It's impossible not to think about the "what ifs" when you're diagnosed with a pregnancy complication.
What if I move the wrong way and I put my baby in danger?
What if I don't realize something bad is happening?
What if we can't make it to the hospital in time?
What if the test results show something worse?
Once those "what ifs" start, it's like your mind becomes a remote controlled car. You just don't have the remote.
You can't stop and before you know it, you've thought yourself into a hole of helplessness.
Of course you're worried.
You've been thrown into a world of a high-risk pregnancy without much notice.
You're trying hard to keep up with the brand new terminology your doctors are throwing at you. There so many unknowns. You just want to know what could happen.
You just want to make sure your baby is safe.
The reality is so scary to accept that your mind switches to worrying mode.
You start imagining all of the things that could go wrong. Your mind races to all of the dark corners and sometimes you even come up with "what ifs" that are not even likely to happen.
Truth is, you can't imagine every possible scenario that could happen.
No one can.
We think worrying will prepare us for what could happen but that's just a lie that anxiety likes us to believe. (Tweet that!)
The anxiety you feel about what could happen impacts
how well you make decisions
your ability to bond with your baby
how well you sleep, your heart rate
your sugar levels
Anxiety during pregnancy has also been linked to spontaneous preterm birth as well as low birth weight and an increased risk of miscarriage.
If that's ot all, worrying actually slows down the very mental processes that you need to make important decisions for you and your baby confidently.
Don't stop the "what ifs".
Let's be real. It's not possible to completely end the "what ifs" when you're a mom worried about her baby. I know, I've been there!
But if you want to combat that anxiety, you want to play the what if game fairly. (Tweet that!)
For every "what if" you think of that has a negative outcome, imagine one "what if" with a positive outcome. No matter how unbelievable the positive outcome may be.
By forcing yourself to come up with a counter point for each scary "what if", you balance out your worry and you will feel calmer.
You won't feel at the mercy of those uncontrollable "what ifs" and you'll be able to think more clearly to make the important decisions while you fight for your baby.
The Short and Sweet
The "what if" cycle you're stuck in is your way to coping with the unknowns of a high-risk pregnancy.
Unfortunately, worrying doesn't prepare us for what will actually happen. It only protects us from the real emotions that we're avoiding feeling that are underneath.
What's worse, high anxiety during pregnancy has been tied to difficulty bonding with your baby, insomnia, spontaenous preterm birth and so much more.
But stopping the what if's entirely isn't exactly a realistic solution either. So if you're stuck in the cycle of what ifs, do this:
Play the "what if" game but play it fairly. (Tweet that!)
Do you play the "what if" game? How does it make you feel when you try to imagine every worst case scenario?
Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!
If you like this blog and would love free personalized advice for your specific situation to help you feel calmer, this is for you.