The Guilt Of Having An Anxiety Attack While Pregnant
Anxiety attacks are a physical thing as well as a mental thing. They don’t all look the same even between the same person. Anxiety attacks for me, typically, have me hyperventilating and crying. I feel more of a physical disturbance than anything during those times. This has always been the case, even before pregnancy hormones.
What do anxiety attacks mean for the little human who’s using your body as their home? It’s most likely being disrupted, especially if the physical symptoms are present. Well, that’s freaking terrifying. That my own anxiety can be affecting my unborn child. It brings on a tremendous amount of guilt. Atleast for me it did and still does sometimes.
I remember my first anxiety attack during my pregnancy very clearly. I was hyperventilating, crying, pacing around, and feeling no control over my body. All of this was happening because I had just found out that someone had shared my pregnancy publicly. By publicly, I mean on Facebook. This was when I was 7 weeks pregnant. I wanted to wait longer to share the news with everyone, so I felt extremely violated. I called my mom to help calm me down because she was aware of the situation. I remember repeatedly telling her how violated I felt. It was my baby and my news to share. It was not fair. Those were my circling thoughts.
After awhile, my mom mentioned how it was important that I calmed down soon because of the baby. Having my body all worked up was probably not good for the baby.
As soon as she said that, it’s like my anxiety had an off switch and got switched off.
I hadn’t thought about how an anxiety attack could affect my baby before then. It made complete sense once she brought it up because I know how physical my anxiety attacks can feel. What did that feel like for the baby? I had no idea, but even if it had the slightest disturbance I was not okay with it.
This made me realize that my own anxiety can affect this precious little baby. That’s not fair. To disturb this tiny human because of a Facebook post. THE GUILT. Ah, the guilt I felt was really like no other. This was a wake up call for my own anxiety and mental health journey. I think I was able to switch off my anxiety so quickly because of my baby and this realization I was having. Now this is not me saying, anxiety attacks magically go away once you’re pregnant. HA. That would be a good joke to tell, now wouldn’t it?
I can say this though... my anxiety attacks are a little bit easier to battle because of this tiny human. There’s certain techniques to use to help ride the wave of anxiety. I learned these in my outpatient program and Kirk is aware of them as well. Sometimes I wish he wasn’t because it reallly pisses off my anxiety. One of them is using your five senses to help ground your body to your surroundings. Before pregnancy, whenever Kirk asked me to tell him 5 things I see, I typically would be hesitant. It always seemed so stupid because my anxiety attack seemed so much bigger. After a few times of asking, I would finally give in. Now, once I recognize my anxiety attack and am able to start using techniques I’m not hesitant. Could be a coincidence, but I have a feeling it’s not.
Anxiety attacks don’t magically go away once you pee on a stick and it turns positive. Anxiety attacks can feel more guilty. Anxiety attacks can also be scarier. However, once you get past those feelings, the thought of your baby can help you manage them better. I’m aware of “mom guilt” and I’m sure there are other moms out there facing “mom guilt” even before their baby is born. So here’s some recognition to you! And to anyone who deals with anxiety attacks because they’re a real _______. I’ll let you fill in the blank.