Pregnancy scares are frightening even if you don’t have anxiety. The idea that your uterus might be baking up a little human while you’re watching Friends reruns isn’t a pleasant thought if it’s unexpected, ill-timed, or unwanted. Maybe children just aren’t in the plan right now or at all. Maybe a baby is a scary idea period. But having a pregnancy scare when you have anxiety can be a horrible experience—so I’m here with some tips to help you make it through the scare, and onto the results.
- First, take a deep breath. This just goes for anything that induces anxiety, but it helps here. Take several big, deep breaths and clear your mind.
- This is the hard part, but you have to wait and try not to stress (almost impossible, I know). If it’s day three of not having your period and you usually start on day two, now is not the time to panic. Wait it out until the entire period length is missed—hormones are tricky, and like to mess with us. Periods can change and be different due to a variety of factors; pregnancy may not necessarily be the first reason.
- Do not Google every goddamn unplanned pregnancy story on the internet. It will only make the anxiety worse. Do not search for situations similar to yours. Do not look for horror stories. Do not assume the worst. Distract yourself with favorite hobbies or housework or reading or anything but spending all day worrying about birth defects or how your family will react. Do not think about it.
- You do not have to tell anyone that you think you might be pregnant if you don’t want to. It’s your choice if you tell your boyfriend/one night stand/friend with benefits, or your mother, or your best-friend, or the Internet, or whoever. If you want to tell people, then feel free to—company can help distract you from the worrying. But if you don’t want to then you don’t have to. Like I said, it’s your choice.
- When the period is officially missed, you’re going to have to wait a couple more days. On one of those days feel free to make a trip to buy a pregnancy test. Buy as many as you want; if you only need one to be sure, then do it. If you need fourteen then do it. If you can buy just the pregnancy test and look the clerk in the eye then do it (they honestly don’t really care), and if you have to bury it under packs of frosted doughnuts and magazines then do it. Buying a pregnancy test can be stressful, so do whatever you want to make it a comfortable experience for you.
- At a certain point past your missed period, take the test. It’s better to do it with the first urine flow in the morning, and make sure to wait the allotted time. Take more deep breaths while you’re waiting for the result. Then look.
- Whatever the results are, don’t let them trigger a panic or anxiety attack. Remember your coping methods, take plenty of deep breaths, and figure out what you’re going to do next. Since this is directed toward those who have negative results (hence the ‘scare’), take a moment to clear your mind of all the worries that have been happening since the first “Am I pregnant?” thought occurred.
- If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of someone finding your pregnancy test, make sure to dispose of it in a way that makes you happy. Whether that’s chucking it in your personal trash can or throwing it into the community bin is up to you. No one has to know unless you want them to.
- Remember that there are other reasons you might have missed a period. Stress can actually cause the body not to ovulate—so it could be as simple as anxiety taking control of your reproductive system. However, it’s recommended if you miss your period for more than a month to see a doctor, because they know way more about this than an anxious blogger on the internet.
A pregnancy scare can be a terrifying thing with or without anxiety, but just because you do have a mental illness does not mean you don’t have a right to make this experience one that doesn’t trigger a panic or anxiety attack. Take plenty of deep breaths, don’t freak out over the millions of possibilities, and do what makes you comfortable.
And celebrate with some wine. Wine is always good.