fine when I ask him to tell me so.

It doesn't help that I'm experiencing a lot of work-related stress and sleeping very poorly at night...

I was told that what this worrying is is essentially me (and you) preparing for motherhood, but I'd still like these fears and worries to tone down a bit.

Hang in there, you're most certainly alone with this!
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby TrebleLily » Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:08 pm

Well I talked with my DH about it further last night and gently told him that his initial responses really weren't that helpful. He couldn't even quite recall what his responses were. But once I reminded him and told him why it wasn't helpful he understood for sure. I told him how I need empathy and reassurance more than anything. He says he's not sure if he can do genuine empathy as the worries are not something he has personally experienced in any way. He's not a worrier at all. So he can't truly empathize with what it feels like and what I'm going through. I get this and appreciate his honesty. But he said he can gladly give reassurance and will "rationally dispute my irrational beliefs" (a concept from a book about cognitive behavioral therapy we read a few years ago called 3 minute therapy). I agreed that using the techniques we learned in this book would probably be helpful and his role in helping point out the rational side of things would be a good way of him supporting me. So I'm definitely feeling better on the hubby side of things!

Also this morning we went to see a absolutely beautiful cathedral in Vienna called St Stephans cathedral. Even though neither of us are religious, he wanted to light two candles at the alter and said that one of them was for a healthy baby, and the other was for a happy non-worrying mommy. It was so sweet and made me cry. <3
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby Amanda0713 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:04 pm

Happy to hear about your progress. Even if he can't understand the worry, knowing how hard it truly is for you, and how much his actions can change things is what is most important. Hope things continue to improve for you :)
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby FrostedFuji » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:54 pm

Awww, I'm so happy you were able to work through it with him, Lily! Good husbands are the best ever :)
Fuji: 28; H: 29

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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby TrebleLily » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:16 am

Just wanted to give a little update here. I had my midwife appointment the other evening. I was hesitating about telling her about my worries, so asked all my other questions and such first. Then slowly transitioned to lightly asking about it. Hubby was there and elaborated to give a nudge for me to ask more detail so that she knew this wasn't just some little worry about the anatomy scan, but also general worry about harm coming to baby in many ways. The midwife was reassuring that this type of thing is rather normal as our mama bear instincts kick in. But she said if it becomes overwhelming or gets worse to let her know as there are some things safe to prescribe at this point in pregnancy. I don't think I need that, but it was good to have her take my emotions seriously and show both empathy and concern as well as reassuring me that it's normal.
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby Amanda0713 » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:37 am

That's good news! Im glad you were able to clear the air with both hubby, and your midwife, and both are taking it seriously. Sometimes just knowing that you don't have to be quiet or ashamed about it is enough to reduce the stress a bit. I hope it continues to get better for you, good luck!
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Re: Anxiety issues

Postby TracieMarie77 » Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:43 pm

Wow thankfully someone I can relate to. I've always been kind of an anxious person and a "what iffer". But I am constantly concerned myself that something could go wrong. Like if I have a day where I feel little to no pregnancy symptoms I worry. Just from following this site I've seen all kinds of stories that make it impossible not to worry. I am 7 weeks. I still have over 2 weeks until my first appointment. I did have blood work and an ultrasound done at 5 weeks. Obviously being that early wasn't able to see much. At least it was in the uterus where it is supposed to be. And I do think the tech and I saw a tiny flicker which would be the babies heartbeat. I never heard from the dr so if anything was wrong I'm sure they'd have called. Try to hang in there. It's totally normal to feel the way you do.
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