I don’t know about you, but I find pregnancy anxiety-inducing enough without throwing a global pandemic into the mix. At times like this it’s easy to let your anxiety bloom and grow into something unmanageable.
That’s exactly where I found myself a matter of weeks ago. Spending every waking hour fretting about events in the future that may or may not happen. About how this new virus could affect my baby and whether we would even be able to afford to support ourselves by the time this was all over.
I was ruining my entire pregnancy experience and most likely not doing my baby any favours.
So I decided to make a few changes to keep my pregnancy anxiety under control and ensure as happy an experience as possible.
Stop Worrying About Things Outside of My Control
At some point I came to the realisation that I was worrying about things that were totally out of my control.
Sure, I could isolate myself to reduce exposure to the virus and plan ahead financially as much as possible. But that’s it. Decisions on whether I am able to leave the house, socialise and go to work have been taken completely out of my hands.
As disturbing as that is, when the reality of the situation finally sunk in I felt a new sense of calm wash over me. I realised that I have absolutely no choice but to make the best of a bad situation and that excessive worry about the future would do precisely zero.
Part of this mindset shift involved a significant scaling back of the amount of news and social media I was consuming. I was devouring information on Covid-19 at an alarming rate and thinking about about it from morning to night.
I now allow myself just an hour in the mornings to catch up on the news but after that I listen to music, watch movies and go for walks. Anything to give me a bit of escape from this new reality.
Try to Do Normal Pregnancy Things
This pregnancy is far from normal. Where possible, appointments are now done by phone and Dom is no longer able to go into scans and hospital appointments with me. And I’m not able to do all those things I planned like going to baby classes and pregnancy yoga. But, I guess these are very much first world problems.
In the meantime, I am trying to keep everything else as normal as possible. Looking at baby names, planning the nursery, reading up on what to expect as new parents. We are living through crazy times but I still want to enjoy this pregnancy as much as possible.
Seek Help When Needed
Given my previous history with depression and an eating disorder, I would have needed additional mental health assistance anyway during my pregnancy. Add into that a previous miscarriage and a healthy dose of coronavirus anxiety and that support is now very much essential.
I made sure to seek that help early on to ensure that I am sufficiently looking after my mental health during this time.
Both pregnancy and this new pandemic lifestyle seem largely out of my control at the minute. Even when doing everything I can to ensure a healthy pregnancy, I can’t shake that worry that something may still go wrong.
One thing that I do have within my control though, is my health. Exercise is a bit restricted and fresh food can sometimes be tough to get hold of but in general, I am eating well and staying active.
It’s such a simple thing but feeling as though I am looking after the wellbeing of me and my baby makes me feel a little more in control and helps calm that pregnancy anxiety.
When all else fails, try distraction. I’m trying to avoid spending every day binge watching Netflix as that allows me too much thinking time and is a sure fire way for me to sink into a depressed and anxious spiral.
So I’m putting a lot of effort into staying busy and engaged and taking up new hobbies where I can. I’m writing, reading, doing photography again, cooking, baking and planning to learn a new language and try my hand at some painting.
I guess none of this is rocket science, but it can sometimes be difficult to see the wood for the trees when you’re feeling anxious and it’s the little things that make all the difference.