Motherhood can come with lots of anxiety or anxious thoughts. Many women begin to experience anxiety during pregnancy and those anxieties sometimes continue after birth and beyond.
When I thought I was pregnant, I was happy. I sent my husband to the best place to get pregnancy tests, The Dollar Store. When I had taken one that read positive, I decided to take three more, just to make sure The Dollar Store wasn’t trying to trick me.
They all read positive. I lined them up on the bathroom counter and showed my husband; we were pregnant!
Although we were excited to be having our first baby, we decided to postpone sharing the news. My husband was ready to share the news right away, but I wanted to wait. I didn’t want the attention or the barrage of well-wishers, until we were further along because I was dealing with several anxious thoughts.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE ANXIETY
Anxiety manifests in many ways and although there isn’t a cure, we find different ways to manage our anxieties. To manage anxieties, we must first acknowledge their presence.
I enjoy reading because I have a big imagination. Good writers can take me on a journey with their words. This is great, right? Well, my imagination sometimes goes wild for more than stories from great storytellers, my mind sometimes takes me on what if journeys with the words and stories I tell myself. This happened during my pregnancy:
- What if the food I was eating was harming my baby?
- What if I have a miscarriage?
- What if there are complications?
- What if my birth plan isn’t right?
- What if I have to have an emergency cesarean?
- What if the cord is around babies neck?
- What if the baby gets too stressed during birth?
- What if the air was too polluted and particles were getting to baby?
- What if the baby…?
It was difficult not to be anxious with so many what if thoughts. Then, when my mind settled a bit from these thoughts, it allowed me to worry about my ability to a kick ass mom:
- How would I protect my child from all that is wrong in the world?
- How could I shield her from all the isms (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.)?
- How could I keep all harm and danger away from my precious little one?
I had to acknowledge that I was experiencing anxiety and figure out a way to manage it.
Does your mind ever head straight for what if land? Do you have anxious thoughts?
Here are some tools to help manage anxiety.
5 SUPER EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MANAGE ANXIETY
If you are a person of faith, prayer is a great way to get out of your head. With prayer you begin to focus on God’s words and destiny for your life and the life of your family.
When you believe that a higher power is in control, worrying about all the what ifs becomes useless. It doesn’t mean you don’t worry, but with reminders you begin to find comfort in the words that God promised.
Matthew 6:25-34: verse 34 (NIV) reads, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”.
1 Peter 5:7 reads “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”.
God is in control and allowing yourself to let go of anxious thoughts can start with trusting in His word.
2. Intentional thoughtfulness
Motherhood is filled with many sleepless nights, this allows us lots of time to think. Trying to control your thoughts or reorganize them is a great way to handle anxiety. It’s challenging negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It can be implemented quickly and easily.
For each anxious thought, try to think of a positive thought.
Example: You may think, what if I am unable to give my child the time he or she deserves. Instead, challenge that thought will a positive thought. Think, …I will do all I can to give my child the time he or she deserves, even if I have to make some life changes.
Do this for each negative thought that comes your way. A journal is a great way to get these thoughts out of your headspace.
Sharing your anxieties out loud with someone you trust can be helpful.
When we think things in our head, sometimes they stay there unchallenged. Sharing our thoughts with a friend or a family member may provide relief and allow us to examine how real or unreal those anxious thoughts really are.
Sometimes, hearing your thoughts out loud is enough for you to realize whether or not you are being overly critical or unreasonable.
Exercise is great for anxiety and stress relief.
According to this source, exercise is vital for mental fitness. Researchers explain, 5 or more minutes of physical activity can increase endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that can decrease pain perception and increase happy feelings.
So, if you are feeling anxious a simple 10-minute walk may be the remedy you need. Anxiety isn’t expected to just disappear, but you can get several hours of relief.
If you are seeking more long-term assistance, under the instruction of a medical provider, you can engage in more consist exercise routines. Research shows that people who live active lifestyles are less likely to develop anxiety disorders and cope with stress better.
Also, it is no secret that consistent physical activity has several other great health benefits for the mind and body.
5. Medical Provider
Do not be afraid to seek medical help. People spend years in school to learn how to help people deal with anxiety productively. Seeking help from these specialists is a smart move. It doesn’t mean you are crazy, it means you are strong in recognizing when you need help.
I’m a new mom and I worry about how to be a good mom, wife, worker, and blogger, all at the same time. It can be overwhelming, but I manage. The support of friends and family has been great.
If you are feeling anxious, I want you to know, you are not alone. Seek out resources that can help you manage your anxious thoughts today.
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