When pregnancy is fine, but not wonderful

Fifteen weeks in and I am certainly in familiar territory. The crippling sickness has abated, which in turn helps with the tiredness and I am left with the odd bout of indigestion and a horrible, gripping black mood and anxiety.

I’ve had this with each of my pregnancies that have lasted past the first trimester. With Mini Mck I didn’t really notice it, or at least I put it down to the fact that we’d had such a struggle to get that far and so I was bound to be a bit grumpy. A long maternity leave, with no other children left lots of time for me to automatically look after myself and so I just put it down to a bit of grumpiness. I only really realised  I’d not been myself in the early days of Mini’s life, when I suddenly felt normal again, despite the sleep deprivation.

With Nano, I recognised these feelings much sooner and looked into whether such a thing as Ante-natal Depression exists. (it does, which made me feel less crazy) I slogged through my pregnancy with a high energy toddler in tow and just waited to feel better once the baby came, which I did, within days.

This time I was ready for the return of my anxieties and black mood, or at least I thought I was. I knew it was coming and so naively thought I could just logic my way out of it. I expected that by knowing it was a temporary pregnant state, just chemicals, I could, somehow talk myself out of feeling it.  I’ve written before about stepping over feelings and it’s not possible. It can’t be done, but for some illogical reason I thought perhaps I could this time. I can’t. Knowing why you feel a certain way, doesn’t change how you feel, it’s just knowledge.

It’s very strange and lonely to not be able to get on board with the way everyone expects you to behave. Everyone around me is excited and interested, asking questions about how the pregnancy is going and how I am and of course, this baby is much wanted and longed for. It will be loved and cherished and cared for, but just now, when I think of it’s arrival I am gripped by panic and fear. How can you explain that to people?

So, what I have done is retreated, both from myself and others. Lost interest in the things that I love. I haven’t felt like crocheting, writing, reading or even cooking. Nothing very world changing or important, but the things that help make me, ‘me’. Without them I feel at odds with myself. Everything in life just jarring a little, not feeling quite as it should be.

I read a really good post by the lovely Byrony last week, I know everyone in blogging is described as lovely, but she really is. In it she wrote about how she has been managing her anxiety issues and her post has been on my mind ever since. I realise that by trying to talk myself out of my feelings, what I’ve actually been doing is trying to ignore how I feel and that’s not the same thing at all. I haven’t been doing anything pro-active to help myself and so gradually have slipped further into a hole.

I have another friend who talks about putting ‘pebbles in your jar’ which is basically saying that by doing the things that you know are good for your soul, you are stocking your reserves for when things are not so easy. All the things I have stopped doing are my ‘pebbles’. It makes perfect sense to me, you can’t run on empty, whether you are talking about your body or your mind. Writing is how I make sense of things, crochet is how I feed my creative side, reading is how I wind down at the end of a day, so that I can sleep well, to refresh and eating well, making that effort, is how I fuel my body and mind and remind myself that I matter. By simply doing these things I will feel more like myself and hopefully have the reserves that I need on the days when the anxiety is stronger than I am.

I feel like last weekend was a bit of a watershed moment. By feeling lower than I have since becoming pregnant and accepting that it is not connected to nausea or tiredness, or at least only tiredness caused by sleeping fitfully and dreaming badly, I have been able to allow these feelings to flood in. By doing so I have been able to write this and really be logical about things, rather than trying to trick myself.

It’s helped, or at least it will. I hope

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19 thoughts on “When pregnancy is fine, but not wonderful

  1. Really sorry to hear you’ve been struggling a bit. It sounds like the things you love doing may help you feel a bit more yourself though. And you’re right, facing up to the feelings and just accepting they’re there may help too. Hope you feel better very soon. x

  2. Somehow the phrase “it’s totally normal” just sounds so hollow, doesn’t it, even though its true? But it is. So one of the most important things is not to beat yourself up. That’s why I love your friend’s idea of ‘the pebbles’ – make sure you find time to invest in yourself in small ways and give yourself credit for all the brilliant stuff you do.

  3. Oh this made me well up. Sounds like you have been going through (and are still going through) a really tough time, and it sounds like you’re doing the right thing now by actively trying to tackle it. I hope the next few months improve – and that your pebbles help. xx

  4. Reading this really rang true with my pregnancy this time. Antenatal depression mixed in with Hyperemesis for 25 weeks has made it so hard to feel real joy about the pregnancy. Like you said, my baby is very much wanted after suffering so many miscarriages and I know that I will love it as much as I love my son, but I also find that because people know that I have had so many miscarriages that they expect me to be so joyful and excited all of the time. It’s hard as I feel like I’ve failed at pregnancy this time as I have to force the smiles and feign the excitement when all i feel is anxiety and guilt. I have lacked inspiration to get things ready for the baby, and my creativity in terms of cooking, knitting & crochet has been nearly non-existent. However I have made a real effort over the last month to take some time for myself and forced myself to do the things that I usually love & make me happy. It really seems to be working. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than it was.

    I hope that you find something that recharges you & has you feeling more yourself soon. Sending you lots of love & letting you know that you are not alone in feeling the way you do. Thank you for writing such a brilliant post.

    xx

    1. This sums it up so so perfectly. Thank you for commenting. “I feel I am failing at pregnancy” is exactly how I feel and you’re right about the miscarriage thing too, it hadn’t even occurred to me, but there is an added pressure to be over the moon all the time. So nice to know I am not alone

  5. Thank you for writing this. I think these feelings are very hard to express. I teach antenatal yoga and hope that my class might be a ‘pebble in a jar’ for somebody. I wonder if you would let me ‘reblog’ this and / or put it on my work facebook page. It might just help someone out?

    1. Absolutely happy for you to put the link on your page and I promise that your class is definitely someone’s pebble. I did it with MM and it was totally fantastic. Unfortunately the course had stopped with baby no 2, otherwise I would’ve done it again.

      1. Thank you. Will share it around my ladies present and future! I’m guessing Teesside is a bit far for you to travel for a yoga class. Shame.

  6. I wish I’d read this with mine, I was rubbish at being pregnant and I knew nothing about ante natal depression. Getting it out of your head is such a good idea and I love the pebbles, perfect. I did find yoga helped with BB and indulging myself but that was because I could with the others at school and I realise it’s not that simple for you. If you can make time to do things just for you, a little time to recharge, please do xxx

  7. I’m so glad you took some comfort in what I wrote. I actually really enjoyed my pregnancy with Francesca but really suffered with Antenatal Depression with Georgiana. It’s so horrible to have people TELL you to enjoy something that is slowly sucking the life out of you both physically and mentally.

    It sounds cheesy but it’s really inspiring to hear about you facing anxiety head on, for me it’s something you shouldn’t try to talk your way out of but just tackle in the most effective way for you. Sending you lots of love for the next few months xxxxxxxx

  8. Clearly I have no idea on how it feels to be pregnant, but I can relate to the pebbles in a jar analogy. For me running is my pebble, it’s what makes me happy and content. If I have a period without running of a week or more I start feeling negative, low on energy and grumpy.
    Hope the writing and putting some pebbles in that jar do help you.

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