Shenee Bend, LPC
How to Cope with a High Risk Pregnancy
As you may know, I had my own experience of a high-risk pregnancy and I know it is a lot and a lot to deal with. The pandemic has really intensified some things and I want to give you some coping skills to deal with it.
Feel the Feelings
First and foremost, you want to allow yourself to feel the feel all the feelings. All the negative emotions that can come about, frustration, sadness, guilt, blame, shame about your body and your capabilities. All of those are common, feel them. Do not deny them, just allow yourself to fully experience them. I believe part of the most intense mental health issues are when we are not allowing ourselves the room to truly experience our feelings.
You want to forgive yourself and forgive your body. Statistically it is highly unlikely that you did anything to cause this high-risk pregnancy. Okay?... I want you to just sit with that. I know as moms and as women we’re so protective of our children and our unborn that we always want to consider, “What could I have done? How could I have prevented this? What did I do?” Let it go. Just forgive yourself, forgive your body. You're doing the best that you can with the information that you have, and your body is doing the best that it can with the resources that it has, so let that go. What is going to help you to forgive yourself is the next tip.
Have presence in the here and now. Present in mindfulness and meditation is all the rave and it’s wonderful. Yet, those are not the only ways to be mindful; you can be mindful coloring, you can be mindful walking, you can be mindful eating. Anything really that allows you to be really zeroed in and focused on every second of what you are doing. A lot of mental illness issues, especially depression and anxiety, stem from focusing too much on the past & the future. If you are allowing yourself even just five minutes a day to be in the here and now you will notice a shift in your mood. If you’re coloring, look at how vibrant the colors are, notice how your fingers are moving as you're coloring, just really feeling the sensation of the crayon to the paper, are you pressing hard or light? You are really noticing everything about what it is that you're doing. That's going to help you to realize that you are here now with this high-risk pregnancy. It will allow you to focus so that you may work on being as healthy as possible.
Post positive affirmations near you. When I was in the hospital, on bed rest, I had a dry erase board and every day I wrote a new positive affirmation. Positive affirmations are a wonderful to really help you to combat those negative thoughts that are naturally going to come up, as they come up. You’ll want to post them in high traffic areas; the refrigerator, the bathroom, or the front door. Read them and say them out loud, to really allow them to soak in.
The pandemic social distancing does not mean socially isolating. Mental health issues and adjustment issues come about when we are getting more and more closed off from people. You want to be open and verbal with people, yet with a high-risk pregnancy, I recommend that you are selective about who you are telling the specifics to. When I was dealing with my high-risk pregnancy, I was very selective about what a certain person knew about my pregnancy. I knew in order to best manage my mental wellness and the wellness of my child that it was best for me to slowly give them certain details. This person tends to be a bit more on the anxious side and I knew that was going to increase my nervousness. I want to give you this permission. It's your body. It's your business. Share it with YOUR best interest in mind. Join a support for other pregnant women who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy and/or bed rest. Postpartum.net has great support groups for pregnant mothers who are also coping with mental health issues. This will allow you to not to feel so alone and so isolated in this experience. When I was coping with my high-risk pregnancy, I found the hospital support group to be helpful. It was comforting to know we were all having the same thoughts and moods.
If you need more support, I have created a free three-part video series that can go straight to your email box. I really dig into the meat and potatoes of an immensely powerful therapeutic technique to help you to really explore those negative thoughts & change them to improve your mood. Sign up here.