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Severe Prenatal Stress & Anxiety


Control: Losing it & Taking it

This pregnancy has been about taking control: eliminating all present agents of dysfunction and disorder and establishing healthy routines, all for the sake of purifying and strengthening my body for the best possible beginning for this baby.

In many ways, I've been able to do that.  I've enjoyed the self-authority to make solid decisions and stick to them.  For instance, I've been diligent about increasing my protein intake.  I've kept to a decent sleep schedule.  I've been careful not to overexert with lifting and moving things the way I normally do.

But in many more ways, the things that are simply beyond my control are getting the best of me.  I can't control how others behave or how they word things.  I can't control my environment.  I can't control the convenience factor of things.  I can't control entropy.

And yet, it seems my entire sense of well-being depends on my sense of relative control.  If all the factors of life are where I put them, as I put them, then I feel fine.  And if not (as is 99.9% the case), then I feel as if I'm failing or doing something wrong, or I'm angry because I'm trying and putting my energy, effort, and WILL out into the world, and nothing seems to oblige me.

I suppose it boils down to not getting what I want.  And when I don't get what I want how I want it, I feel like my blood pressure's going through the roof, my brain is pounding in my head, and my internal potty-mouth is ranting unchecked.

And besides the anger...there is the heartbreak -- the deep, heavyset feeling of failure and self-pity soaking the razor-edges of my rage.  Inside, I am a pathetic, ineffective, sopping cardboard knife.  (And paper cuts are always the worst.)

NO meds, please!!!

I do NOT want to go back on medication.  The literature says medications may be perfectly safe for me and the baby, and it's not that I don't trust the studies.  It's just that my gut, my instinct tells me not to, and I won't go against that.  At least not unless/until I'm absolutely desperate.

I feel kind of desperate (as opposed to "absolutely").  I'm just about to that "something's-got-to-give" stage.  All these years of suffering Depression, I know without a doubt when I've arrived at that place where I've GOT to get some help.  I'm not there at this precise moment, but it's right there, just feet away in the fog.  I can already feel the warmth of its hot, stinking breath on my face.

So I really, really, really don't want to go back on medication.  I really, really, really don't.  But I won't say "never," because I know me, and I know the pain, and I know where one ends and the other begins.

Non-medicinal Stress Relief Alternatives

Alternatively, I've been researching Stress Relief During Pregnancy.  So far, just about all the resources I've read say the same kinds of things:

  • hot baths/showers
  • prenatal massage
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • plenty of sleep
  • proper diet
  • scale back on commitments

These are pretty much no-brainers.  And they're so broad and obvious, they're really not help at all.

I need some solutions that are dynamic yet simple, classic yet revolutionary.

  • Aromatherapy - This might be an option, except with the Prenatal Super-Nose, I'm really afraid the risk of migraine would outweigh the benefits of relaxation.  Maybe I could explore certain natural fragrances that have a calming effect.  Aveeno Active Naturals Shower & Bath Oil ("Natural Soothing Oatmeal") is one of the only fragrances that seems to have a positive effect on me.  Maybe it's the smooth, almond-ish scent.  I'm not sure.  But I don't get a headache or gag when I smell that.  Natural vanilla? Gardenia? Honeysuckle? Cinnamon? Baby powder???

  • White noise - I could see this working for me, except I can only see it working for me at night after the kids have gone to bed. No white noise in the world would be able to drown out their bickering.  I could re-institute the little rock fountain on my nightstand, or maybe plug into some "thunderstorm" or "light rain" mp3s. Classical music might work, but then, it would have to be very specifically low and melodic, like Moonlight Sonata.  Something like Rhapsody in Blue simply would not do.

  • Nature - Nature has...um....natural healing properties.  It's why I love camping so much.  The second my feet touch the unpaved earth, my blood pressure drops, and I feel whole and complete.  When I smell trees and fresh flowing water...when I smell salt in the air and on the winds blowing in from the Gulf...when I can actually hear the wind undisturbed by humming engines or man-made movement.  Nature is why I sleep so well and so easily sitting in a canvas chair on the riverbank.  It's why a day feels like a week and I relish it.  Nature is why I hardly ever raise my voice or chastise anyone for anything.

Whatever strategies I settle on for neutralizing my stress, I've got to decide on them and pursue them immediately and deliberately.  I can't wait for things to get better or worse.  If I don't want to be treated for stress and anxiety, I better treat myself fast.  And I better keep brainstorming and researching and trying and trying and trying until I find something or somethings that work.  I just don't want a damn prescription.

2 comments:

Sandy said...

'Ailina,

Keep your head up!! Positive confessions my sister:

Proverbs 18:21 (New Century Version)
21 What you say can mean life or death.
Those who speak with care will be rewarded.

I know when I have bouts of depression and anxiety I have to look to the Bible for strength...
or perhaps you could treat yourself to massages often (I say this because I am a massage therapist)

Galatians 6:9 (New Living Translation)
9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Your blessing is coming in Sept/Oct... don't give up!! Remember God is bigger than your mountain... He tells us to command that mountain of yours to move and it will crumble into the sea!!
Don't tell God how big your mountain is. Tell your mountain how big your God is!! God puts us through a variety of tests... not to discourage us, but to build our faith and trust in HIM!!!

You can do it!!
Blessings to you and yours,
Sandy

*Doll*Parts* said...

Oh, now I can totally see how we're related... but one of the best things I've ever read from you, I read here just now.
"So I really, really, really don't want to go back on medication. I really, really, really don't. But I won't say "never," because I know me, and I know the pain, and I know where one ends and the other begins."

"...I know where one ends and the other begins."
That's a gift that a lot of people don't have and don't ever get.
I keep hoping that the different genes you all share have given you something more than I got to deal with the depression. I can now see that this is true.
and i am so glad. Too many days I have been unable to distinguish between me and me in pain. And knowing that it will pass in a moment rarely brings genuine comfort.
You have eyes to see. I am so glad.
And I am ever the shitty Buddhist.

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