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Overcoming Anxiety in Pregnancy after Trauma on the Journey to Parenthood



When we feel anxious or fearful, it is often because we’re feeling uncertain about something. This can include feeling worried about having a similar experience to a previous negative encounter.


Uncertainty during pregnancy


General uncertainty and fear of having another distressing or traumatic experience can be common during pregnancy. If we had a previous difficult experience on our journey to parenthood, we often worry that we might experience more distress or trauma. It can feel even more challenging because there is often also general uncertainty around pregnancy, birth and the time shortly after our baby arrives.


This feeling of uncertainty can be heightened if we do not fully understand or remember what happened during our previous experience. We might need more information but feel overwhelmed or fearful about asking for it or learning more. And we might need help to take steps in a way that feels supportive to us. If we want support, coaching can help us to take action, determine what we need and how to get it.


For example, we might want to learn more about what happened after a traumatic birth experience. This might be because we struggle to remember events or we do not understand what we remember. Asking for our maternity notes or speaking to someone for explanations about our care can feel daunting or terrifying. And it can help to have a trusted supporter at this time.


If someone was unkind to us, we may experience uncertainty and struggle to trust the people who are caring for us during pregnancy. This can feel harder if we do not see the same person or if that person is not empathetic. Or if there is uncertainty about who will support us during labour and birth. (All of these things were definitely part of my experience of maternity care.) At these times, we may need help to determine how to express our needs or ask to see another practitioner.


Worrying about having another distressing experience



I will start by saying that our fears may be valid. This is important because trying to ignore what we are worried about can increase our anxiety. And it can make us feel alone if we are unable to express these fears or they are dismissed by ourselves or others.


Even when our fears are valid, it can be important to understand how our worries about previous distressing or traumatic experiences are affecting our thinking and emotions in the current situation. This will help us to react to the situation in a way that supports us to manage our anxiety and get what we need.


For example, we may be focusing on what we worry will happen again. And we might be really aware of things that confirm our fears. This is part of our brain’s defense system to help keep us safe from things that may harm us. And it can be pesky at times when it causes us to ignore things that are positive or supportive. It can also make it difficult to see how we have any power to change or have our needs met in the situation.


Learning to manage (and face) our fears


Once we understand how uncertainty and previous experiences are affecting us now, we can learn to identify and challenge these triggers when they pop up. To challenge these fears, we need to learn to react to them in a different way.


Sometimes learning to shift our focus can be helpful. And other times we need to change our beliefs or the stories we are telling about ourselves or the situation. For example, we might believe that we can’t do something or see the situation as being hopeless or completely out our control. We can then practise changing our focus and/ or stories about ourselves before our brain feels hijacked by our fears.


This helps to lessen how these feelings affect us in the present moment. And we often find that we can handle situations more easily and feel more confident to take actions that feel right for us. For example, we may find maternity care appointments easier and feel more able to make choices that feel right for us. We can also feel more confident about giving birth and meeting our baby.


The exact process of managing our fears and changing how we cope in situations will be unique for each person.


And sometimes we need support to help us see where we are getting stuck and how we can step into our power. Coaching is brilliant for this by the way. This is because a good coach can reflect back areas where what we are saying and what we are doing don’t match. They can also point out where we’re telling stories that are stopping us from being able to cope with or face our fears. And they can help us to believe in ourselves so that we can do things differently. As I learned first hand, a good coach can support us to have a better experience of pregnancy and parenting.


Releasing difficult emotions linked to past experiences



When we feel anxiety (or rage or upset) about past experiences, it can be important to release any heavy emotions linked to those experiences. This is because these emotions can affect our wellbeing and add to our feelings about our current experiences.


To release these feelings, it can be helpful to feel listened and have our feelings about our previous experience acknowledged. And to think about how our life would look if we did not feel weighed down by our emotions.


We can also find it helpful to learn to see our experience from another perspective. This can include learning to see our strengths in the situation. And we can focus on how we want to be feeling in our lives, pregnancy and when meeting our new baby.


TBR 3 Step Rewind is designed to help with all of these aspects of releasing feelings – having our feelings and experience recognised, seeing our experience in a new way, and focusing on the experience of life and pregnancy that we want.


Claiming our confidence as parents


Once we have released any emotions we no longer need to carry and learned to challenge our triggers, we are usually in a great position to build our confidence.


And when we feel confident, this can often help us to cope with uncertainty in the present moment and about future events. This is because we start to acknowledge and trust our power and strength.


We can then feel more confident that we will be able to cope and assert our needs during uncertain times such as labour, birth and early parenting when so many things can feel like they are out of our control. This can also help to set us up with tools and an awareness that will support us through a lifetime of confident parenting.


I believe in the power of both transformational coaching and TBR 3 Step Rewind to support pregnant parents to heal and take back their confidence during a pregnancy following a distressing or traumatic experience on their parenting journey. This is why I offer The Ultimate Pregnancy and Parenting Package. It combines the best of both techniques to really support you at this time. More information about the package is available here.


I also offer bespoke packages if you feel that you need another type of support.


To find out more about either option, please email me at amanda@youhavegotthis.co.uk or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram at amanda.at.you.have.got.this

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