I'm basically a ball of mess this pregnancy. I worried the entire first trimester about normal first trimester things, plus my increased chances of miscarriage due to progesterone issues. Once I got out of the first trimester, saw that baby kicking on screen, and my levels were doing pretty good, I took a big sigh of relief and began enjoying the baby and pregnancy. I had fun trying on maternity clothes, picking out things for the baby, and learning all about birth. That was fairly short lived because it was just a few weeks after that I got the news about my progesterone levels being borderline dangerously low. Since then, I'd say I've been more worried than I was the entire first trimester! I realized that being anxious 100% of the time just wasn't going to cut it. I guess self preservation kicked in or something, and my body realized that level of stress was not happening. So I slowly began to gather a few things that have helped me work towards trusting God through the rough times of this pregnancy, and I thought I might share those here for any experiencing similar issues, or for people who may know someone going through a tough pregnancy.
Ideas for us new moms struggling to trust:
Prayer, Prayer, Prayer. All forms!* Steven keeps reminding me of this, thankfully, and I have probably spent more time in prayer this pregnancy than I have in a long time combined before that. It's good for my spirit but also good for me physically since I already have high blood pressure, and I know anxiety certainly isn't helpful to the little babe. It grounds me, centers me, and helps me to focus on something outside of myself. Offering up my struggles for others has been a huge blessing throughout this pregnancy.
Talk it out. For the most part I just end up a big sobbing mess when I talk about my fears. But you know what? I can then move on for a few hours or sometimes a few days and be in decent spirits. When I keep it to myself, I obsess over it until I let it out. So, now, I try to let it out as soon as I can so I can move on for a bit. Steven is the only person I really bare my soul about it to, so sometimes that means I obsess all day until we're together, but that's ok, too. That just gives me an opportunity to turn back to #1. I do think it's important to feel and deal with the emotions, rather than just telling myself "the baby is fine". I'm not a believer in stuffing emotions, so I feel them, then redirect myself.
Elective ultrasounds, ya'll. I went into this pregnancy thinking I'd like the bare minimum ultrasounds, tests, etc. I just don't like a lot of extra medical stuff anyways, so it made sense. Well you know what makes sense now? Checking on my baby! So it took me a little time, but I'm letting go of the self imposed guilt and checking on this baby when I can which, so far, has meant 4 ultrasounds (3 at the doctor, 1 elective). And I now have a handy dandy teddy bear with baby's heart beat recorded inside to get me through my next ugly cry. Oh, AND a dvd of the 20 minute ultrasound so I can watch Penny wiggle around any time I want!
Learning to trust. Well trying to trust. At least, thinking about trust. So when it comes down to it, I do trust God. Honestly, I do. I know that no matter what happens, He's got my back and will take care of me. Even if something awful that shall remain nameless happens, He is taking care of Penny and He is taking care of us. I know that, and I have to do a lot of self talk about that. Because when I'm super irrational and anxious, all I can focus on is that I want Penny healthy. I mean, what mom wouldn't? But I have to redirect those thoughts to knowing that we will all be taken care of. It's probably what I struggle with the most but luckily I'm a boss at self talk (thanks social work!), so I'm improving. It's one of those 'practice what you preach' things. I know it in my heart; but I have to make my head believe it.
Force myself to revel in the small things. I felt the baby kick once over a week and a half. So yeah, I panic a lot about "why hasn't it kicked again???". I try to redirect that to, "wasn't that kick the coolest thing ever?". When I look pregnant in an outfit, I just look at myself for a bit and think about the fact that I am growing a human being inside of me that is half me and half Steven. Gets me every time. When someone gives me attention for being pregnant, I try not to think "yeah but....." and list off my worries in my head, and just enjoy the fact that I'm pregnant. I say a prayer of thanksgiving for the ability to have become pregnant and remind myself to never take that for granted, and to not let my anxieties get so high that I lose sight of the miracle of that. So stepping back to enjoy the little things throughout the pregnancy definitely help me refocus when I'm being high strung about whether or not the baby is ok.
Our heartbeat bear. Squeeze the chest heart and our little baby's heartbeat recording starts! Love it!!!
Penny's profile from today with little hand up near the mouth. S/he kept sucking on his or her hand and pulling the umbilical cord lol! It was too cute!!
For those of you who had risky/complicated pregnancies, or even just had a lot of anxiety in general, what things did you find comforting and helpful? I'm certainly up for adding more tools to my toolbox for these next 22 weeks! :)
*Some of you may remember that I've posted before about how we do a weekly rosary for couples struggling with infertility. I want to mention it again so that you can give me any names of people you'd like us to specifically pray for. If you already gave me a name, they are on the list! Mary is big and bad.... 6 pregnant ladies from the list so far!!!!