Tag Archives: anxiety

5 things I am looking forward to in pregnancy.

As you all know, I deal with anxiety, depression, and OCD on a daily basis. Naturally this is going to be quite the roller coaster when I am pregnant, so I decided to find ways to stay positive.

It’s quite easy to list all of the negatives/annoyances of pregnancy. Feeling like a bloated whale, not being able to drink alcohol, swollen ankles, etc…Then there are the obvious joys; feeling the baby kick, seeing them on the ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat and picking out clothes.

I came up with 5 reasons I am looking forward to being pregnant.

  1. Not worrying about feeling fat, because Hey! I’M PREGNANT. I’ll rock that bikini with my bump, just you watch.
  2. Pampering myself. Pedicure, manicure, massage–here I come! I never do these things, but if I’m growing a human, I deserve some me time.
  3. Naps. ‘Nuff said.
  4. NO MORE PERIODS FOR 9 MONTHS.  THANK YOU JESUS.
  5. Not stressing about getting pregnant!

Take some time and think of your own! ❤

New Job Blues

I got a new job and I am kinda dreading the start of it. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be leaving my current job. Starting a new job is just…anxiety ridden.

It’s beyond the walking on eggshells to figure out which co-worker you can say what to, or is this a work friendship or are we carrying this outside of work? I can deal with small talk, the what did you do this weekend, and all that. You know what I am dreading?

“So, do you have kids?”

Sigh. Here we go. Do I explain that I have 2 kids, but they died? I can’t just leave it with “Yes”, because then they expect details. But do I really want the pitying look when I explain my kids are dead? Or even worse, the “Oh shit, I shouldn’t have asked that” deer-in-the-headlights look? Awkward.

It’s like it’s not enough that I lost 2 babes, but it has to be rubbed in whenever I make new friends/acquaintances. It puts me in such an weird place–I can’t say no, but saying yes makes it so complicated. I just wish it didn’t come up and I could share as I get closer to people on my own. But it is an unavoidable conversation–hence the anxiety.

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OBGYN Love <3

I think one of the most important things any pregnant or TTC woman can do is find an OB that they are comfortable with and trust. I will NEVER leave my OB–she has been with me through it all and even gave me her personal cell phone number when I was losing Nyla. She is an amazing listener, and I completely trust her advice.

We’ve all probably had some OBGYN’s that were okay, got the job done, but we didn’t love ’em. Before you are TTC or pregnant, all you really go for is your annual exam, so not loving your doctor isn’t that big of a deal. But once you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it is one of the most important relationships you can have. That office will be like a second home to you.

I had been through my fair share of doc’s, but my primary doctor referred me to my current OBGYN when I was first pregnant with Riley. I hadn’t even had my first appointment with her before I miscarried. I cancelled the appointment because I thought I wasn’t gonna need it. Surprise, 6 weeks later I needed that appointment!

I remember when I met her for the first time. My first thought was that she didn’t look anything like her picture online. But, any doubts I had were quickly dispelled by her real care and open personality.  After the first visit, I mostly saw her NP–who was also amazing. She was down to earth, and pegged my anxiety and need to be in control the second she walked into the room.

Unfortunately, neither of them were in the office when when I had the devastating ultrasound at 21 weeks. But once Nick and I had made the decision to let Nyla go to heaven early, I met with my doc to talk it all out.

She cried for me. My OB who had no doubt seen many of these tragedies before cried for me. She sobbed with me, hugged me, and she told me it wasn’t fair. She listened, comforted me, and promised me I would get through the next few days.

When I met with her for my follow up visit after the hospital; she made me feel not judged, cared for, and understood. Her office is warm and comforting, not sterile and cold. She sat with me and we talked for a long while, cried some more and hugged some more. She told me she could feel Nyla’s presence in the room–something most people would probably think was weird or unprofessional. I felt so comforted, I knew she could sense her. I felt more at peace and knew that Nyla would never leave me.

I will stay with this office for all my pregnancies–I receive amazing care from all the medical staff.

Ladies, do yourself a HUGE favor and find a doctor that you can relate to and trust as completely as I do. It will make a world of difference if God forbid, anything ever goes wrong. ❤

 

 

Pregnancy Preparations after Loss

There is a whole laundry list of things to do when you are trying to get pregnant–and your OB will hand you another folder of them when you visit. But what about PAL? How do you prepare for that??

I think the first thing to do is accept your emotions. No matter what time you start trying (right after loss, or father down the road), it is going to be emotional. I went thru a whole range of emotions and I waited a year and a half before I was willing to try again. Some emotions that PAL moms might experience are sadness, anxiety, anger, detachment, guilt, and fear.

Some moms find it helpful to have a “pre-conception” appointment with their OB. That way the couple can bring all their fears and/or concerns to the table and have them addressed by a medical professional. Any bloodwork or scans can be done at that time to reassure the couple. At that visit, couples can also ask for recommendations for therapists, Doulas, and any local pre-conception classes. This visit is a great time to talk about your risks for more miscarriages or stillbirths. Ask if this pregnancy will be considered “high-risk”, and if you need more bloodwork or more frequent check-ups. Don’t be afraid to write down all your questions and the answers. That way if you forget, you have something to look back at for a reference.

If you are TTC, it is also important to eat right, sleep, take vitamins and exercise.  Not only will this make you feel better, but your body will be in the best shape possible for a baby. It can be a good idea to take up yoga or meditation to help with your stress level. Make sure you start taking a prenatal vitamin to build up all the levels in your body. Exercise is great for weight management, cardiovascular health, and can help with any depression you may be feeling. As for eating right, stock your diet with protein, fruits/veggies, and whole grains. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as well! Sleep is also very important, so if you are having trouble, talk to your doctor to find a pregnancy safe sleep supplement.

Start cutting out unhealthy/not-allowed-during-pregnancy habits as well. Get a head start on smoking cessation, stop drinking alcohol, and start to limit your caffeine. Talk to your doctor about what medications are safe for pregnancy, and which ones you cannot take. This is always best to do in advance in case you have to try alternatives. Always easier to find out now that you don’t tolerate a certain substitution then when you are out of time because you are pregnant. This is especially important with mental health medications–not something you want to be changing overnight.

Let’s be honest though ladies. No matter how much we try to prepare we will never have it as easy as those first time moms. The ones who never have been touched by sadness or fear, or even think of the possibility that after 9 months of this hard work, there will be no baby to hold. PAL’s, do what you need to do to get through and enjoy this pregnancy. Remember your mantra! “Today my mind will focus on hope over fear”

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TTC day 7. I have been kinda of irritable and frustrated over the past few days, I’m wondering if it has anything to do with my hormones now that I am off birth control and past shark week #1. I also had a anxiety attack last night that got bad enough I took a Xanax. Whatever the reason, I am hoping it goes away soon.

Excitement meter: 5

Scared Shit-less meter:2

 

 

 

Mental Health during PAL

”You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen.” Kody Kiplinger

This is something I’m seriously worried about in my upcoming PAL. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and OCD joined the party as a coping mechanism. It was enough of a struggle during my pregnancy with Nyla as I had gone off all my meds, and now combined with all the upcoming emotions of a PAL–it scares me.

To help with this fear, I created a mental health game plan for when I become pregnant:

Actively use my mantra daily. Not just saying it to myself, but writing it down, telling it to someone, making a jingle, drawing it. Anything to keep it in the front of my mind so that it becomes my obsessive thought, silencing all of the anxious thoughts.

Regular exercise–not only is this healthy to do during pregnancy anyways, but it has been proven to help with depression and anxiety attacks.

Asking my OB for “in-between” visits where I can just come in to see the nurse, have my vitals checked, and be reassured that me and the babe are doing well.

Seeing my therapist frequently-like every 2 weeks even if I feel like I need it or not. I have had the same therapist since I  was 18, and I love her. She has been there for me through it all and I trust her completely.

Staying on some medication. This is where I am so torn. The ideal thing to do when you are pregnant is to take nothing but a prenatal vitamin. However, when I  stopped all meds with Nyla, I was an emotional mess. This time around I know I’ll be even worse because it is a PAL. I decided that the right thing for both me and my babe is to have the least stressful pregnancy possible–and that means staying on some of my meds. I refuse to take any meds that aren’t considered “safe” for pregnancy like my xanax, but plan on continuing my prozac and buspar at the lowest dose that works.

Not doing anything pregnancy related alone. Obviously the hubs will be there for all the doctor’s appointments and scans, but if I go out and buy baby things I’ll be taking someone with me. I need someone like my mother-in-law or close friends who understand if I have a complete meltdown in Babies’R’Us and need to GTFO of the store in 30 seconds or less.

Keep writing! Blogging is so helpful to me, so get ready for a roller coaster of posts!

What else do you PAL moms do to keep your worries/mental health in check while pregnant?

❤ to all TTC PAL moms!

 

Developing a TTC Mantra

A lot of PAL moms have said that they found it helpful to have a positive affirmation, or mantra to repeat to themselves while trying to conceive and another one while they are pregnant. Today I am going to make my TTC mantra.

To start, what is a mantra? Originally from Hinduism or Buddhism it is defined as “a word or sound to aid in the concentration to meditation.” I think we need to take a quick look at the word meditation as well–I know when I see the word I think of people sitting cross-legged on the floor humming “Ooooohhmmmm”.

Meditation (for our use) is defined as a practice where a person focuses their mind on a particular thought to become mentally clear and emotionally calmer. To put all this together; a mantra is a PAL mom using a phrase that they came up with to help keep their minds clear of negative thoughts, and help with the inevitable emotional roller coaster that comes with TTC. Sounds like a pretty good idea–especially for my anxious personality!

I did some research on basic mantra’s and found that most seem to start with an I statement such as “I deserve”, “I possess” or  “I feel”. Now, every PAL mom has to have a mantra that works for her, and I’m not a big I statement person. Doing some deeper digging, I found mantra’s that were created differently.

The mantra’s I saw all had the same basic principle to them. Positive, personal, and in the present. Let’s break it down. I don’t think I need to explain why a mantra should be positive so lets move to personal. I think that the personal part of a mantra is generally why the common ones use I statements. You want to create a phrase that focuses on you–the pregnant mom. Examples of keeping it personal include “I”, “me”, “my”, “you” and any variation of those words.

This is not to say that it is wrong to create a mantra for you and your baby’s other parental figure. Everyone is different and a PAL mom needs to find what works for her.

Let’s address in the present. The importance of keeping the mantra in the present is to focus on the here and now, not the past pregnancy. I would encourage staying away from adding phrases like “This will not be like my last pregnancy” to your mantra as I think while it is positive, it has the ability to pull you right back into the past by referencing the negative ending of your previous pregnancy. Use words like “today”, and “now” .

So TTC PAL moms, put one together! Here is my TTC mantra.

“Today my mind will focus on hope over fear”

 

Announcements -Yay or Nay?

I have a long drive to work and back home so I try to use that time to really think over an issue that I need to resolve. I think about it during that time because otherwise my anxiety will perseverate on it all day. So, my therapist once said to pick a time of day to do all your thinking/worrying and get it all out in that allotted space of time. I have to say, it actually works pretty well.

So, my latest issue to resolve is whether or not to do a pregnancy announcement when we are finally pregnant. If you have never experienced a pregnancy loss ( and I pray to God none of you ever will) you won’t understand why this is such a hard decision. It’s a decision that every PAL couple has to make–and everyone makes a different decision. Any decision on the matter is never wrong. PAL affects everyone differently, and every couple has to make the decision that is right for them.

I personally am torn. Announcements are really fun to do, you can tailor them to your likes and preferences, and pretty much everyone enjoys them! But, what am I supposed to do if I put one up and miscarry or have a stillbirth yet again? Take it down and pretend like it was never was announced? That seems disrespectful to my child. But I can’t just leave it up there because them people will think I am still pregnant. Do I want to do a death announcement? Then I have to deal with condolences from everyone–and come to terms that my child is really dead. That reality can take a very long time to sink it and in my opinion, should never be rushed. We all grieve differently.

I think the heart of the issue culminates in the thought “Do I want people to know I’m pregnant or not?” If I tell people, then I have support and shared excitement. But if I don’t tell people and the babe passes–then I don’t have to talk to anyone about it. But let’s be honest, even if babe #3 passes, I will still talk about him/her like I have with my first 2. I never answer the question “Do you have children?” with a no. I’m proud that I’m a mom, and seek to fight the stigma about talking miscarriage/stillbirth. I will be the first person that talks about my experience with child loss and my kids.

But, there comes a point in pregnancy that everyone can tell you’re pregnant–no avoiding the obvious bump protruding from you. But, until you get to that stage, you can hide it. I didn’t make a big deal out of my previous pregnancies, but I did let most people know.

It’s tempting to just sit back and let people figure it out once I’m past the  “Is she just fat or pregnant?”  stage. I am leaning toward a compromise to the situation. I love doing the cute announcements and I think I deserve the good feelings and excitement it brings, so I will do some for my close friends and family. However, I will leave myself the choice to do a mass announcement if I feel like it later on. There is no point making a decision that I might change when I’m 5 months pregnant–no matter how much my OCD likes everything nailed down into place!

Now for an update on TTC Day 5.

Today my “Scared Shit-less” meter was at a 2, and my “Excitement” meter was still at an 8.

Nick and I had friends over, and after settling down on the couch with a glass of wine I started talking to my friend “A” about trying again. Just telling another friend that we are planning on being pregnant again felt good.  I feel like I am fighting the stigma of not talking about miscarriage or still birth by just telling my friends that we are trying. I’m not gonna keep quiet out of fear that something bad is going to happen again. I WILL have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

However, the “Red Death” showed up today (sorry folks, if you are reading my blog you are gonna get period talk!) and informed me that I am not pregnant this month. Not a shocker as we just started trying, but there is always a little hope that I’ll get pregnant right away. I think this is responsible for my slight spike in the “Scared Shit-less” meter. The longer it takes to get pregnant, the more I will try to second guess my decision (thanks a bunch anxiety).

Due to shark week (ugh), there will be a brief hiatus from the “TTC” series until it is time to “TTC” again.

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If anyone has any topic that they think that I should write on, please comment. I am thinking up new ones everyday, but would never mind some input. Some of this next weeks entries will be on the following:

Having a healthy Mantra to repeat

How do you feel about the phrase “Rainbow” baby?

The guilt of complaining about symptoms while PAL

Dealing with depression and anxiety during a PAL