As exciting and wonderful a time as pregnancy is, it can also be a time of worry. This could never be truer in this current heightened anxiety climate we’re living through. Having nerves during pregnancy is completely natural, especially if this is your first, fear of the unknown, I hear you! Want to know how I dealt with my anxiety? Well I’ve put together a few of my favourite methods of dealing with nerves and panic. PLUS
Podcasts & Music
People saying this sentence to pregnant folks, “get plenty of sleep now ‘cause you won’t get any once baby is here!” Usually followed by them chortling at how hilarious they are. Yeah those people, please stop.
Of course we know good sleep is HUGELY important for our health yet it’s so hard to get sleep when you’re pregnant! You might have had to get used to a new sleep position, maybe you’re having joint or back pain which is causing you discomfort…
I used to find that as I lay wide awake in bed annoyed that I couldn’t get comfy my brain would then switch on and start making lists of things I had to get done, order baby clothes, pack my hospital bag, build the cot and on and on. Making it even HARDER to get those 40 winks!
My favourite method of quietening my mind was to pop my earphones in and listen to a soothing yoga music playlist or even better a sleep meditation podcast. I could focus in on the music or voice end eventually I would be able to drift off.
I am at heart a great big cynic, not great I know! So when the craze for adult colouring books swept the world I laughed and thought how stupid!! Then I was given my very own, very adult swear word colouring book. And converted was I!
If you’re like me you have a busy mind and find it very hard to switch it off. I realise now how perfect colouring in is for that. Your brain is still doing something, still working at keeping in the lines, thinking about what colours to use but it’s not overwhelmed not worrying about everything and anything. I would say it’s meditation for people who can’t meditate.
Fight the feeling of overwhelm with the three B’s; book, brew, biscuit. Take some time out for yourself, find a space of calm, immerse yourself in a good read and really make an event of it. Have that cup of tea in your favourite mug, grab a treat (or two) and just enjoy taking a step back to slow down.
If your mind wanders and you start to feel the nerves again, accept that that’s fine, acknowledge whatever thought is in appearing then turn back to the page to focus on each word.
Now this method changed my life and I’m not being dramatic when I say that! I used to suffer with daily crippling panic attacks which I couldn’t find a way out of until my counsellor gave me this simple but effective technique.
If your anxiety gets to a whole new level of consumption, the chest tightening kind, simple find a sense to focus on. You can close your eyes and focus in on one sound, maybe someone has been cooking and you can turn your attention to the smells around you, try to pinpoint a certain spice they’ve used. Personally I always reverted to my sense of touch, placing my hand on something nearby, then focusing on the sensation. The cold of a car window, the softness of my bed sheets, you get the idea.
If you have thoughts that keeping popping up and causing you panic, it’s no good just telling yourself not to think them, that won’t work! But replacing those thoughts by focusing on something very real, something present will help clear your mind.
Personally I bloody love baking, the hummingbird bakery cookbooks are my holy scripture! And all my life baking has been something I turn to when I’m not feeling great. It’s full of positive memories and feelings for me so it makes sense that when I need a pick me up that’s what I turn to.
Now if the thought of getting the whisk out brings you out in a cold sweat then baking isn’t the right choice for you. But we all have interests and hobbies we enjoy in our free time. Now is the time to make space for those things once more!
During my pregnancy I used one phrase throughout, “open, relax, release.” Synchronising each word with deep breaths, repeating them over and over until I found myself feeling lighter and calmer.
I’m a big believer in birth affirmations and think all Mums to be should give them a try….
Which is why I’ve created seven printable cards of my favourite birth affirmations for you.
So print them out, colour them in, hang them where you’ll see them often, if you’re wanting a home birth then why not turn them into a garland to adorn your birth space?
And remember that birth is beautiful however it happens.
I’m passionate about helping Mothers celebrate the beauty of pregnancy if you are too you’ll love this blog post about body image during pregnancy, check it out!