Congratulations, you are finally pregnant! With the improved technology and variety of fertility treatments, more and more “infertile” couples are getting pregnant than ever before. After many months, or more likely, years, you have reached your goal. But for many women, the years of emotional turmoil linked with infertility does not magically disappear with a positive pregnancy test. You dreamed of the day your doctor called with a positive pregnancy test, and now that your dream has been realized, your thoughts are filled with worry, anxiety — that is, the same feelings you had when you were going through infertility treatments. Not to say you have feelings of pure joy, but that joy is probably doing battle with fear and anxiety.
First, it is important to remember that this is normal and you are not alone. It is very common for infertility patients to feel more anxious just because they have wanted this pregnancy for so long and have worked so hard to get it. Many women who have experienced infertility are older, which increased the risk of the pregnancy, or some have experienced recurrent miscarriages.
Here are four to cope with your worries, anxieties, and fear, and begin to feel happier during your pregnancy.
- Learn and Practice Relaxation Techniques. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery can help calm your thoughts and begin the path to more optimistic thinking.
- Rethink your thoughts. Consider asking yourself 4 questions when faced with fearful or anxiety producing thoughts. Ali Domar writes about this technique in her book “Conquering Infertility”.
Question 1: Is this thought helpful?
Question 2. Where is this thought coming from?
Questions 3: Is it logical?
Question 4: Is it true?
Here is a real life situation as an example.
You may be thinking “This pregnancy is not going to have a positive outcome. I am never going to be a mother.”
First is this thought helpful?” No, of course not. by thinking that you are never going to be a mother, is an all or nothing thought – which leaves you feeling stressed and anxious.
Where is this thought coming from? t could be coming from something from your past such as having a mother whose self worth was determined by her ability to have children and raise them. Or, it could simple be the just he fear inside of you talking. By determining where the thought comes from, you can face it and take away the power it has over you.
Is it logical? Although is may be possible for you to lose the pregnancy, if your doctor does not have any concerns, it is not likely. The majority of pregnancies, after they get past a couple of weeks, are not lost.
Is it true? No. These thoughts are not true. You are only speculating. You can restructure your thoughts to “There is a high probability that I can carry this pregnancy to term”
- Take Care of Yourself. Women are often conditioned to take care of others, focusing on need or their spouses, significant others, family members, or even to their co-workers. Now it’s time to practice some self-care skills. Give yourself permission to take time each day to do something that makes you feel good. Take a nap, get a manicure, take an art class, watch your favorite movie. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, just as long as it makes you feel good, and it is something you would not normally do for yourself.
- Stay connected to those that understand. Many women have found tremendous support from others in the infertility community during their infertility treatments through support groups, and involvement with RESOLVE, a national infertility organization. Staying connected to people you who have had a similar journey to parenthood, and have had healthy pregnancies with successful outcomes is another way to overcome anxiety and begin to feel more joyful and optimistic about your pregnancy.