The mind of a wannabe pregnant woman is a busy, busy place. It's filled with questions, fears unspoken and countless other unhelpful thoughts that keep her overthinking everything.
It's busy calculating timings and dosages, counting days of their cycles and how many coffees she's had, and running a constant commentary on her life. As if hyper-analysing will make that second line on the pee test turn up faster.
She knows it won’t help, but she does it anyway because an anxious mind hates silence. The unhelpful thoughts fill the uncomfortable void created by waiting for something to go right. And she's waiting for her big fat positive pregnancy test result.
But that constant chatter does damage to her self-esteem, her confidence in her body to do things for itself. It keeps her running in flight/fight mode, on edge and on high alert.
Sound familiar? Yep, I did it too.
So how can you quiet the noise and rein-in your overthinking, so the unhelpful thoughts no longer dominate your internal monologue?
Simple: Don't think those unhelpful thoughts right now
Sounds basic, but hear me out.
I use a little trick with my clients that we call Worry Time. It’s not a new concept, and I learned it from someone else, but it is a simple and powerful tool. It will help you to contain your worries and those unhelpful thoughts for a time that you can focus on them, rather than having them interrupt your day whenever they please.
The way it works is when you notice something is starting to worry you or cause you to be anxious, simply tell it to come back later. Literally say out loud:
“Not now, come back at 7pm and I’ll deal with you then.”
And then at 7 pm (or whenever you told it to come back), you need to set aside 15 minutes for you to focus and think these things through. It's so much better than have your day hijacked by negative thoughts and feelings. It gives you the space to handle it better because you can look it in the eye and see it for what they really is, when you are calmer and feeling more in control.
How it works in practice
I was asked by a client recently:
“But what if I have nothing to worry about when worry time comes around?”
And I looked at her saying nothing.
Then the penny dropped for her and we both smiled. She got it. And I was so proud of her.
You see, that is the entire point.
Most of the time we worry about things because they are urgent, in our face demanding our attention right now! But when those worries are told to come back later the ones that aren't also important go away or resolve themselves somehow.
It’s so liberating!
It put her in the driving seat. She can now control when she puts her emotional energy into worrying, which gives her the chance to consider solutions for her concerns. And even better, she's no longer at the mercy of random thoughts sweeping her up in the moment and tossing her around in the raging torrent of an anxious mind.
And you can easily do this too
The basic rule of thumb is that if a worry comes up for you check in with how you’re feeling right then and there. If it's something you can handle easily now, go ahead. But if not, then set your boundary, say it in your head or out loud if you’re somewhere safe.
If it bubbles up again try once more to put it off to later, at your set time.
We’re talking about things that aren’t life-threatening – like whether a pregnancy now would ruin your travel plans, or mean you’d not be able to host Christmas lunch at your place this year… y'know, logistics and the general fluff of life that in the grand scheme of things won't matter later.
It's all 'workoutable' from the right state of mind, even if you need some time or support.
And don't worry, if what you're worrying about is truly important, then it will show up for your appointment. Anything else will fade away and leave you to wonder what all the fuss was about.
I'd love to hear how this helps you out, so please comment below.
And if you'd like some support or to see if working with me will help you smooth out your bumpy path to parenthood, then please book a chat on zoom at a time that suits you and we can get to know each other over BYO beverages soon. https://sandifriedlos.as.me/coffeechat
Much love and baby dust