From the moment you hear the words come out of your doctor's mouth that you are facing a pregnancy complication, your mind has been on overdrive.
Before you even got in your car, you had already pulled out your phone and were Googling whatever you could remember your doctor had told you.
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You feel an urge to get as much information as you can.
You talk to your friends, hoping they'll have something to say, only to find out that most of them don't understand half of the temrinology that you're having to learn.
You post in online forums on your blog and on Facebook looking for some stories of hope that your baby will be ok.
Your doctors want to take a wait and see approach. Maybe you have to come back for a follow up visit in a week. Or they just asked you to call if anything gets worse.
But that isn't enough for you. You want to take action now!
Don't they know how fast your mind is spinning?
What if something bad happens in the middle of the night?
How will I know if something bad is happening?
Then you start doubting your doctors.
Are they doing everything they can? Is there something they aren't telling me?
What if they're not taking me seriously?
And then you start overanalyzing everything.
What did my doctor mean by "we'll see what happens?" What did that twinge mean? Was that round ligament pain or is that preterm labor? Why am I so tired tonight? This isn't normal.
It happens quickly and all of a sudden your anxiety has taken contro. You're on the verge of tears at night because you feel so scared and so helpless.
This is one of the most difficult aspects of a high-risk pregnancy.
You are responsible for this little life and yet there is often so little you can do.
That dichotomy can make any mom lose sleep for the duration of her pregnancy, hoping with all of her might that her baby will be ok.
The trouble is that having such high anxiety during your pregnancy for a prolonged period of time isn't good for you or your baby.
High levels of anxiety during pregnancy has been associated with developing pre-eclampsia, preterm labor and experiencing a preterm birth. A study published a few years back was the first study to show that high anxiety during pregnancy can in fact impairs the way a fetus' brain develops. (Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2010).
Take back control from your anxiety.
Once you acknowledge and accept that you are anxious, schedule some worry time in your day.
Because let's be honest, there's no way that you can end all of your worrying completely.
You're a mom. You have pregnancy complications. You want your baby to be safe.
Of course you will worry!
But don't let your worries control your entire pregnancy experience. (Tweet that!)
Here's how to create worry time:
Choose an hour a day, or split it up into two 30-minute segments and put it it in your phone.
Then during that time, allow yourself to think about all of the things that are worrying you. Write them down. Search on the internet for stories of hope or answers to your questions.
Once that time is up, stop.
Turn your computer off. Put your phone away. Hide your tablet.
Finding something to do with your hands, like crocheting or journaling, is a great way to ensure you won't get pulled back to one of your devices to sneak in one last search. (Tweet that!)
If you can stay strong and stick with this for several days to a few weeks, you will notice that your worries will become quieter.
That's because you're retraining your mind on how to cope with the stress of having a complicated pregnancy.
The worries won't go away completely but it won't feel like the Tasmanian Devil has taken over your brain.
Have you tried giving yourself some worry time? How has that worked for you? Leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you!