“What if…” ruining my pregnancy

(20 Posts)
TreeRoad Mon 14-Jun-21 22:45:57

Just looking for any advice or any lived experiences.

I’m 14w6d pregnant with my first baby and worrying over things going wrong is ruining my pregnancy.

The baby is IUI conceived if that makes a difference (same sex couple) and we were able to conceive fairly quickly. I’m in my early 30s so this may or may not be the only baby.

So far, my pregnancy has been uncomplicated and issue-free. No cramps, bleeding or any other scary moments. Things could not be going more smoothly. I have no medical conditions, no history of miscarriage and no risk factors.

In spite of this, I find my mind is preoccupied with worrying about things going wrong. In the early days, I was worried about a chemical pregnancy or a missed miscarriage.
Now that I’m a bit further on, I have such intrusive thoughts about going for a scan and there being no heartbeat, early labour where they baby can’t survive…you name it.

I do try to stay away from Google but to be honest my imagination doesn’t need a search engine to come up with awful situations.

I feel terrible for thinking this way because I know that people do have to face this daily in real life, and I just look like some self-centred brat who only thinks of themselves.

I don’t want to think this way. I imagined my pregnancy to be full of fun and excitement and this is casting such a shadow. I’m becoming short tempered and generally not a nice person to be around and I desperately want to find ways to chill out and stop this constant thinking. It’s exhausting.

Any help, advice, tough love or suggestions are most welcome. 😀

OP’s posts: |
Lovethewinter Tue 15-Jun-21 00:31:39

Sorry you are feeling this way @TreeRoad intrusive thoughts are horrible. I would definitely mention them to your midwife at your next appointment, especially as it sounds like they are starting to impact your daily life.

Personally I have always had some intrusive thoughts and OCD had developed as my coping mechanism. I never even realised this until they went off the charts after I had my baby and I ended up needing some mental health support with post natal depression caused by it.
When I look back, I realise it was worsening during pregnancy but I didn't realise at the time!
Would also really recommend the 'headspace' app - it gives good techniques for being mindful of thoughts and can help you sleep if that's becoming a problem.

RainingZen Tue 15-Jun-21 03:58:24

My local library has gone online during lockdown and has some fabulous books (tbh mainly aimed at teens) on anxiety and how to diy basic cbt and how to manage anxiety. Easy reads. Why not see if you can track down some library books to help?

The key to intrusive thoughts is to accept the thought, and then set it aside using rational self-talk to explain to yourself why that nasty thought shouldn't be given headspace.

Find some activities that distract you - eg go for a long walk, knit a baby hat,.listen to music and have a dance.

For example, "that fear about the baby having no heartbeat is very upsetting. But I'm doing all the right things to help my baby stay healthy, and the risk is very small. I'm going to have a long bath and listen to music because the baby likes music and it will make us both feel less stressed out."

TreeRoad Tue 15-Jun-21 07:29:39

@Lovethewinter Thanks for your response. I had briefly considered mentioning it to the midwife but true to form, my first thought was that she’d put me on some “baby is at risk” list and that wasn’t an option anymore.

I think I do have OCD. I hate these thoughts and I get absolutely nothing out of them - they’re not for attention, sympathy or any other “benefit”. It’s exhausting to get up every morning knowing that’s what’s on the agenda yet again.

I’ll download that app this morning, thank you. I’ve read that those thoughts only have the power you give them so maybe I can take a bit of control back that way.

OP’s posts: |
TreeRoad Tue 15-Jun-21 07:33:06

@RainingZen thanks for your response. I’ve read similar tips online about actively not “running” from them and accepting they’re there, but rationalising and talking yourself down before you get to the stage where you’re convinced the worst has already happened.

No doubt takes a bit of practice, but I’ve nothing to lose of course.

I definitely want to address this now because I know that once the baby is born, there’ll be 10,000 other things for me to worry about. It’s no way to live.

OP’s posts: |
AnxiousAnnie86 Tue 15-Jun-21 07:46:48

@TreeRoad morning! Congratulations!! Sorry you are feeling like this, anxiety has totally ruined my pregnancy, I had a MC and then took a year to conceive again, all through this pregnancy I have kept saying I can't imagine this ending in me bringing a baby home, I have been exactly the same moody etc when people tell me everything "will be fine" I get angry... I still have these awful feelings now and have a planned c section on Friday! I just cannot imagine everything being okay,

My advice would honestly be speak to your midwife, I got referred to a mental health team, not as awful as it sounds! It's for anxiety only, and they teach you CBT, I started too late, but think I will continue it for if we decide to have another.

Just remember you are not the only one feeling like this. Try getting yourself to milestones thays how I've coped 20 week scan, 24 week viability 28 week survival chances are so high. That's what got me through. I also booked some additional private scans. It does get easier when you start to feel movement too....

Xx

Lovethewinter Tue 15-Jun-21 09:18:29

@TreeRoad I completely understand the worry about telling the midwife - my intrusive thoughts have started to rear their head again a bit and I was reluctant to tell her when she asked me about my anxiety at my last appointment because I feel silly.
They are really hot on pregnant women/new mums and mental health now and she's offered me lots of options for support which even after last time I feel silly taking!
In the end for me last time I needed to take sertraline (anti depressant considered safe when breastfeeding) and that is what nipped it in the bud but hopefully it might not get to that point this time. Please don't be worried about seeking help - they are there to support you!

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shivawn Tue 15-Jun-21 09:37:17

Congrats on your pregnancy OP! I'm glad to hear that everything is going really well from a physiological point of view!

I think everyone has these worries to a certain extent but if you've identified that it's making you bad tempered and unpleasant to be around then it sounds like it's effecting you more than most. Are you busy in your everyday life? I always feel that staying busy helps with a happy mind. Hopefully you'll start feeling movements in the next 4-8 weeks and that's massive reassurance too.

Izzy24 Tue 15-Jun-21 09:40:51

Your midwife will want to support you OP.

Please tell her how you are feeling. Many women feel similar emotions to you for a whole host of different reasons.

You deserve to enjoy this pregnancy- what an amazing thing you are doing!

TreeRoad Tue 15-Jun-21 15:43:43

Thanks for the replies everyone. I was expecting at least one “oh grow up” type message but it’s really nice to see the supportive ones.

Good luck for Friday @AnxiousAnnie86 ! Enjoy your last couple of nights of sleep. 😉

@shivawn I am busy, yeah. I work full time in a demanding job and have stepchildren who live with us full time, so my day is crammed most of the time. I can’t imagine how much worse I’d be if I didn’t work or have the SC around.

A couple of you mentioned feeling movements - I think that’ll be such a relief. I’m hoping I feel them at the earlier end of the typical timeframe of 18-22 weeks. I think a wee kick here and there would be a nice reminder that all is going well.

Thanks again for all of the replies - it’s good to know that it’s not literally just me! 😊

OP’s posts: |
Sleeplessem Tue 15-Jun-21 16:09:54

@TreeRoad sorry you’re struggling right now. This was me in my first pregnancy. I’d recommend reaching out and asking for a referral to your trusts mental health midwife- helped me a lot.

I’m an anxious person in general and I’ve found that fellow worriers tend to explore the negative what ifs. So a little challenge I’ve set myself is to try and flip it, explore the positive what ifs ‘ so what if this is the best thing that’s ever happened’ ‘ what if this changes my life in a beautiful way’. This has really helped me. Hope it can help you too! Xx

TreeRoad Tue 15-Jun-21 18:03:34

@Sleeplessem That’s a good idea! I’m going to actively try to do that. Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
LunaDreams Tue 15-Jun-21 18:30:40

@TreeRoad congratulations on your pregnancy!

I feel exactly the same and it is horrible and often overwhelming so please don't diminish how you feel.

I had a miscarriage scare at the start of my pregancy followed by numerous further scares about other things, largely due to midwife errors and miscommunication. I have anxiety and depression anyway but my pregnancy experiences have made my anxiety rocket sky high...like you, specific to something bad happening to baby.

I agree that feeling movement does help, although I found I still worried about growth/whether enough movement etc.

I burst into tears at my last MW appointment when they asked how I was feeling emotionally about it all so my plan to not tell them failed! I have since been referred to a antenatal mental health midwife team. I have my first appointment tomorrow so can't day how it is but feels a relief just to know someone is recognising how I'm feeling.

I would definitely advise mentioning it to your MW and looking up some anxiety management CBT online. I will let you know if I get anything useful from tomorrow. Remember you aren't alone in feeling like this xx

thingymaboob Tue 15-Jun-21 18:42:05

@TreeRoad I had severe anxiety and OCD in my last pregnancy. I had repetitive thoughts about toxoplasmosis and listeria. I'd read hundreds of articles about the risks. I am now an expert in them! I'd rinse all plates / cups before using them (they were out of cupboard from dishwasher). It was exhausting. I was referred for CBT by the mental health midwives. Ask your midwife for a referral to the perinatal mental health team. They were great. Good luck and all the best.

French2020 Tue 15-Jun-21 18:56:49

Hi OP, just to say I feel like this too. I am 15 weeks and the anxiety before the scan and then waiting for screening results was crippling for me. Fortunately that was ok, but the what it if is still there. I generally have anxiety and did mention it at booking but she said they wouldn’t raise it unless something happened.

MyCatDribbles Tue 15-Jun-21 19:06:58

I’ve had to have CBT due to obsessive thinking from pregnancy losses and if there’s one phrase that really helps now I’m 12 weeks pregnant it’s

*THOUGHTS AREN’T FACTS*

wombatspoopcubes Tue 15-Jun-21 19:12:01

I had 5 losses before I had my daughter, so yeah, I know all about worrying about the pregnancy. It does get better once you've had the 20 week scan (which is soooo thorough) and you feel movement. There comes a time where you just start to believe that the most likely outcome is a healthy take home baby.

I also think that it is quite common to get extra worried just before scans etc. That's when the "what ifs" get louder. I have several friends who felt the same so it wasn't just me.

Good luck with your pregnancy.

TreeRoad Tue 15-Jun-21 19:34:26

Thank you, everyone, for the replies. It seems like it’s actually far more common than I thought. I guess people often suffer in silence and all you really see is people enjoying every minute of their pregnancy and having no worries at all.

I think part of me has these thoughts because something inside me thinks that if something did go wrong, I’d be prepared because I’d already thought of it. Of course it doesn’t work like that, but this all feels like an attempt at self-protection.

@MyCatDribbles I think “thoughts aren’t facts” will be my mantra. It’s absolutely correct but not always easy to employ that thought in the midst of an anxious moment, of course.

OP’s posts: |
MissChanandlerBong90 Tue 15-Jun-21 20:33:34

I really sympathise OP. In my first pregnancy I really struggled with this, to the point I just couldn’t see how I would possibly ever be lucky enough to take a live baby home. Spoiler: I took a live baby home and he is now two.

I agree with others who say it gets so much better after 20 weeks. I really think the first trimester and the early part of the second trimester are just so brutal for anxiety.

Very best of luck flowers

MissChanandlerBong90 Tue 15-Jun-21 20:55:49

OP, just to add - something that helped a little bit in my first pregnancy was joining a pregnancy yoga class. Just helped me to relax, quiet my mind a bit, and it was really helpful to be around other pregnant mums - made me feel less alone. This was pre-Covid so I know they might be harder to find now or you may not be comfortable going to an in-person session but something to think about maybe?

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