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My Doctor Anxiety Stems From Not Feeling In Control

doctor anxietyLast week, I had my first doctor’s appointment since my 6 week prenatal check-up. I’ve been dealing with unusual doctor anxiety, but when my OB called and wondered where I was, an appointment was made and so I went with my how to manage tips in hand. I wish I could say that afterward I had no more anxiety, but for me that’s just not the case.

Since I realized that I was avoiding the doctor due to anxiety, I have been trying to figure out why. I know some of it has to do with battling infertility for 14 months. I would only talk to the doctor when my medication wasn’t working and we ere discussing the potential of having to move on to different methods of conceiving. I had to take medication daily, monthly blood draws, and it was all a stressful, negative thing. When I finally did get pregnant, we were right on the cusp of taking a break from it all, so I hoped that once I had a break from all the doctors and stress-filled appointments, the anxiety would ease up.

But I realized that my anxiety goes deeper than my experience with infertility. It goes right back to all my miscarriages and if you really boil it all down, it’s all about control for me. Being pregnant has always meant managing staying pregnant with the stress of making sure I knew exactly when a pregnancy happened so that we could avoid another miscarriage. It’s always meant multiple doctor visits, ultrasounds, blood draws, high-risk, and if something did go wrong, which happened 12 times over, even when I did everything “right,” I had no real control over what was going to happen.

So the feeling of not being in control when we were trying to add to our family, and then no control about whether the pregnancy went smoothly, can wear on a person after a while and that’s what has happened to me. I find myself extra protective about what I can control. I can control when or if I go to the doctor, I can control making sure I am consistently taking my medication, I am in control over when I seek medical advice, I am in control over what procedures I will and won’t do, and so I have become very protective. It’s when I feel what I can control is threatened that I find my anxiety rising.

It may be difficult for someone to understand if you’ve not been in either situation of infertility and/or multiple loss. I am still trying to figure it all out and see how to help alleviate it, but the first step, I think, is acknowledging that it’s there and building a support system—which includes my doctors.

:: Did you or do you deal with doctor anxiety during your pregnancy? what do you think it stemmed from? ::

Photo credit: @Devan McGuinness | AccustomedChaos

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