Distressing thoughts and behaviours
It may surprise you to know that many of the unwanted thoughts pregnant women with anxiety have are the same as other pregnant women who do not have anxiety. The difference is that when you have anxiety you may get more distressed by these thoughts, dwell on them more, and feel you have little control over them.
Unwanted thoughts can be really distressing, as they often involve unpleasant scenarios or mental images about harm coming to you or your baby. Remember, just because you have a negative thought does not mean it is (or will become) true! Having these thoughts does not make you a bad mum. In fact, if you are upset by these thoughts it just shows that you are a good and caring mum to be!
Many women do not tell anyone how they are feeling as they are worried others might think they are a bad mum to be, or the social services will perceive them as a threat and take their baby away when they are born. Some may avoid telling others because they think they will be prescribed medication that might put their baby at risk. This unlikely to be the case. If you tell your GP, midwife or health visitor how you are feeling they will want to help you get better. This means finding a treatment or support option that is safe and that you feel happy with.
When you talk to others about how you are feeling, it can often help you to recognise that your worries and anxieties are a common experience. Knowing that you are not alone may help you to start feeling better. Recognising the thoughts for what they are can help reduce their frequency, intensity and make them feel less scary. Remember, having these unwanted thoughts does not make you a bad mother!