We’re pregnant! Woohoo! FINALLY! We are 24 weeks pregnant today, to be exact. How and why have I gone almost six months without going public and telling everyone?!? Well, the truth is… I’ve been struggling with a lot of anxiety.
This pregnancy has been so different from my first. With our first child, we conceived immediately. I had a beautiful, easy pregnancy, full of confidence and joy. Her birth was a straight-forward, empowering experience that launched my passion for women and babies. I have such wonderful memories of that time.
This child, on the other hand, has been a yearning ache in my heart for over three years—a little over a year and a half for my husband to be ready while I longed for another child and almost two years of trying to conceive once he finally was ready. And a miscarriage within those two years.
This pregnancy has been overshadowed with so much fear and anxiety, full of doubts and “what-ifs.” You see, it’s hard to not feel anxious when you see your daughter growing and the age gap growing right along with her while your husband is not even close to being ready. It’s difficult to not worry that something is wrong with you when you start your monthly cycle again, and again, and again, no matter what you know and what steps you’ve taken. It’s almost impossible to not panic when you’re getting dangerously close to the age after which you’ll be considered “high risk” and your options could be greatly diminished. And it’s especially hard to not expect the worst every time you go to bathroom after conceiving because you’ve already lost a child before and you don’t think you could live through that again.
It’s hard to trust again.
Because fear is real. Whether or not it is rational, it is very real and very powerful. But there’s good news—you are even more powerful. You can break fear’s hold over you.
It may be surprising to hear that a HypnoBirthing practitioner struggles with fear and anxiety. Yes, it’s true—we are not immune to these normal emotions. However, it should come as no surprise that I have been using HypnoBirthing for this pregnancy and upcoming birth. I’m a practitioner, after all, and I wouldn’t be running a business sharing something with others if I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in it.
And it has paid off—I have come a really long way. Every time I have listened to the affirmations or to Rainbow Relaxation, the fear has melted away. Whenever that suffocating anxiety has crept up into my chest and throat, I have tried to find a quiet moment, no matter where I am, to do my Calm Breathing and emotionally “go within.” In those moments, I can connect to my baby and I find peace to last me until the next anxiety attack.
I still get twinges of fear every once in a while but I know how to use my HypnoBirthing techniques and I’ve used them for so long now that they are second nature to me. I am fully enjoying my pregnancy now, able to smile, hope, and dream freely without the nagging “what-ifs” pulling at my mind and heart. I feel safe and secure enough to share the news of my pregnancy with the rest of the world.
HypnoBirthing has helped with my anxiety.
But for some reason, people seem to have this misconception that HypnoBirthing is some naive, fear-denying, Pollyanna, happy-go-lucky method wherein we are figuratively covering our ears, squeezing our eyes shut, and yelling “I’m not afraid! Everything is sunshine and rainbows!” at the top of our lungs.
We know it’s not enough to simply tell women, “Oh, don’t be afraid, just think happy thoughts.” That’s just stupid, ignorant, and, quite frankly, offensive. Not to mention highly ineffective.
Instead, what Marie Mongan recognized when she developed HypnoBirthing was that in order to truly conquer our fears, we have to face them. And I’m not talking about facing your fears like surrounding yourself with snakes if you’re terrified of snakes. But if you wanted to, say, get a bird out of your house that somehow flew in, you would have to see it, capture it, and release it. You can’t just pretend that it isn’t there and hope that it goes away on its own.
The same is true of our fears. In HypnoBirthing, we acknowledge our specific fears in a safe, detached manner that truly reaches our subconscious. We accept them without guilt or shame. And then we release them. Sometimes we have to do this process more than once. But every time we do, our confidence and our trust grow. I experienced this shift over five years ago with my first pregnancy. And I’m grateful that I’m experiencing it again with this pregnancy, as different as it may be from the first one.
I know that I am neither the first woman nor will I be the last to have struggled with conceiving. Unfortunately, countless women have miscarried a baby. And myriads more women battle with fear and anxiety on a consistent basis.
If you are one of these women, if you can relate to my experience in any way, then I want to tell you that you are not alone. You are not weak nor are you inadequate for feeling pregnancy anxiety or mourning a loss. You are strong to continue going day by day. Remember that. And if you’re ready to share, I’d love to hear your story. Speak up in the comments or send me an email. Because your voice and your story matter.