Whether you’re a newlywed embarking on a new adventure, or a long-term life partner ready to face the next life-altering obstacle, the idea of parenting can be a thrilling and nerve-wracking concept. With so many “what-ifs” at the click of a mouse, or scroll of a smartphone, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available. If you’re feeling ready to move forward with family planning but are feeling uneasy, here are three tips to reduce that anxiety and take control of your situation.
1. Take a Test
Technology is truly amazing, and with the advancement of genetic testing taking the world by storm, you have access to important health information at your fingertips. Are some of your fears based in disorders or health issues that seem to run in the family? Because of the expansion of genetics testing technology, you can be tested to find out your carrier status of certain inheritable disorders before you even pursue conception. Companies that offer this service, such as Progenity founded by Dr. Harry Stylli, also offer screening tests during pregnancy to find out anything from gender to inheritability of a plethora of disorders. Knowledge is power, and being tested before or during pregnancy is a great way to establish whether those “what-ifs” should even be entertained.
2. Seek Reliable Advice
With such a widespread and diverse range of lifestyles and life experiences, asking for advice on your favorite social media platform is not the way to go. When you get the anxious itch to post about your concerns, stop and ask someone whose experience is more likely to be relevant to your own. For example, close relatives who are of similar background, or friends that in the same season of life. Basically, if the person you’re asking advice from is going to be helpful, they have to have some kind of reliability. Your experience is likely to be completely different from your friend Sarah from middle school who you haven’t seen since grade nine. It also helps to make sure the people you ask advice from have your best interest at heart. You know the difference between a Facebook friend and a kindred spirit, so just ask the right people – your people.
3. Ask the Doctor
One of the most common ways to address health concerns is to search online. The only problem with this is that the internet doesn’t have your particular family or personal medical history, while it certainly has information on all of the worst possible cases and outcomes. Remember, a doctor is medically trained, and will have more access to recent and reliable information than someone who has no medical training. There are quite a few questions to ask your doctor before pregnancy, whether your own, your partner’s, or a surrogate’s. If you’re truly at a loss, WebMD has a list of basic questions to ask, and you can certainly add your own.
When it comes to the parenting experience, it’s important to remember the reliability of your information source. When you have control over the sources of your information, you have just that bit much more control over the anxiety surrounding this new experience. More often than not, there are resources available specific to your own circumstances, you just have to find them.