Facing Negative Thoughts and Fears and How to Turn Them Around

by Birth Without Fear on November 30, 2010

This post is raw and personal. I am sharing it because I think that it may help many other pregnant women and that alone is enough of a reason for me.

My thoughts are tearing me apart and creating fears. I came to realize this in the last few years. I know what I am doing and I can not stop. My thoughts create my reality. Things happen, no doubt about that, but how I view these things that happen and what my thoughts are about them shape my reality of the situation.

Mr. BWF was at a used book store recently to get a business book. He found what he was looking for and as he stood in line to buy it, it felt wrong in his hands. It wasn’t the book he needed to buy. He walked back and put it on the shelf where he found it. Before turning around to walk away, he noticed a different book sitting right next to the one he put back.  He had this feeling overcome him as he reached for it.  He knew this was the book he needed to buy. It was Loving What Is by Byron Katie. Some of you may be familiar with her, but for those that are not, she created a simple 4 question process called “the Work.

Pregnancy, birth, baby, inspiration, thoughts, byron katieMr. BWF started to read Loving What Is and then urged me to pick it up. I finally did and now I don’t want to put it down. This is it for me. This is how I can finally stop killing myself with my thoughts. I am starting to take time to really process my thoughts and if they are thoughts I am holding onto and don’t need, or if they are truly reality. I am finding most are not true and I am letting go of my attachment to them.

It’s an interesting process and most definitely going to effect the rest of my pregnancy and birth. I am going to give an example of one of my thoughts and how I have let it go. I have been having thoughts that this baby is not going to live. I know it is because many of my friends have lost babies recently. This breaks my heart and I have taken their grief on as my own. I start visualizing miscarrying my baby and feel the pain and heartbreak of the experience. How do I change this thought?

Using the Work, I ask myself if this is true? Is it really true that I am going to miscarry my baby? “No, I don’t think so.”

Can I absolutely know it is true this will happen and my baby will die? “No.”

How do I react when I think this thought? “In fear, scared and overwhelmed. I start to fear birth.”

Who would I be without this thought? “Trusting of this pregnancy and birth. I would know my baby and birth are going to go the way they are supposed to for me.”

Now, I turn it around. “My baby is healthy and strong. My body is perfect in growing my baby and knows how to birth.” Letting out a nice big deep breath now.

I am doing this will all the thoughts I have had this pregnancy.

Pregnancy, birth, baby, inspiration, thoughts, byron katie

Even when deep down, I know these thoughts are not true, I keep thinking them until I believe them. I am going to process them all through these simple questions and ‘love what is.’  I am looking forward to letting go of my attachments to these thoughts. Not only will I see things for what they are, but will have a sense of peace in these areas. I highly recommend ‘the Work‘  for all mamas, pregnant or not!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

The Deranged Housewife November 30, 2010 at 8:47 am

I think sometimes we do worry needlessly about things, and sometimes our innermost fears and ideas are founded. It’s hard sometimes to find that happy medium as well and to understand how or when to listen to our intuition. I don’t want to say that your baby is going to die, because we don’t know; but I think that if you are having particular feelings about something, much like the ultrasound, you should listen to your body, and mostly to your heart. You have done this several times before, and if something feels differently to you, there might be a reason for it.

That ‘still, small voice,’ if you get my meaning, is there for a reason. And sometimes we try our best to ignore it – it’s hard to know when it’s just outside influences and when it’s something to be legitimately concerned about. If you feel like you need to seek help and intervention during this pregnancy, as I’ve said before through your FB page – you shouldn’t be made to feel like you’re not “trusting enough.” I think by yielding to your instincts you ARE trusting enough to not shrug them off and do something about it that could protect you and your baby.

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Penny smithwood November 30, 2010 at 8:48 am

good post, I hope it will help you.But keep in mind that fear isn’t always bad, if caveman(and cavewoman) would have been fearless we wouldn’t be here today.

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Birth Without Fear November 30, 2010 at 9:01 am

I agree. I never said fears were bad. I was talking about how personally my thoughts have gotten to a ‘bad’ point. Fears are there for a reason. Recognizing and processing why they are there is what is important. :)

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Jenni Derryberry Mann November 30, 2010 at 9:20 am

This is lovely work you’re doing, and thank you for sharing the book. What a good process for coping with destructive thoughts. I struggled with these kind of overwhelming, intrusive thoughts after my second baby. A simple technique from the field of positive psychology helped me tremendously: When the crazy thinking started, I’d focus on something specific and very different. For instance, if I were driving, I’d (quickly and for just a moment) drag my attention to the trees lining the highway and notice the vibrance of the evergreens. Just that simple interruption of the crazy would be enough to break through the anxious or depressive thoughts I was having. Now, it’s like a code word that keeps the crazy at bay when anxieties kick in: Green! Ahhh… Your process takes it to another level, and that sounds really useful for rehabbing recurring thought patterns.

As far as knowing the difference between crazy and intuitive thoughts, for me the intuitive ones tend to be more subtle and less overwhelming. Like a whisper instead of a hostile takeover. And, when I’m able to act on the still, small voice (i.e. checking in with a doctor, or peeking in on the girls when they’re sleeping), then I feel at peace. The crazy thoughts would persist even if I were sitting right next to my child & could see that she was perfectly fine!

Blessings for you , your sweet baby, and your awesomely strong body!
xoxox
jenni
@mamahhhjenni

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Angela Dawson November 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for a lovely, honest and heartfelt post.
It is true to say that our thoughts create our reality and profoundly affect our physiology. Fear based thoughts lead to the fight, flight or fright response being activated (causing all those unpleasant physical sensations such as racing heart and shallow breathing, which lead to feelings of overwhelm).
So brilliant that your husband was guided to a source that would help you unravel exactly what your unhelpful thoughts were and what they related to.
Releasing our fears activates our natural stress release hormones which can only be good for both you and your baby.
Any technique that helps us to release our fears and move forward with clarity, calm and confidence, whilst helping us to recognise that we are the imperfectly perfect good enough mothers our children need is to be welcomed.
Best of luck with this process. I hope it helps you to let go of the grief and look forward to your baby’s birth xx

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Rita Vernon December 1, 2010 at 9:15 am

This post is very personal for me. Not only am I having the same fears and am terrified of birth at this point, but amazingly enough I happen to WORK at a used book store and I see this book every day! I picked it up a few weeks ago and felt a strong urge to read it, although I haven’t yet. I will now!! Thank you so much!

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Jennifer Thiede December 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

Thank you so much for this post. Your timing is perfect. I am feeling many of these things right now.

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Marion December 2, 2010 at 1:17 am

I just read this and it reminded me how out of control my thinking was with my pregnancy with my daughter. After a previous pregnancy loss and unresolved grief I was often overwhelmed with fear and by the end of the pregnancy had lost all faith in myself and my body. This led on to PND. What you are talking about is very empowering and reminds me that I have a choice about the thoughts I dwell on. The process of questioning thoughts really builds strength and self awareness, which I think is essential for having a peaceful birth and life in general. Counsellors can call this cognitive behavioural therapy. And the technique mentioned about focussing on something else immediate and sensory is called mindfulness and is a powerful way to stop the cycle of anxiety. I hope that I can keep working on this before my next pregnancy so that I can make more peaceful choices rather than feeling at the mercy of my fears.

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Faith December 2, 2010 at 10:00 am

Oh, this sounds so much like me many years ago when I was still so impressionable and unsure. I listened to others too much, worried too much, let my fears take me over. I am sorry you are going through this time, it truly is a difficult time. But it is a necessary thing. For going through it is the only way to learn faith, to learn to truly trust, to learn the lessons you must learn. It is all a part of life. If you are a believer, then you must remind yourself that these are all lies from the deceiver. The One who loves you (God) wants you to have peace. Do a bible study on birth and you’ll be amazed at what God has to say. He WILL deliver you. He did not bring you to the moment of delivery to close up your womb. After doing a bible study, I felt so much better. Daily read those scriptures. Put the truth in your head and trust God. Then the lies will melt away into the background and will no longer rule your life. Hugs~

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Sarah Clark December 2, 2010 at 11:12 am

my favorite post so far- awesome

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Virginia Maddock January 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for your timely post. Up until yesterday I was also having these niggling fears due to shock at falling pregnant so quickly, despite it being well planned, and a few friends having problems such as miscarriage and birth defects. (I do not do ultrasound scans either). Yesterday I had a hypnotherapy session which has really helped and I am now finding myself in a more trusting place. When I catch myself feeling down I remember what was said during my session “Everything is OK!” which has become my mantra. I will look for that book also. Thanks again.

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Sarah January 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Thanks for posting. A friend posted the link for me to find. I have recently found out I am pregnant and then I started bleeding. I am still pregnant. I believe in my heart that all is well, and my baby is meant to be born healthy and live! But, those negative thoughts like to creep in. I have been holding on to 2 Thessalonians 3:3 and Philippians 4:4-9.

Everyday is a new day, let your heart lead you.

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Cindy August 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Thank you so much for this post. I am relieved to know that I am not the only one who has these fearful thoughts. My first pregnancy involved many of a mothers worst fears…twins were born, My daughter, though small, was healthy and survived. My son, was born with a heart defect and was lost at 4 days due to heart surgery complications…..This was over 3 years ago and I have been so fearful of getting pregnant again. I am 37 years old now, and so one of the obvious fears are those relating to ‘advanced maternal age’ and the other fears include giving birth to another baby who is not healthy or we lose again. I feel like I did everything right the first time around…I was healthy, ate organically, took my vitamins, and I know sometimes it’s the luck of the draw, but I’m not left with much to make me feel like ‘If I do *THIS* the next time around it will be okay’.

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