Pregnancy is rarely nine months of pure bliss and contentment. If you already have a child with special needs, there is no need to feel guilty for wondering what life will look like if your next child does as well—or what it will look like if it doesn’t. The task of raising children is always stressful and easy to get anxious about, but handling these normal pregnancy fears in a healthy way should be every parent’s goal.
Document Your Concerns
One of the best tools to help you handle pregnancy fears in a healthy way is a notebook. Taking the time to write out the worries weighing on your mind allows you to reason with them. In the same way that we are more likely to recognize unreasonable thoughts when we speak them out loud, writing anxious thoughts downs gives parents the chance to separate themselves from the worries and address those thought patterns from a place of power.
Tracking your worries also allows you to bring them to your family doctor or prenatal care team so that even the concerns you can’t address alone don’t weigh too heavily on your mind.
Come to Terms With Test Results
Prenatal care offers clear benefits for the health outcomes of both mom and the baby on the way, but the tests the doctors conduct during these visits don’t always have exciting results. Some tests can help parents and doctors determine if the baby is at a higher risk of having health problems, which can be hard to hear for parents who currently have children with special needs. Any unusual genetic testing and blood testing results provide parents with just one more thing to worry about in the future.
However, by asking questions and speaking openly about what life changes might be necessary for your family to make room for the newborn’s needs, you can transform the unhealthy stress of worrying about the future into the healthy stress of working with your family to succeed.
As a mother of children with special needs, trust yourself. Growth is a constant and long-term goal, not only for your child but for you as well. You have undoubtedly made progress and overcome many obstacles to get where you are now, so when you are feeling anxious, remind yourself that you can do this.
If you find yourself thinking that you need to make a change, trust your gut to address that change. If you’re truly concerned about making the right choices, seek support systems that you know have your family’s best interests in mind, from healthcare teams to family members and beyond.
Learning how to handle pregnancy fears in a healthy way takes time and effort. It’s much easier to fall back into worry and fear than it is to stand up to those emotions and take control. But in the moments you do succeed and face the future with bravery, you set a powerful example for your child, inspiring them to face their unique challenges as well.