There are plenty of myths about stress during pregnancy that we hear on a daily basis. Some of them we have heard so often that we believe they must be based on fact.
Stress happens to everyone so it's no big deal.
A high-risk pregnancy is stressful so you just have to deal with it.
If you have no symptoms, you're not stressed.
Myths such as these invalidate moms, leaving them feeling inadequate and helpless in the face of stress.
But there's one more myth about stress that not only quashes the importance of stress management, but one that leaves moms feeling completely out of control in the face of stress.
This myth also reinforces the false belief that once the high-risk pregnancy is over, the stress will melt away.
Have you been taken by this stress myth, too?
"The best way to stress less during your pregnancy is to just breathe and relax."
Moms who have heard this advice know that it's unhelpful because if it were that easy to stay calm during a high-risk pregnancy, no mom with a complicated pregnancy would be stressed!
But most importantly, this myth hits upon a fundamental misunderstanding about stress.
Stress isn't something that happens to you that you have to endure while you're fighting for your baby.
Stress isn't a feeling or experience that's a result of your high-risk pregnancy.
Stress is a result of how you think about what's happening during your pregnancy. (Tweet that!)
By trying to lower your stress with deep breaths or relaxing music, you're only addressing the effects of stress, not the cause.
Now that's not to say that you should never breathe deeply or relax. Sometimes you need quick relief so your blood pressure doesn't skyrocket right before a doctor's visit or so you can think clearly to make an important decision.
But if that's your only stress management strategy, you're only getting temporary relief.
This explains why you may feel like you're doing everything to lower your stress but it still keeps coming back over and over.
This is particularly worrisome during a high-risk pregnancy because of the role stress plays in adding to the complications you're already facing.
Managing stress during a scary time
It would be another false assumption to say that your high-risk pregnancy is stressful only because you're thinking about it in a way that's causing you stress.
Of course that's not true.
A high-risk pregnancy has a very real added layer of fear about your life and your baby's life.
And unfortunately no amount of changes to your thinking will take away your complications.
However, how you think about your complications can mitigate the day-to-day stress that makes the already stressful situation even more difficult to cope with.
Thoughts such as....
"This is my fault."
"I'm failing my baby."
"Everything is falling apart." "