Worry has been one of my most constant companions. Ever since I was a child, I identified as a worrier. Perhaps today I would have been diagnosed with anxiety. Whatever you want to call it, it means that your brain offers you lots of thoughts about what can go wrong, what people will think and how you can fail.
For me, this shows up mostly in a tightness in the chest and a heavy, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Often it was to the point that I had actual physical symptoms of an upset stomach…I would “worry myself sick.”
So you can imagine how pregnancy just a few months after a full term stillbirth felt for me. It’s almost indescribable, but if you’ve been through it, you know what thoughts and feelings run through your mind and body. For me there was rarely a moment of peace the entire time, as I worked through the grief and the fear.
That’s why I’m here to help you!
One of the most powerful tools that I learned when I found coaching, is that worry is an indulgent emotion.
The top three indulgent emotions are overwhelm, confusion and worry.
The definition of indulgent is: having the tendency to be to be overly generous or lenient with someone.
In this case, that someone is ourselves.
Worry is an emotion that is never necessary.
No, really. It is NEVER necessary.
Try to think of a time where worrying accomplished anything except making you feel miserable, most of the time for no reason.
Worry likes to make us think it is useful.
That it is doing a great job protecting us from danger.
Worry always lives in the future.
And that is where the sneakiness of it comes in.
It seems like if we worry, we will prevent bad things from happening in the future, right?
But instead it robs us of happiness, peace, and confidence in the present.
In PAL, this shows up in so many ways.
I don’t want to buy anything because I might have to put it away.
I don’t want to decorate the nursery because we might not bring a baby home.
I can’t be excited about passing milestones because the farther along I get the more it will hurt if we lose this baby.
I can’t bond with this baby, I have to protect my heart. (this one often shows up as a fact, “I just can’t bond with this baby.” when it is actually a thought, and remember thoughts are optional)
If something bad happens I will be devastated.
There is no safe zone in pregnancy.
I could list so many more.
But here is the secret to combatting this worry: See it for what it is.
Face it head on. Write down all the worry thoughts and see how they are serving you.
What is your result when you come from thoughts like these?
And if you don’t like these results, remember that worry is optional. You do not have to think this way.
I know it may seem impossible, but I am telling you, this one tool will change your pregnancy and your life. Because your emotions don’t come from your circumstances.
We often think there is a magic milestone or date where we just won’t worry anymore. But those things come and go and the worry remains because it’s not outside you. So nothing outside you can fix it. Not getting pregnant, not passing 12 weeks, not getting to viability, not even when the baby is born. Because feelings always come from our thoughts, and your brain is still there with you on the entire journey.
When you can stop indulging yourself with worry, and make conscious choices to not allow it to stay, that’s when you will find relief.
I promise you this works, momma. As with anything else, it takes being intentional. But it doesn’t have to be hard.
Trust that if the worst thing happened, you would handle it. Because you have before. You will know exactly what to do if things get legitimately dangerous. Until then, don’t let worry drive your actions.
If worry has been your bestie for a while, it’s time to break up. Let go.
And every time it pops up again, you can notice it, maybe allow it for a little while, and then say goodbye. A fun but powerful thing to do is to name that anxiety. Talk to it. Say “I see you Anxiety, but I’m not going to listen to you today.”
I can’t wait to see what you can do when you focus your mental energy on other things.
If you are feeling a lot of anxiety about your pregnancy after loss, I’d love to help. Just click here.