Pregnancy is filled with change, and with change comes anxiety. Some anxiety is normal but there can be times when it develops into something overwhelming.
I was diagnosed with Antenatal Depression during the third trimester with my son, and found the most challenging symptom was anxiety. It kept me from sleeping, eating, concentrating and enjoying my life. My anxiety was too much.
After a month of crying every single night to my husband, and weeks of trying to understand what was going on with me, I was referred to the Perinatal Mental Health Unit here in Sudbury. That referral was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me.
The Referral that changed everything for the better.
When I did my intake it was like the nurse practitioner had a list of everything that was happening with me emotionally, mentally and physically and just read it off to me. It was such a relief to have a name for what was impacting my life so completely.
While I was grateful to know what was going on, coming to terms with the diagnosis was still challenging. Developing depression or anxiety is not something you hope for during your pregnancy, however it is the reality for approximately 1 in 8 women.
During my appointments I was able to understand how my depression and anxiety were interfering with my thought patterns. Specifically there are two terms I’d like to explain today.
Suffering with Intrusive Thoughts.
Definition:” Intrusive thoughts are frightening thoughts about what might happen to you or someone you care about, or what you might do to yourself or another person. They seem to come from outside of your control, and their content feels alien and threatening.” ( Reference: http://www.drmartinseif.com/resources/intrusive-thoughts.html)
I suffered significantly from Intrusive Thoughts, including a terribly upsetting one that I had to leave my husband. This was absurd given my love for my husband and our beautiful marriage. The very idea of leaving him brought me to tears however I couldn’t stop the thoughts, regardless of their insignificance. Needless to say, this thinking pattern was devastating at seven months pregnant and for some reason I couldn’t logically reverse them. Nor could I talk myself out of them knowing they weren’t real or true. And this scared me to the core.
When anxiety is high it is difficult to distinguish between simple thoughts and the truth. At the time because my intrusive thoughts were frequent and continuous, I was frightened to think that deep, deep down it was actually what wanted.
Learning about Intrusive Thoughts helped me to distinguish between something that I simply feared and reality. My nurse practitioner was able to explain things to me and provide resources to work on lessening my anxiety and depression which ultimately resulted in lessening my Intrusive Thoughts.
Here is some more information on Intrusive Thoughts
Struggling with Catastrophic Thinking.
Definition: “Catastrophic thinking can be defined as ruminating about irrational worst-case outcomes.” (Reference: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-face-adversity/201103/catastrophic-thinking)
I also suffered greatly from Catastrophic Thinking. I would jump from a small issue to a huge crisis in a split second.
As many of you know I lost my first son
Zennon at 4.5 months pregnant, and therefore my second pregnancy was plagued with Anxiety about his safety. This is where my Catastrophic Thinking impacted me greatly. If I didn’t feel him move for 10 or 15 minutes at a time (which is entirely normal in pregnancy) I would jump to the conclusion that something bad had happened and he wasn’t going to arrive safely.
This line of thinking lead to a lot of anxiety and many tearful moments, as I worried about losing my second son as well.
Here is some more information on Catastrophic Thinking:
To Learn More about my Experience with Severe Anxiety During my Pregnancy watch this!
I share these today just for examples of my personal experience with Anxiety being too Much in pregnancy, as I know many other women struggle with this as well.
If you are having significant anxiety know that you are NOT ALONE. Talk to your health care provider, or your Doula or a family member who will be supportive, because you don’t need to struggle alone.
You can find the rest of our Series here!