My daughter recently turned two. Like most mothers, this time conjures up incredibly beautiful memories about being pregnant and giving birth. But it also reminds me of the internal battles I fought against – the ones that not many people talk about. This is my story about living with anxiety during pregnancy.
I battled with anxiety for years. But the lead up to getting pregnant was an exceptionally anxious time. Even though I was well into ‘recovery’ by this time, I was convinced I could not have a baby. After a decade of bulimia and other disordered eating behaviours, I believed that I had just done too much damage to my body.
Six months before we decided to get pregnant, I obsessed over all areas of my health and wellbeing – hoping I could turn around any damage I had done in my younger years. I increased the amount of energy healing work on myself and meditation. I was stinking the house out with copious amounts of bone broth to try and repair my gut health. I started Pilates and serious strength training to fix my back issues. I saw a Naturopath, Fertility Specialist, Nutritionist, Acupuncturist, even a Psychic Medium all to ensure I was on track to fall pregnant.
I remember the first month we started ‘trying’. My husband and I were getting ready for work in the bathroom and I had just got my period. I was devastated. I truly believed then and there that we were never going to conceive. I felt like such a failure – as a woman and a wife. I would never be a mother. I had let down my husband. For the very first time in my life I actually felt like my gender had determined my place in the world and that I had failed. Now, to anyone who has never experienced anxiety, this sounds completely irrational. And you’re correct. Anxiety is irrational – it’s a bunch of stories you allow to get out of control.
The following month I didn’t get my period at all and I felt like my entire world was collapsing. I had convinced myself now that I was so stressed and my body was so messed up that my periods had stopped… I went to the doctor for a bunch of blood tests.
The results confirmed I was not a failure, but I was in fact pregnant. That night before bed I remember placing my hands on my belly, using Reiki to connect in with my baby. I knew it was okay. I knew that I was okay. And that night I dreamt of a little baby girl. I’ll never forget the face I saw in that dream because it’s the face I look at now every day.
I never stopped using my Reiki practice throughout my pregnancy. From the moment you decide to have a baby there is a heap of questions that need answers and choices you are forced to make. Reiki helped ground me and calm my anxiety, to tap into my intuition and enable me to make some key decisions. I kept seeing my Practitioner regularly and I also performed Reiki on myself. My baby was so strong. I could feel it not only in her kicks, but her energy was awesome. Connecting in with her always reminded me that we were okay.
Because of my anxiety, I knew I had to approach pregnancy like I would a project so I wouldn’t get side tracked by negative thoughts and behaviours. I did a lot of internal work on goal setting and visualising how I wanted my daughter to arrive ‘Earth-side’. As I researched more and more about how I could achieve this, I decided to have my baby at home – a planned homebirth.
I wasn’t receiving the support I needed from my hospital. I had so many questions and the 10 minute consultations just weren’t enough for me. I was anxious every time I would arrive at the Hospital for my appointments. I also didn’t like the idea of being restricted about what I could and couldn’t do at a time when I needed freedom to labour as me and my baby needed me to.
Another cause for anxiety during pregnancy was the change my body went through. At my hospital appointments I felt there was a lot of focus on how much weight I was putting on and how big the baby was. It felt like there was so much attention on the physical. No body was asking me how I was feeling emotionally. Being pregnant is like having your body exhibited for the entire nine months (and continues after the baby is born…). For someone who has suffered body image issues, being pregnant could have been my worst nightmare.
A lot of the energy healing work I did throughout my pregnancy was not only about my fears about birth and for my baby, but also about the changes happening to my body. I had a great foundation to continue working on my body image and self esteem and once you have given birth, the journey of watching your body transform only continues. It’s so important for us to have a healthy mindset towards our body. Just as it was important for me to trust my body’s ability to conceive, I had to trust in my body’s ability to be the most perfect home for my child, and also to bring her into the world.
As we reached closer to the due date, I had another hurdle to jump. My baby was overdue. Being 40 weeks pregnant is uncomfortable and exhausting physically and emotionally. For me, it was also a spiritual battle. My anxiety was reaching new heights each day. At 41 weeks, my Reiki practitioner performed a much-needed distant healing for me and she taught me the most beautiful lesson. I have reminded myself throughout motherhood ever since. “Shift the focus away from you. This is your daughter’s journey. Trust that what is happening is the way it is meant to be.”
A couple of days later, during the Full Moon, I went into labour. I gave birth to the little girl in my dream. It was, for the most part, as I had visualised it. Empowering, calm, peaceful and joyous. Not once during labour was I anxious!
Motherhood of course, has its own set of challenges. Energy healing has helped me not only to manage my own anxiety, but I use it with my daughter. Each night as I put her to bed we have a routine that consists of Reiki healing and she is no stranger to my crystals!
If you are interested in learning this gentle, empowering and calming technique Reiki to help you through pregnancy and motherhood, please let me know and I can advise of the next course.
Dealing with anxiety isn’t easy, but remember you have a choice. You are not your thoughts or your feelings. And you can choose to change them and to have full control over them. Practices that empower you to make your own choices that align with how you want your life to be will help to remind you just how powerful you really are.
In love and light,
Please note that this information does not replace medical advice. If you experience anxiety you should always advise your personal healthcare team.