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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I feel like I am obsessed with the possibility that I harmed

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I feel like I am obsessed with the possibility that I harmed my unborn child by drinking heavily before I knew I was pregnant. I stopped drinking at 31 days from my last period, or a little over 2 weeks from conception. My doctor has assured me that the baby "might" still be fine, but I feel overwhelmed with guilt and spend hours research fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol related birth defects.

This is my first child, and I am wondering if it is "normal" motherly instinct at work here, or something more serious, like a mental health concern?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It is very normal to worry a lot when you are pregnant and even after your baby is born. You are experiencing the first insight into being responsible for another person's well being and that can feel overwhelming. And your fear is based on something you feel is a concern. It is not an imagined fear but instead it is based on your care and concern for your baby's well being. That signals that you are not experiencing a mental health issue.

In this case, it might be helpful to focus on what you can control. More than likely, your baby is just fine. Your doctor thinks so. The fact that you feel guilt means that you want the best for your child. That means you will protect this child and care for it- both very good signs. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by guilt and awful thoughts of what might be. But that only creates anxiety. Your baby needs you calm and focused, as much as possible.

If it helps, try to think about what positive things you are doing for your baby. You are getting medical care, a very big plus. You care about your baby's well being, also a plus. And once your baby is born, he/she will have a mother that cares. That is huge. Focus on doing positive things for your baby to prepare. And talk to other mothers who have been in the same position. THere are many women that drink before they know they are pregnant, so you are not alone. And if it helps, get a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in this field. By doing what you can instead of being concerned about what you can't control, you can feel better.

I hope this has helped you,
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