When faced with a complicated pregnancy so many moms tell themselves to think positively as a way to keep their spirits up.
This message is reinforced by loved ones who tell you to "keep your chin up" and "just stay positive".
Moms do this in efforts to find hope during all of the ups and downs they face.
It makes sense.
With the unknowns lying ahead of you and with how overwhelming it is to feel like a ticking time bomb, it's only natural to want to search for anything that will help you lift your mood and give you energy to fight on another day.
The problem is that thinking positively doesn't actually work.
Negative thoughts come from negative beliefs.
Every time you've had a negative thought about your pregnancy or the future it's shedding light on an underlying negative belief that's driving that thought.
For example, when you think, "I'm failing my baby", it comes from a belief such as "I'm not good enough". Thoughts like, "I don't know how to get through this" are a result of an underlying belief such as, "I'm not capable".
Our beliefs shape the way we see the world. (Tweet that!)
You may not be consciously aware of these beliefs but they're the root from which these negative thoughts arise.
Our beliefs impact what we think, what we do and what we expect for ourselves and our loved ones.
So even if you were able to stop the negative thought, the underlying beliefs would still be governing the way you operated in your world and that's why changing your thoughts isn't helping you feel better.
Trying to quiet the negative thoughts will only make them louder.
A high-risk pregnancy is one marathon after another. And to simply have the strength to keep going, sometimes you just need to shut down the negative chatter before it brings you down.
You may find that the only way to stop the negative thoughts in their tracks is to "be positive."
So you create a mantra ("Take a deep breath") or a positive affirmation ("You're doing great") to repeat to yourself every night before bed.
Or you force yourself to think the exact opposite of what you've been thinking.
"Everything will be fine," you tell yourself.
This approach is great for quick bursts of confidence, such as when you need to gear yourself up for a doctor's appointment.
However, this is not a useful strategy in the long run.
By trying to "think positive" you're suppressing your underlying belief and the emotions that come with it. (Tweet that!)
Countless research studies have shown that suppressing your emotions does nothing other than bury them deep until they find another way out.
Emotion suppression has also been linked to complications such as
increased stress levels (and stress is an independent risk factor for preterm birth)
higher blood pressure
....and so much more.
Burying those emotions makes you believe that the negativity is gone.
In fact, the emotions aren't gone, they're just hidden until they find another way out. And they will always find another way out.
Ever have a random angry outburst on your partner because he was taking too long to choose what he wanted to order for takeout or because she forgot to do the dishes at night?
That's the sign of you had buried some emotion that has found another way out - in the form of picking a fight with your partner.
Suppressing your emotions is like trying to hold a beach ball under water. At some point it will come up, hit you in the face and make a bigger splash than you'd expect. (Tweet that!)
Here's what you do instead when you want to feel more positively:
It's easy to link the negative thought to your situation.
Of course you're worried about your baby coming early if you're at risk for preterm delivery.
Of course you're feeling helpless on bed rest since you're no longer contributing financially or cleaning the house.
But if you are truly committed to changing to a more positive way of thinking, the first step is to look deeper.
What do you believe about yourself that's leading to such thoughts?
Once you've identified that belief, remind yourself that a belief is not a fact. There are other interpretations of your situation that are just as valid.
Challenge your belief with another, more constructive and positive belief.
From there, you'll see that your thoughts start shifting from negative to more positive because thoughts stem from beliefs.
And by shifting to more positive beliefs, you won't have to worry about a beach ball coming up unexpectedly and hitting you in the face.
If you want to start thinking more positively, you have to start believing more positively first. (Tweet that!)
Ready to try this out but not sure how to start?
From experience, I know that learning something new is the first step to change.
But you may find that you get stuck in knowing how to start making that change or actually implementing the change when you get the ball rolling.
I can help you you can break that spiral of negativity and feel more hopeful about your pregnancy. Email me and I'm happy share more information!
Have you been trying to be more positive but finding that the negativity keeps creeping back in? What have you tried to manage the negative thoughts?
Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!