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Neuroticism and Unexpected Pregnancy

Have you ever heard someone be described as “neurotic?”  Maybe you weren’t quite sure what this meant, but you sensed that this wasn’t meant as a compliment.  Psychology Today defines neuroticism as, “a tendency toward anxietydepression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings.”  Neuroticism is a personality trait that presents emotional and social challenges for those on the higher end of its spectrum.  If you’re navigating an unexpected pregnancy, and are someone who leans toward neuroticism, you may be having an especially difficult time coping with these new circumstances.  Know that you don’t have to face this journey alone!  There’s practical and emotional support available to help you move forward with confidence.

An unexpected pregnancy can cause significant anxiety, but if you’re already prone to sadness or worry, you may be feeling completely overwhelmed.  For over forty years, Avenue Women’s Center has been a resource to women and couples as they manage the challenges of an unexpected pregnancy.  We get that you’re scared, and we want you to know that we’re here for you!  It’s our goal to equip women with knowledge, resources, and support, so they can take their next steps with clarity and courage. 

Check us out and learn more about our free and confidential first-step pregnancy services!

Understanding Neuroticism

Our personality traits make us unique, but we all have tendencies that sometimes seem to make our lives more difficult.  People with high neuroticism are likely to worry a lot, feel disturbed or distressed, experience mood swings, become easily annoyed, and/or feel low.  They tend to experience more health challenges in general, and more dissatisfaction in their relationships.  If this sounds like you, you’re in good company- practically everyone struggles with this to some extent!  Neuroticism is believed to stem partly from genetics and partly from a person’s environment.  But it is possible to cope well with tough circumstances, even if you naturally have some of these qualities.

Coping with Neuroticism During an Unexpected Pregnancy

Although neuroticism may feel like a stable aspect of your personality, research indicates that these characteristics may shift to some degree throughout your life, especially after a significant life event.  In the short-term, there are coping strategies available to help you lower your anxiety or distress.  Consider trying some of these tips!

Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judgment and tuning into your senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell).  There are many apps, websites, and books available to help you develop mindfulness techniques.  It takes practice, but may help you feel calmer and more grounded in the middle of a stressful situation.

Practice good health and self-care.

This one may be especially critical during this season of pregnancy.  Your health and wellness are incredibly important, so make sure you’re receiving prenatal care and reliable information related to your pregnancy options!  Follow recommended guidelines related to nutrition and sleep.  And engage in activities you enjoy!  Go for a walk outside, watch an interesting show, enjoy a favorite snack, or read a new novel.

Consider mental health counseling.

Talking through circumstances and feelings with a compassionate professional has benefits for just about anyone.  But if you’re currently navigating an unexpected pregnancy, and also tend to experience negative emotions, you may find professional counseling to be an especially important resource.  Avenue Women’s Center provides referrals for mental health therapy.

Rely on your support system.

You’re not meant to process through these challenging circumstances and difficult feelings all on your own.  There may be reliable and encouraging people in your life who can walk this road beside you.  By growing a healthy and vibrant support system, you may feel empowered to make your pregnancy decision with a greater sense of freedom and autonomy.  Avenue would love to be included in your support system and to help you connect with other sources of support.

Lean into your faith.

Many women value their spiritual beliefs.  Faith and prayer may be sources of strength in coping with an unexpected pregnancy and all the challenging emotions that surround this.

Avenue Women’s Center offers a welcoming and supportive environment in which to process this unexpected pregnancy and explore your options.  We’re here to meet your needs through free early pregnancy services and additional resources/referrals.

Call, text, chat, or email to schedule an appointment, or stop by one of our six DuPage County, Illinois locations at your convenience!



Psychology Today.  (2022).  Neuroticism.  Retrieved from:

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.