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