It’s Time to Change My Behavior, Too

This morning, I talked to Nathan about all the behaviors that have contributed to my anxiety. Basically, it all comes down to this: acting on an obsession with pregnancy, whether it’s taking my temperature every morning or taking a pregnancy test a full week before my period is due, is not helping. I charted my temperature and other fertility signs long enough to know that I have a pretty textbook cycle. Nothing to worry about.

I’m not saying that I won’t worry. But I am going to make sure that I have fewer things to worry over. The chart? Gone. Along with the temperature readings that “should” go up or down and the daily tracking of every possible symptom, I’m also giving away my ovulation predictor tests. I’ve said goodbye to my internet friends on the Fertility Friend message boards, those lovely and brave and strong women, because I found myself checking for new things to worry about every five minutes.

I may not be able to “just relax” or “stop thinking about it” but I can certainly cut down on the information I give myself to obsess over.

I have a feeling that once I start nannying and after we adjust my meds, it’ll be a lot easier to think about something else. But at 4:00 this morning, I would have given anything just to think about anything else for two minutes. I don’t even know how to explain how it’s possible to think about “Am I? Am I not?” for FIVE HOURS. But somehow, I did. No more.

I’ve been compiling a family history, so that I can know whether we should look out for anything heritable that might show up in my health or in our future child’s health. You would not believe how healthy these people are. Except that a lot of us are crazy, there’s hardly a sick one in the bunch! My mother is one of fifteen children and my father is one of eight children and including all these aunts and uncles and both sets of grandparents, I have not come up with one case of heart disease, one early heart attack, one diabetic, one epileptic, one woman plagued by miscarriage. We don’t even have dementia in the family, it would seem. Now, I know this makes no real true sense, but I figure that if we are blessed genetically to have avoided all the terrible predispositions to disease that are out there (Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Breast Cancer), then this mental illness thing? Not so bad. The only heritable condition that I worry about passing on to my future child in my set of DNA is a tendency towards anxiety and depression. And you know what? If that child ever experiences mental illness, I intend to be modeling healthy ways to live and function fully, no matter what hits.

I am determined to stop letting my anxiety over nothing (honestly, I can’t even put a name to a fear, it’s not miscarriage or anything–like I said, no family history of anything to indicate any risk of anything) rob me of my sleep. As lovely and loving family members have pointed out, this is a pretty normal thing to worry about. I’m giving myself some room to worry. I also want a baby like I’ve wanted nothing else, so it makes sense that I’ll be thinking a lot about it. I am going to worry and my mind will circle this topic, yes, but I am not going to obsess. I’m not going to take tests compulsively. I’m not going to count anything anymore. And that is what I can do to take control back from this stupid disorder. Take that, GAD!

3 Comments

  1. Leah Marie @ Leah Marie, UnPunctuated said:

    Hey, I just stumbled on your blog from the NaBloPoMo Soup.

    When I was trying to get pregnant with my first (it took three years) I used to hate it when people would say, “Relax, it will happen when you stop worrying about it.” Hated it like, I wanted to grab a fist full of their hair and yank hated it.

    And when I finally came to terms with the fact that I did need to relax and stop obsessing, I didn’t get pregnant right away–it took another year and a half. But I was HAPPIER. I spent the time developing the rest of my life and enjoying time with my husband. And that year and a half could have been miserable if I hadn’t made the choice to just relax.

    You just have to actively take charge of the things you can control, and then let go of the rest. Best of luck to you. <3

    January 19, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you, Leah! What a thoughtful comment. When I wrote to my sister-in-law about all this, I told her that if she suggested I “just relax” then I would “find a way to punch her through email” so I think we’re all on the same page with that.

      I think the key here is that, whether it helps us get pregnant or not, being happy and enjoying life should not be relinquished so readily! I’m shocked at how ready I was to give up my peace of mind for just a little bit! Just until… when? Because when I’m pregnant I won’t obsess?

      I can’t always choose to make the anxiety go away, but I can choose to stop it from taking over my life. Which leads to what passes, for me, as relaxed.

      January 19, 2012
      Reply
  2. […] threw me off, too. That’s right, I am sleeping through the night again! Mostly thanks to the behavioral changes I made. Those cognitive-behavioral techniques really work, let me tell you. I’ll do another […]

    January 22, 2012
    Reply

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