• 10 months ago

    Stress at Work: How Much Is Too Much?


    I’m five weeks pregnant (with my first!) I’ve been reading a lot about stress and pregnancy, and my understanding is that ‘some stress is normal’, and (supposedly) only extreme, chronic stress is harmful.

    However, I have a genuinely stressful job (think Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, but with higher stakes and 5 Miranda Priestlys.) Many of my colleagues are, as you might expect from my description so far, neurotic egomaniacs who drive me completely nuts. I spend most of my days mired in a state of niggling anxiety and carefully repressed fury.

    I make an effort to employ coping techniques- I take walks when I can, steal a few minutes of privacy in the bathroom to take a deep breath, try to think of the big picture and dismiss the stress, repeat mantras to myself - but it’s next to impossible to block it out, and before I know it, I’m fuming again. Relaxing is a lot easier said than done, especially when you can’t stand a lot of the people you’re with every day. I’d love to write this off as a hormone driven reaction, but this is the way it's always been (though I will admit that I am somewhat more annoyed than usual.)

    My husband knows how much I hate my job and basically thinks I'm looking for an excuse to quit, but I’m genuinely worried about how much stress/anxiety can impact fetal brain development, and I'd like to get my facts straight.

    I read one article that claimed stress could do the most serious damage in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, and the thought that it may already be too late to avoid hurting my baby absolutely terrifies me. I further read that stress and anxiety interfere with proper oxygen supply, the thought of which also mortifies me. At the same time, other articles tell me that job-related stress isn’t really the kind that does harm, so I’m trying (and failing) not to worry too much about things I dug up doing amateur research on the internet.

    I do plan to ask my doctor, but he’s on vacation and my initial appointment isn’t until September… so I am turning to this forum in the meantime!

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated- thank you!


  • 10 months ago

    RE: Stress at Work: How Much Is Too Much?

    Stress impacts us all differently and can be hard on your body even when you are at optimum mental & physical health let alone when your body is going through so many physical & hormonal changes. Of course talk to your doctor, track your symptoms and see what they suggest. Depending on where you live & what kind of health coverage you have there may be things available to you to help until you can decide what you want to do.
    I am now pregnant with #2 and it took me a while to finally walk away (I left my job just a few months ago before getting pregnant) it's a very personal decision and people will have a lot of opinions about it - in the end you have to do what is best for you and your family! Whatever that means. Just try to remember that it's not just about you but this little life inside you who is counting on you to keep them healthy and safe - it's ok to slow down for awhile and nurture that. You got this mama!