From the Owlet community: Yoga teacher and life coach, Mariel Witmond discusses anxiety during her pregnancy

Mariel Witmond
Mariel Witmond

20 October, 2019

From the Owlet community: Yoga teacher and life coach

It never ceases to amaze me how something that we were created to do, something that countless women before us have done, can still be looked upon with more fear and anxiety than empowerment and wonder.

Pregnancy is often seen as more of an illness than the miracle that it truly is! The process of getting pregnant, pregnancy, labour and birth put many women through the unthinkable. According to a study by Duke University, pregnant women push the limit of human endurance and without sufficient statistical evidence, we are often far too eager to point the blame should something go wrong. In many ways, we become too eager to blame ourselves, even when so much is just a part of nature. Any woman who has heart wrenchingly lost a child will undoubtedly hang on to fear and anxiety much stronger the next time around.

Part of this web of fear and anxiety perhaps stems from our inability, until more recently, to openly speak out about our experiences. Although sometimes over sharing can exacerbate the problem as it is much more common to share the bad than the good (and everyone has an opinion), we forget how each and every one of us is different. As a result, all our experiences will be different too. We have started to judge and alienate through so-called “mummy wars”, rather than supporting and encouraging each other. Some women also aren’t fully informed over their bodily rights during pregnancy and birth. We give up trusting our bodies and personal intuition in favour of what others think is best.

The psychological impact of so much uncertainty and external influence has resulted in a negative outlook of the pregnancy process, causing us to fear rather than embrace the journey. Then, once “the worst” is over and all is forgotten in the eyes of our child, a new fear and anxiety arises as we wrestle the unknown once again – this time trying to keep a human being alive!

In the earlier stages of my pregnancy, I bought a doppler machine to reassure myself that my baby’s heart was still beating. Ironically, not long after, she started to move and I no longer had a need for the doppler machine. Yet I worried if she moved too much and then worried when she didn’t move enough. I remember in my first trimester, every time I went to the bathroom I would inherently be checking for blood, terrified I had lost her. I questioned the foods I ate and what I drank, whether I was getting the right nutrients, whether they might make me sick or harm my baby. It got to a point where I had to remind myself that although these feelings were entirely natural, I needed to do my best to relax and start to listen to my body. I researched the things that interested me and then did my best to take the rest in my stride. And I did a lot of things that some might argue I shouldn’t have, but they felt right to me – and turned out to be fine, for me.

Fortunately, we live in an age where technology is working hard to assuage concerns by providing data that will help to reassure our uncertainties. Although I do believe we can sometimes get carried away here as well – overwhelming ourselves with too much information – I know from my own experience that whatever can help to ease our mind (rather than make us more obsessive!) is a step in the right direction. This is why I am so excited to be trying out and reviewing the Owlet Smart Sock and Baby Cam for when our daughter arrives – any day now!

Our resiliency – our ability to deal with change, discomfort, loss, loneliness, and the never ending fear of the unknown – has reinforced my belief that women are, without a doubt, superhuman. Experiencing pregnancy for the first time has also reinforced my belief in the importance of listening to our bodies, trusting our intuition, and learning to choose love over fear.

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