Worry strikes us all, particularly in the childbearing years.
Women who are trying to conceive can find the two-week wait interminable. A time when worry and fear can ramp up, out of control. The mind can become consumed by fearful thoughts. "What if I'm not pregnant?", "What if I'm going to need IVF?" "What if we can't have the family we've always dreamed of?"
When pregnant, waiting for a scan, can mess with your mind. "What if there's something wrong with the baby?" "How would we cope?"
Women (especially those who have experienced a previous loss) can find themselves agonising over fears about something being wrong with the baby, of losing the baby, or of having a negative birth outcome.
Then, when we become parents, the worries can be endless. "What if he doesn't sleep tonight?" "What if there's a developmental problem with my toddler?" "What if my child doesn't have friends?" What if my child becomes a bully?"
The fact is that any thought that begins with "what if" is by its very nature, not true. That doesn't mean that bad things don't happen. They do. But more often than not, our worries don't end up manifesting. And when bad things happen, we attend to the situation, drawing from our internal and external resources to cope, and we deal with what is actually happening.
Worrying endlessly about things that could go wrong, is mentally exhausting. What people often don't realise is that we can manage our minds better than we think we can.
The first step is to recognise that our thoughts are not truths. When we worry about a future scenario that hasn't happened, we remove ourselves from the life we have right now. "What if" thoughts make us feel anxious and stressed. People typically look back at their worries and wish they hadn't wasted all that time fretting.
So how do we manage fear and worry? What do we do when "what if" thoughts (or fears about the future) intrude?
This short video uses a Mindfulness-based, visual approach to help you to manage your worry and tame your mind. It takes practice, but you can do it!
Click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWrTcLmj6yI
Written by Dr Renée Miller
Perinatal Clinical Psychologist
Antenatal & Postnatal Psychology Network