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Neurotic about health at best of times - how the hell will I cope if I get pg?

(9 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Fri 09-Sep-11 13:46:15

Already posted this elsewhere but thinking about it, this is the obvious forum!

I've put off the decision to try for a baby for YEARS because either I wasn't sure, or it wasn't the right time (just another version of me not being sure ) but now I think I've reached the point where I'm ready. I do want a child, I know I do, and I think about it all the time at the moment, in happy and positive ways, which is better than abject panic!

But I keep lying awake at night worrying about the reality of being preg (if I'm lucky and can conceive, that is). I'm obsessively anxious about my health at the best of times (it would be funny if it weren't a real PITA) and a control freak to end all control freakery about things changing and going 'wrong' with my body. I've had eating disorders in the past (better now) and though I'm not so shallow as to say anything silly about not wanting to get fat, the reality is that i struggle with losing control over my body, which I know pregnancy would bring.

I honestly think I'd be a good mum (I'd certainly try) I'm not that neurotic about other stuff and I've tried so hard to get to a place in my life where a baby is just really wanted and would be very loved. But now I'm approaching the time to start trying, I'm really freaking out about the reality of pregnancy (and don't even get me started on childbirth). I'm 35 so can't keep putting this off forever, and anyway I do want this. But is it realistic when I can't even manage a tummyache without assuming it's fatal (I'm only slightly exaggerating) and when I have successfully got to grips with an eating disorder only by taking back control over my body and not letting the way my body feels control me?

Anyone who's had similar experiences or would just like to give me a kick in the bum, please please give me your advice!

girliefriend Fri 09-Sep-11 13:51:01

I think this mght be a good time to start facing a few of your body demons, maybe some counselling would help? Have you got a supportive partner/family?

emeraldgirl1 Fri 09-Sep-11 13:58:51

hi girliefriend - I have actually had counselling in the past for body issues, it helped hugely and though I don't think you can ever say you get over these things completely, I'm 180 degrees from where I was 10ish years ago. I do know that I still have my issues but I've worked out good (and healthy) ways of making sure I feel on top of it IYSWIM. I guess it's a combo of that and the health anxiety that makes me think I'm not cut out for this pregnancy lark at all. sad

Supportive family - absolutely not, sadly. Supportive friends, yes, some of them, but I really struggle to talk to anybody about this kind of thing. DH is absolutely great about the body issue stuff but (though he's keen on having a baby) he's a typical man and gets panicked by the mere thought of 'lady-health troubles', so I know the moment I got stressed about something 'not being right' he'd be all at sea too!

phlossie Fri 09-Sep-11 14:01:06

I agree with girliefriend. I also think couple counselling is a good plan, because you'll need absolute support from your partner.

Pregnancy is hard work - it takes over your entire body, not just bump and bigger boobs, there are lots of physical symptoms. You may have heard the term baby brain - I have a few friends who struggled with being forgetful and ditzy. Plus changes to your hormones can make it harder to be objective about things.

I, like all parents, would say that it's all absolutely worth it! I'm pregnant with my 3rd baby at the moment. Although it does vary from place to place, I have found antenatal care very thorough and supportive - midwives and hospitals would rather help you overcome anxieties than face them on your own. And you won't be the only person who has had these kinds of issues - in fact someone posted on here the other day about his wife who has bullimia.

Best of luck to you!

emeraldgirl1 Fri 09-Sep-11 14:07:45

phlossie - thank you so much - your post has made me very emotional!! Great advice and I love to hear people say that it's worth it! Good luck to you with your third - I am in awe of you!

yummymango Fri 09-Sep-11 14:09:02

Hi emeraldgirl
I am similar to you in the fact that I have issues with my health and generally think the worst about every pain. I spend hours googling symptoms and trying to self-diagnose. Apparently they call it health anxiety these days.
Anyway, I am also 35 and decided I couldn't put it off any longer and to be honest I have been absolutely fine. I don't think I have had any more anxiety than the next pregnant person - and after all there is a BIG reason for that pain or symptom so it's not the same as the fear of not-knowing what is causing something.
I just wanted to reassure you that maybe it won't be as bad as you think, or it certainly hasn't been for me. However I am just coming up for 38 weeks so childbirth is looming and I am not quite sure how I feel about that....!!
Good luck, and don't leave it too long, it took us a year to get pregnant.

notlettingthefearshow Fri 09-Sep-11 14:22:31

I think this is one of those situations when you shouldn't analyse things too much and just go for it! Since you know you want a baby, pregnancy is the only way. You may surprise yourself with how you take to it.

1. The focus is on the baby, not you. All the changes that happen to your body are because of the baby, and you won't have the same control over how you feel as normal. This may mean that you eat more - or less - than normal for various reasons. You have to try to stay healthy in pregnancy for your baby and that should be incentive to put your own body image second. I guess this will be the same once the baby is born - you will want to eat well and be confident about your body because you want your baby to pick up on this.

2. The changes may not be as drastic as you think. Not everyone gets morning sickness, or huge boobs (I'm over half way through and no change) or even gain all that much weight. Not everyone For every person who has baby brain, another one will say she noticed no change at all. So it's actually very hard to predict what your pregnancy. This may not be good for a control freak to hear - but the experience might be far more enjoyable than you think! Many women love being pregnant. I know I do, and if i'd known how happy it would make me, I might have done it years ago!
I'm 35 too and also got to the age when I thought I would never forgive myself if I put it off the way I put everything off and then could not conceive.

I also think having a sense of humour, as you clearly do, makes SUCH a big difference with something like pregnancy - when your partner has to hoist you off the sofa, or you're sending him down to get you ice cream in the middle of the night, or you get some odd advice/reactions from people - it really is an experience like no other!

I should say that I don't have any experience of this as such - I was fat to start and being pregnant now feel delighted to be proud of my bump - so i apologise if what I'm saying is oversimplistic.

Good luck!

emeraldgirl1 Fri 09-Sep-11 14:37:49

yummymango and notlettingthefearshow - what lovely and thoughtful replies, thank you so much! It had never occurred to me that you might actually be able to ENJOY this, and/or that having a sense of humour was an asset that might be worth something! Funny how you get tunnel vision and focus only on 1 or 2 things!

Yes, notlettingthefeearshow, I really LOVE the idea that a baby would STOP ME FROM OBSESSING ABOUT MYSELF FOR A CHANGE - I think this can happen, and I'd do everything I could to make sure it did (mostly wink). I'd like to think that body changes won't be that drastic, they weren't for my mother, whose body shape I've inherited, though I am already 10 years older than her when she had her LAST baby!! My sister ballooned to the size of (a big) house, but then she did get the most amazing baby boy and girl out of her pregnancies so it was worth it. She has been extremely unhappy about trying (and failing) to shift the weight, though, and I know I couldn't handle that if it were me. You're right, I would never want to pass on negative feelings about myself to a baby if I could help it, so I would really need to prioritise that, from a personal POV.

Best of luck to you both, so wonderful to hear such lovely stories from the 35 year old ladies out there! 35 is where it's at as far as I'm concerned, I've never been happier or more confident (yes, I really WAS a wreck in my twenties!) so I don't think there could be a better time to start trying.

notlettingthefearshow Fri 09-Sep-11 15:08:54

I agree about 35! Never been happier. I was a mess in my 20s too although it did involve having some fun! I've been with DH for 5 years but was not ready to try for baby until I was 34. The great thing about being a bit older is that you do feel genuinely lucky and you have contemplated a life without children. Also I think the life experience means it takes a lot to throw you and you care less what people think. I never took it for granted I would actually meet someone and have kids, so I'm happy to take pregnancy and motherhood for what it is. Bring it on!

Pregnancy can be highly entertaining I promise, and you'll meet a wealth of hysterical characters - I have been keeping a pregnancy diary of incidents and quotes to remind me of this when I feel sorry for myself!

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