3 Tips to Tame Hypervigilance When It’s Christmas and You’re Still Not Pregnant
When you’re trying to get pregnant, you spot each and every single pregnant woman who passes by you.
You know how many pregnant women are in your office.
You notice each round belly at a crowded party.
Being keyed up to notice all the pregnant women in your proximity can be unhealthy because it amps up the stress chemical (cortisol). That kind of off-and-on stress isn’t fun; it can lead to feeling anxious and depressed.
Here’s the thing: When you want something so badly, you’re going to notice those who have it already. That’s being human.
But hypervigilance isn’t helpful. Tame the hypervigilance by applying some strategies from cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Journal what you feel when you notice pregnant women. List your feelings. Maybe you feel depressed, worried, angry, or listless. Don’t judge the feelings, just acknowledge them. (Some gals think, “I shouldn’t feel that feeling about my best friend who got pregnant.” Beware the SHOULDs.)
- Note what thought piggybacks onto your feelings. For example, you might feel angry and the thought that follows is, “I’m so mad–the injustice makes me so mad that I’m going to give up trying.” Write down on paper your feelings paired with your thoughts.
- Pick a mantra or prayer you will plan to think about when you see pregnant women. Brainstorm how you could give yourself some grace to be human while also choosing how you’d like to feel. Maybe you decide to think, “God, it stings to see another woman pregnant while I’m still waiting. And while it hurts, I will set my heart on a future that is filled with contentment and peace, regardless of my having a baby.” The Post-It note version: “That stings, but I will have peace.”
While seeing pregnant women will still hurt, it may hurt less. You may feel more in control and calm. To get into the habit of thinking differently, it could be useful to place notes in your car, or on your bathroom mirror, or on your work computer. Remember that you’ve got what it takes to rise above the struggle.
***This blog does not substitute for professional advice. See your doctor or your therapist for support.