Overcoming anxiety to be able to TTC (trigger warnings) — The Bump
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Overcoming anxiety to be able to TTC (trigger warnings)

Hello friends! I am new here, but have lurked for a bit. I wanted to throw my hat into the ring to perhaps find a bit of support, draw on other people's experiences, etc. Here it goes!

The good: My husband and I have been married (happily) for 4 years, together for 6. We bought a house recently, we are both well employed (he is a physician, I am a tech worker), and we have a very giant, fluffy dog and a less giant but also fluffy cat who we adore. We both want kids, though I feel like my husband doesn't have the anxiety I have over it.

***Triggers below***
There is that, the anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety and depression, and been on medication for my entire adult life. I went, with the help of my doctor, off my meds a year ago, to see what my baseline, non-med self looked like in preparation for a medication free pregnancy. And I look ok. Not great, but ok. I also suffered from a very serious eating disorder, and though it has been some years since things were bad, I worry constantly about my weight and am hugely triggered when people talk about my weight and body. This makes me super anxious about pregnancy. Your body seems to becomes everyone's business. I also was sexually assaulted in college, which I've worked through for the most part, but having strangers touch me can be very upsetting to me. All of this anxiety has caused me to delay our time to to start TTC. I have been meeting with a therapist who specializes in prenatal and postnatal therapy, but I feel like she doesn't take my anxiety seriously. I'm coming to the point where I am realizing I may never lose this anxiety about pregnancy, and just need to accept it and jump in.

I spent a lot of time babysitting, night nannying, and au pairing in college and grad school. I love kids and though I've never been a parent, I have spent a lot of time caring for them.

How have people overcome their anxiety to move to TTC? How have they dealt with their past struggles with their body during pregnancy? I'm in a stable place now, with a loving husband and good financial security, but my core feels so unstable.

Re: Overcoming anxiety to be able to TTC (trigger warnings)

  • I'm not going to be much help here, but I did want to tell you that the only person who touched my tummy without asking was my MIL and it happened once. Otherwise people asked or I had to tell them to feel if baby was kicking. I do know other women have people touch their tummy's the whole pregnancy, but from my experience it doesn't happen to everyone! If someone reaches out to touch you I would just kindly say that you don't like to be touched.

    As for comments on your body, they're going to happen unfortunately. But, take them all with a grain of salt. I mostly just smiled and nodded a lot when customers (I work at a bank) or friends would comment. I got comments saying they were surprised by how big I was and how small I was all within the same week. Everyone has different ideas of how pregnancy should look, so don't pay much attention to comments. 

    If you feel like your pre/post natal therapist isn't taking you seriously, is there someone else you could see instead? You need to have someone you like and know that they do care about helping you through your anxiety.

    Hope you get things figured out and have a happy pregnancy!
    DS1 born 2/28/16
    DS2 due 12/12/18

  • I too have struggled with anxiety and depression. Anxiety especially. I was medicated for most of my adult life too. I will say this first and foremost... regarding anxiety. We are afraid of the unknown. That is anxiety in a nutshell. You are going to be anxious before, during and after. The unknown about any situation is going to be there. UNTIL you overcome anxiety. Just like me. It is my not -so-silent passenger that is always nagging me into worry because that strangely feels safer than not being afraid. Not being afraid means I am not preparing for every conceivable outcome and Lord knows, I couldn't have that!

    But I want you to consider that, you will be better than you think. You will be happier than you think. And in some ways sadder ( childbearing literally means you heart is living outside your body from birth on). But I promise you, there is a satisfaction  in having your own little one that can not aptly be explained in human words.

    Anxiety is a terrible thing. It tries to rob us of our joy, and of our peace. Try your best to trust. Trust yourself. Trust your husband. Trust your doctors ....and if you are believer, trust God. I wish you all the happiness and baby bliss in the world. Please don't let anxiety rob you of the gift that it can be. If you want a baby, you have every right in the world. Hugs and Love!
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  • I struggle alot too with anxiety and depression but am trying to make my way through currently without medication. One thing that Is helping me is keeping a bullet journal, it's basically like a better version of a diary/ planner that you can make completely your own. I track where I want to be in different aspects of my life before I start TTC and break that down into Achievable goals, I track my overall happiness and give myself to do lists then write about my day. Whenever I'm feeling anxious I scribble everything on the next page. It definitely doesn't work for everyone but It always makes me feel a bit calmer and the community is so welcoming and kind, I'd pinterest or instagram it to see if it's something you think would help. Good luck, I hope that you find something that helps you to feel better!
  • @teaandsympathy thank you for sharing and I am sorry you are going dealing with anxiety and depression. It is so hard to talk about mental health sometimes, it's such a relief when someone just puts it out there. I have also struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time and recently was put on a low dose mediction to help me. We are currently TTC. The med is a class c med, and overall the benefit (a healthier and more stable momma) outweighs the low potential risk for us. This was a tough decision for SO and me, but after talking with all of the doctors involved, we feel ok about moving forward.

    I'm not sure what type of approach your therapist is using, but I would suggest finding a therapist that is familiar with evidence based practices for anxiety. Talk therapy has been shown to have no real impact on helping to manage anxiety, while treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, emdr, and exposure therapy have. 

    Best of luck- sending you good vibes for a really happy pregnancy!
  • If you feel the therapist doesn't take you seriously, find a new one.

    People will comment on your body. I really only got it from a couple coworkers. I made it pretty known when I said I was pregnant that I didn't want to talk about it at work (I also made it clear when I was 4-5 months pg that it would hurt my feelings if someone said something like that when I was bigger later "oh i hope no one calls me round, I think it's rude" etc). The hardest part for me was just feeling fat from months 3-5. The other times you will look pg and it was easier to deal with. My mom took me out at month 3 and bought me a few oversized sweater/leggings type outfits so I felt cute when I didn't think I looked cute. Set aside a little budget if you can for that and hit a sale.

    No one touched me unexpectedly. One lady at work asked if she could and I said yes, but no strangers. I think this is because every time I went out with dh, we were prepared. I also wore a giant sweatshirt when we ran to target and little outings like that, so it wasn't immediately clear. Be clear with your so that he will need to be like a bodyguard when you go out, and hopefully he will never need to act on it. 

    You can do it.
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