How can we turn worry into intuition?

Many people today have trouble trusting their intuition.  I think there are two big obstacles to trusting our intuition.

  • Taking time to be quiet and listen
  • Worrying

Today I will be talking about how we can use worry to help strengthen our intuition.

I love Gavin de Becker’s book Protecting the Gift (I own numerous copies and lend them out to people) and I found an article by him which gives a nice glimpse into his book.  I love how he teaches us to take our worry and turn it into intuition.

I am going to show how to apply it to birth.  From Gavin’s article we read:

How can you decide which impulses to explore and which to ignore? By learning how you communicate with yourself. When you honor accurate intuitive signals and evaluate them without denial (believing that either the favorable or the unfavorable outcome is possible), you will come to trust that you’ll be notified if there is something worthy of your attention. Fear will gain credibility because it won’t be applied wastefully. Thus, trusting intuition is the exact opposite of living in fear.

Explore every intuitive signal, but briefly and not repetitively. When faced with some worry or uncertain fear, ask yourself: Am I responding to something in my environment or to something in my imagination? Is this feeling based on something I perceive in my circumstance, or merely something in my memory?

So if Pregnant Polly worries about getting an episiotomy she could ask these questions:

  • Is the fear that I will need an episiotomy based on something in my circumstances?
  • Is it that 2 of my friend just had episiotomies?
  • Is it because I don’t trust my care provider?
  • Is it because I saw a scary birth on TV?

Take Action

The best antidote to worry is action. If there is an action that will lessen the likelihood of a dreaded outcome occurring, and if that action doesn’t cost too much in terms of effort or freedom, then take it. The worry about whether we remembered to close the baby gate at the top of the stairs can be stopped in an instant by checking. Then it isn’t a worry anymore; it’s just a brief impulse. Almost all of the worry parents feel about keeping their children safe evolves from the conflict between intuition and inaction.

Your choices when worrying are clear: take action, have faith, pray, seek comfort, or keep worrying.

Let’s say after Polly asked the questions above, she realizes she is worried because her OB isn’t really supportive of her birth plans.  She doesn’t want an episiotomy.  But when she asks him questions about episiotomies he says, “All first time moms need an episiotomy.”

So she actually has an actual situation that says she should worry.  So now what can she do?

  • Take Action – change care providers, or have a serious discussion with her care provider, bringing in studies to show all first time moms DON’T need an episiotomy.
  • Have faith – that he won’t give HER an episiotomy.
  • Pray – for guidance in her choice of what to do.
  • Seek Comfort – look for information that getting an episiotomy isn’t that big of a deal
  • Or Keep Worrying.

Taking action is the most powerful thing we can do when we have a reason to worry.  (This knowledge alone has helped me immensely as I mother my children.)

What if Polly has a care provider she trusts and realizes the fear of an episiotomy comes from others stories.  What can she do?

When unable to shake a worry, you can simply acknowledge (and tell others if you choose to) that you are feeling anxiety right now about your upcoming birth.  You don’t have to justify your feelings. It is enough to just call it worry, find some comfort, and move on.

Sometimes just acknowledging it can help let the worry go!  If you need more tools to let worries go, check back in the next week or so for more ideas.

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2 thoughts on “How can we turn worry into intuition?”

  1. I am 7.5 weeks pregnant with my first child. Upon finding out, I was really excited at the prospect of having a baby. That feeling of excitement lasted a week. Since then, i have not been excited, I have a nagging feeling that something isnt right. Last year, we had a miscarriage, we were not trying and thus didnt know about the pregnancy until the m/c had happened. For this, almost since upon knowing I have had horrible cramping and low back pain. It brought me to the hospital last week, where that night they did 2 emerg u/s, and had sceduled one for the next day. Had one the next day, everything looked good, found a heartbeat and acknowledged my 2 fibroids, which may or may not be causing the pain. My husband waned to show me some baby things while shopping, and i didnt want to see them, I just couldnt. I just cannot stop this nagging feeling. I will be having another u/s in a few days and then the following week will be a doctors appointment.
    I just feel weired about this, i dont know why. I just cannot shake this feeling that something will happen. Am I being silly, being paranoid, should i trust my instincts as I always have? Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks so much for reading this!


  2. T. I am sorry that you are worried about your baby. I can understand why you are feeling that way, especially after experiencing a loss before. I think it is completely normal to be worried, however since worrying can’t help in any way (there is really no action you can take), I would think that acknowledging you are worried and finding others who have experienced something similar may help. I think there are pregnancy after a loss groups that may be able to provide you the support you need.

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