Let me start by saying, pregnancy is hard. You may love being pregnant, and you may not, and that's okay.
If you're a mom-to-be, you can read every pregnancy book on the market, and you'll soon realize, like pregnancies, pregnancy books are also unique in that no two are alike. A mom-to-be has to take it as it comes, and for those of us that are type A, not being able to control or predict what's going to happen seriously sucks, what's worse, being pregnant in the world today. No matter your political views, I think we can all agree we're over it. For an expectant mother, learning these six ways to combat pregnancy anxiety in uncertain times will be a useful skill as you await your unborn child.
Back in 2014, when I was pregnant with my first child, I purchased several pregnancy books recommended to me by friends and family. I read them religiously. But, I noticed that the more I read, the more anxious I became.
I'd start questioning whether or not something that wasn't happening or was happening with my continuously changing body meant that something was seriously wrong. These perplexing questions would have me endlessly scrolling and lurking through the BabyCenter community center forums for someone, anyone that had a similar issue.
I found that pregnancy books provoked my anxiety and motioned me to worry about new issues I never knew existed. I found this to be achingly challenging; as someone that's worry-prone, I wanted to worry less and enjoy my pregnancy.
Grappling with the neverending stress of not knowing what to expect when expecting is enough, but now women have yet another unknown to add on to their evergrowing plate, 2020.
Stepping away from the pregnancy books and the pregnancy apps served me well during my time emotional distress. Now, more than ever, women have even more media to step away from when choosing to combat pregnancy anxiety.
It's almost impossible to scroll through our social media without repeatedly being exposed to news about the pandemic, which can be upsetting day after day, for anyone, let alone someone pregnant. As necessary as it is to stay informed about COVID-19, you need to take breaks from the media, not only for your mental health but for your unborn child. Taking a break means not watching, reading, or listening to news stories on any screen. It also means refraining from conversations with friends and family that may stir up unnecessary conflict. It means putting yourself first and, more specifically, your child.
If the thought of unplugging from social media and saying good-bye to screen time seem like a challenge you can't keep, take it slow. We recommend committing to unplugging for one day a week, a tech Shabbat.
In her book, 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain suggests that we should unplug from technology once a week. In her family, Shlain and crew unplug on Friday evening at sundown and don't revisit their devices until the following day, 24 hours later. A tech Shabbat is a great way to focus on your happiness and pregnancy rather than social media's negative distractions, causing unnecessary anxiety.
With a constant flow of media and memes online, it's challenging to get the facts straight about COVID-19. Limit your time online, and get the facts straight from your healthcare provider, which you'll be seeing quite often since you're now pregnant. By getting your facts from your healthcare provider, you'll be speaking with someone you trust and reducing your stress and making the outbreak less stressful on your self and your child.
Give yourself time to feel your feelings, to have a moment. Right now, you're a pioneer for other women; your pregnancy journey and birth plan will be different. You'll deliver during a pandemic. Those whom you wanted to be present in the delivery room may not be there. That can feel scary.
You'll cancel in-person baby showers; you'll skip labor and delivery classes, you'll social distance from friends and family, as you'll be more aware of COVID-19 prevention. Adjusting to the new normal can be stressful and upsetting for anyone, especially expecting mothers.
In Glennon Doyle's #1 New York Times Bestseller, Untamed, Glennon tells us that "Feeling all your feelings is hard, but that’s what they’re for. Feelings are for feeling. All of them. Even the hard ones."
Take the time to feel frustrated, confused, angry, or even sad. Get those feelings out. Speak with a close trusted friend, speak to other women, your spouse, or your doctor. Know that you can do this.
"We can do hard things." Glennon Doyle
During this unprecedented time, one of the most significant stressors for moms-to-be revolves around others' absence that would otherwise be there if the world hadn't turned upside down.
However, we suggest reframing the situation and staying positive. Although we're losing a physical connection, we can remain digitally connected through FaceTime, Zoom, or Facebook Messanger. A simple phone call to stay connected with friends and family can go a long way as well.
We know it's easier to text, but a phone call or FaceTime makes for a much more intimate conversation. Whereas a text message is just not as personal, and right now, we need to feel closer, it's especially important if you're going through a pregnancy during a pandemic.
If you're feeling bummed about missing out on large gatherings such as an in-person baby shower, consider a virtual baby shower via Zoom, or a shower by mail honoring the mama-to-be. No matter how you choose to celebrate, your baby shower alternative can still be as fun and as exciting as an in-person celebration.
One of the best ways to combat pregnancy anxiety or any anxiety for that matter is practicing self-love.
Methods of taking care of our well-being and happiness come in many forms,
If COVID-19 now has you working from home, shift your negative thoughts to how being pregnant during the pandemic could be a blessing in disguise. You'll save money on expensive maternity clothes, and you'll avoid unsolicited parenting advice and the unnerving looks like someone's ready to pop comments from your co-workers. Not to mention you'll get to sleep in a little bit longer, since you won't be driving in to work every morning.
Another surefire way to keep your mind at ease and combat pregnancy anxiety in uncertain times is to preoccupy yourself with other tasks. Other than participating in hobbies, designing your baby's nursery will provide you with hours of a fun and rewarding experience.
Designing a nursery takes time, and focus which you'll spend finding nursery decorating ideas and tips that will eventually help you complete your nursery to-do list.
Pregnancy is a particularly sensitive time for women. Expecting a child now during this unprecedented time makes it that much more challenging. But remember, this moment is only temporary. You can do this; after all, you're a Mom.