Anxiety is Not the Same as Fear

“With there being very little antenatal care in my community I

began to feel frustrated that the care needed was coming

either too late or not at all. My frustration turned into a

realisation that I had to do something to help support this

crisis, that’s when Beautiful New Beginnings was born with

the ethos to support and empower parents on their parenting

journey from birth.” Carolyn

Until I was pregnant, I had never experienced intense anxiety.

My eyes still well up when I think about the time that I did. I

would feel silly talking about it then, because I couldn’t make

sense of my own mind. So I didn’t breathe a word. I sat in

silence and let the world pass me by, every day thinking that

surely I should have been overjoyed that I was expecting my

first child, but I was terrified, scared and very lonely. I

became irritable, especially when I didn’t understand

something or hadn’t had the best of sleep, because of the

worries that raced through my mind. I kept going over and

over what life with a baby was going to be like.

All this anxiety feels like it should be excitement. It’s therefore

one of the hardest things to talk about openly without feeling

like the worst mother in the world, before you’ve even become

one! This can affect your sleep patterns when you’re

pregnant. Thoughts of the upcoming birth and parenting

guides is enough to give anyone sleepless nights.

Time was my particular enemy in the fight against anxiety. I

was counting down the months, weeks and days until my due

date, because obviously my baby was going to come on time,

right? Wrong! I went over. Those days felt like years! I would

call the midwife when I got a twitch, to be told to wait until

my waters broke, or until I was in that much pain I had to

come in. I was told, you’ll just know when it’s the real thing.

But how would I know? This was my first baby.

The midwives know their role inside and out; I just didn’t

realise then that their calmness was necessary. After all, I

wasn't the only woman in labour who needed their attention.

But my anxiety took over and it felt like I was failing before

my baby was even born. How didn't I know what real labour

was? Of course the anxiety of not being good enough or

knowing enough had been present throughout my pregnancy.

Even though I was healthy, didn’t smoke or drink and

exercised regularly, I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough or

getting anything right.

Stories of miscarriages particularly played on my mind.

Sitting in the hospital waiting room, booked in for my 20 week

scan with my first born, I met a woman whose first pregnancy

had ended in miscarriage. She was so nervous about her

second. Although she walked out smiling and holding her

new scan photo that day, I was shaken by what could happen

to any woman.

I knew that I had to get out of this mindset. I needed to walk

away from it all, so I did just that.

My next blog will explain how I did this.

Always here.


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