Walking Through Shadows
Though I am at a much better place now, this pregnancy has been a completely new experience for me. It has been challenging in ways my other pregnancies were not – both physically and emotionally. I could list a bunch of reasons and speculate as to why it has been more challenging than the others, but in the end, it comes down to this – depression during pregnancy sucks. The physical challenges of pregnancy, even when constant, are nothing compared to emotional ones.
I have always really enjoyed pregnancy. Even with my constant hip pain I really enjoy feeling my baby move and knowing there is a life growing inside of me. Finally slowing down and doing what I needed to do to stop morning sickness took care of that problem completely within a couple of weeks.
But the emotional ups and downs of this pregnancy left me really struggling – even feeling like I didn't want to be pregnant. This was distressing to me – I felt guilty, I felt like a fake every time I was asked about the pregnancy, and I felt more and more miserable.
Even now that I'm feeling a lot better, I still have some echoes of guilt. I don't feel as happy and excited as I felt in other pregnancies. I can look back at my previous pregnancy journals and see that even during those pregnancies I had times of stress and ambivalent feelings here and there – time tends to wash those memories away. But I still find myself feeling a little more anxious and examining myself perhaps more than I did before.
I do find myself enjoying preparing for the baby – cleaning drawers, shopping for clothes here and there, and most especially sewing for the baby. I greatly enjoyed sewing before Galen was born and I'm happy to see I enjoy it as much this time around.
Two friends have recently had babies and holding their newborns has made me look forward to mine. I know that as I get closer I'll look forward to the baby's arrival even more – I often advise women that we have “9 months for a reason.” You feel ready after 9 months of growing a baby 🙂 I just have to remember to step back and take my own advice!
Moving Away from the Shadows
Though I do still find myself feeling some ambivalence and having some harder days, on the whole I'm doing a lot better. I thought I'd outline the major things that made a difference for me in the hopes it may help you if you struggle during a pregnancy.
First, as I mentioned above, I could probably analyze exactly why I felt down – there are several reasons, most of them revolving around my desire to have everything go “according to plan” and that not always happening! But in the end, I found that dwelling on reasons didn't help me – in fact, it made me feel worse.
The one exception was in talking to my midwife – explaining what I was feeling to her, and why I thought I might be feeling that was helpful because she was totally accepting of whatever I felt and simply offered a listening ear and complete understanding.
Otherwise I found trying to analyze my feelings, or even share them with Scott, just made things worse. They were complex and based on illogical emotions – which don't lend themselves to logical analysis or “quick fixes”
More practical steps: Click Here for Part 2.