Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Anxiety in Pregnancy

I am quite an anxious person. I'm the "Shit, did I just offend her?" kind of anxious, rather than the "Can't walk into a room of strangers" type of anxious, but it's always a voice in my head. For the past few years I've definitely had it under control- I would say there's probably been 1 or 2 days in a year where I've felt like I can't do something because of 'anxiety'. I've gotten pretty good at managing things that are going to put me into that 'zone' and avoiding them entirely. Not the best coping strategy in all cases, but it works for me.

Being pregnant has definitely exacerbated my anxiety. The other night I was home alone between around 4pm and 1am. This would usually be a DREAM for me (bath, book, chocolate, bed, film, sleep) but instead it was just awful. I spent the entire night counting down the hours until my husband came home. I was stressed, I was restless, I jumped at every sound, and I was convinced that there were burglars downstairs on three separate occasions. We have a home alarm system with surveillance cameras fitted and I think I requested photos from those cameras twice during the night just to check that there wasn't a murderer sat on my sofa in silence. I turned on all the lights in the house and then worried that I was creating a lighthouse effect and everybody who walked past my house would be drawn to the light like a criminal moth. I turned off all the lights and suddenly the house was full of intruders. I sat in bed bolt upright watching YouTube videos until my husband walked through the door and immediately felt like a total idiot for being so worried.

In another fun twist I've also found that I am super wary of being outside at night. I went for dinner with a friend last week and spent the entire meal trying to work out whether it would be dark by the time I had to make my way home. It got dark. I'm fine when I'm in the car, but I had to do a sort of "hold your breath and leg it" from the car to my front door (which was a distance of around 20 feet, max). Nothing has ever happened to make me anxious about being outside when it's dark. I do not know where the hell this fear has come from.

Next on the list of 'things that Sian is anxious about' are sudden flashes of "Something is going to happen at this exact moment to make someone I love die". This is very similar to that feeling that you have when you're driving somewhere and get the sensation that you could easily drive the car off the road, except it's more situational than that. The other day my husband was filling up the car at a petrol station and I could shake the notion that a car was going to come crashing into him and kill him. My friend was messaging me whilst waiting for a train and all I could think about was "That train is going to de-rail". I know it's irrational and the feeling passes as quickly as it creeps up on me, but it is something that has definitely gotten worse as my pregnancy has progressed.

I feel like this is a natural part of becoming somebody who will soon be in charge of keeping a tiny human alive. Never has imminent responsibility felt so huge, and I'm sure it's natural that it would be something that plays on your mind in the months leading up to the birth.

At the moment I'm coping by giving myself a stern talking to every time I start to fixate on something that I know is irrational and driven by anxiety which seems to placate the fears for now. I've spoken to a lot of new mums, all of whom were terrified that they would unwittingly do something that would hurt their baby. Naturally, they all raised healthy happy babies which gives me some peace.

More on this as the third trimester develops...

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