The moment we decide to have a baby (or get surprised by that positive pregnancy test), this is a question we will ask ourselves over and over again. It starts with the physical, ‘What was that pain? Is spotting normal? How many times should the baby move?’ These questions are all things your OB-GYN or midwife can help answer for you. But what about the other symptoms? The ones that are not so easily noticed? ‘Why am I not excited about this pregnancy? Why do I cry all the time? Why am I so angry and irritable?’ These questions even plague us before we get pregnant. Women who are struggling with infertility battle with this question too.
This question may seem harmless, but it has the potential to light the little anxiety fire within us all. Women who have never struggled with anxiety or depression will start to feel the symptoms of anxiety once they get pregnant (or struggle to get pregnant). This gnawing feeling will walk with us throughout our journey to get pregnant, during pregnancy and postpartum. It will pop-up at the most inconvenient times like at our baby shower or birth class, after we put our newborn down to sleep and try to sleep get some rest ourselves, or after being alone with our baby and he or she won’t stop crying.
So, is this normal? The answer is YES. A 100x yes. It is normal to feel this way. I work with women all day long. Most are moms, some want to become a mom, and some aren’t sure yet. I hear them talk about the fear and worry that consume them. The sadness that keeps them from enjoying their baby. Along with anxiety there is always a healthy dose of guilt thrown in because, you know, we aren’t struggling enough as is.
Okay, so it’s “normal” to feel this way. So many women struggle with these thoughts and feelings. But, is it healthy? Absolutely not. Anxiety and depression rob you from the happiness that you deserve. It clouds your thoughts and filters your outlook on your life, family, self. You do not have to keep feeling this way. There is help out there that will support you through this time. You will start feeling better.
Hillary Pilotto, MA, LCPC is a licensed clinical therapist with New Dawn Wellness Group. She is trained in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. She sees patients at both Oak Lawn and Orland Park location.
New Dawn Wellness Group provides specialized care and support for women and their families coping with and improving reproductive and perinatal health.