Supporting Perinatal Anxiety

Jun 04, 2024

 I know from firsthand experience, anxiety in pregnancy is awful.

  • Constantly feeling on edge.
  • A sense of doom, that something is just about to go badly wrong.
  • Intrusive thoughts about there being something wrong with your or your baby.
  • Crying ALL THE TIME!
  • And not understanding why because everyone around you says it should be the happiest time of your life, thus contributing to one’s own sense of freakishness.
  • Dis-ease in ones own body. I personally had a sense of alien invasion from the pregnancy.
  • Guilt and shame for not feeling all unicorns, hearts and fluffy stuff depicted on cards, at baby showers, in the movies, and popular culture generally.
  • Angry and snappy with anyone close to me because NO ONE GOT IT.
  • Exhaustion from trying to mask these feelings from the world, who really didn’t get it.
  • Exhaustion from all the adrenalin and constantly activated nervous system.
  • Exhaustion from trying to control what little I could.
  • Overwhelm thinking about the future and all of the things that would definitely go wrong.

So many people around me dismissed what I was experiencing as ‘pregnancy hormones’, which it may have been a contributing factor but it certainly didn’t make me feel any better and shut down any conversation about what was driving the anxious feeling, thinking, and behaviour.

There was nothing in my ‘What to Expect…’ book about mental health or anxiety it was all about charting the size of the fetus through different sized fruit.

The NCT class didn’t mention it, though they did mention the day 3 baby blues. ‘Shit!’ I thought ‘That’s what I have now!’

I joke now that when I was pregnant, I used to sit every morning on a South West train to Waterloo in floods or tears, visibly pregnant and reading my ‘What to Expect..’ pregnancy book. Even though it was rush hour, all seats around me were empty, there was a clear radius all around me, as people steered clear of the ‘emotional’ pregnant woman.

At the time it was no joke, it was lonely, isolating, stressful and upsetting.

That is why it is such a privilege to support anxious parents now and is truly one of the best parts of my job.

I believe that left untreated perinatal anxiety leaves parents more vulnerable to:

  • Birth trauma
  • PND
  • Perinatal OCD

Perinatal anxiety robs parents of self esteem, confidence, connection, trust and resilience at a time when they need it most.

Anxiety really is the bully in the playground and needs to be called out.

It also needs more appropriately trained professionals to offer the kind of 6 week programme that I run with parents.

During these sessions I walk with clients as they:

  • Acknowledge and get to know what their particular anxiety sounds like, feeling like and how it makes them respond. This is calling out the bully.
  • Are solution focused with their unique fears.
  • Use TBR 3 Step Rewind to deal with any related origin events if appropriate.
  • Begin a practice of relaxation or meditation
  • Begin to use journalling as a tool to manage anxiety daily
  • Are introduced to the key concepts of mindfulness and begin to tame the ego and nurture their inner guide.

I love sharing these techniques for taming anxiety because parents then have them for life.

The only problem is there are not enough practitioners supporting parents with anxiety long term with these skills (mindfulness and relaxation) that have been proven to make a difference to PNA*.

Could you be a TBR Practitioner, skilled, trained and insured to support parents overcome anxiety?

We are currently open for enrolment for the AW24 cohort of TBR Certificate students.

Could you be that professional who makes a real difference to parents when they need it most?

Book a call to find out.