Yesterday The Fear visited again when I couldn’t quite feel Ant (as baby has been called since week 5 of pregnancy to avoid using “It”) and Ant’s movements, when I did feel them, were reminiscent of Chippie’s movements, our daughter, rather than Bear’s. Logically, I know this is a different pregnancy and, rationally, I stepped into the plan I had devised: (1) check the time, (2) use my home Doppler, (3) sit down/slow down and count any movements (4) plan to redo in 2 hours. (Incidentally, I have a low threshold for contacting my very understanding midwife and obstetrician – I didn’t feel this was a situation where I needed to contact them). Ant has been steadily moving, especially to music.
I knew The Fear would be a constant companion from even before Bear was conceived. The Fear is, as many of you who have complicated pregnancies know, is a million different things – it’s the thoughts of something going wrong, it’s holding your breath at an ultrasound, it’s searching for information, and more…
In any case, given what I know about thought suppression and Acceptance Commitment Therapy, fighting The Fear doesn’t work. Instead, I try to make room for The Fear, acknowledging it is there, acknowledging that there are sensible things I have put in place to assess and respond to situations objectively, and acknowledging where in me it comes from. As I can, I try to treat it with gentle humour. I label it in capitals as part of seeing it as something separate that is not part of who I am as a person, that I can choose how to relate to.
One of the first tracks I recorded, for my Calm in a Complicated Pregnancy was “Living with the Fear” (approx 4.5 mins) which is a visualisation/meditation where I invite you to be with the Fear and, rather than fight it, change how you relate to it. I’m really excited to announce that the CD is now available on Itunes (and hopefully on Amazon, GooglePlay, and a few other places). This exercise is also one of the ones I’ll be discussing at my workshop on staying calm in a complicated pregnancy.
I know the temptation is to fight The Fear and so much of our culture is about getting rid of “negative” emotions. However, they too have a purpose and so much of our pain can be about the struggle against them. It’s not easy, living with The Fear, but it’s possible and even possible to make friends with it ;).