I sound like a monster, but I’m admitting it anyway

by Rebecca on December 10, 2013

I can always tell I’m pregnant when I start salivating over fast food billboards. When there is no developing fetus in my body, we rarely eat fast food. I can’t even remember the last time I had a fast food hamburger, but every time I’m pregnant, the Big Mac begs to get in my belly. I never give in to the hamburger craving, but Taco Bell sure does see a lot of me during my pregnancies. And I can’t tell you how many stamps I received on my loyalty cards (plural) at the soft pretzel place during my first pregnancy.

The other way I can always tell I’m pregnant is a profound sadness that seems to engulf me and drag me down. I’ve read countless articles and books on pregnancy, and I talk about pregnancy with countless women. I’ve never seen or heard anybody mention this issue, so I don’t know if it’s just me, or if I’m a bad reader and listener.

One way to describe it is buyer’s remorse. It’s really a strange phenomenon — because months before I get pregnant, I really want a new baby. I dream about the baby, name the baby, and imagine how it will fit into our family. I pray for the baby, and can’t wait to see a positive sign on my pregnancy test.

And then I see the positive sign and think, “What have I done?”

Sometimes women are frustrated when they talk to me. So far, I haven’t had particularly difficult pregnancies *knock on wood*. I haven’t been sick, which seems unfair to women who do experience horrible symptoms. Women who have been through hell sometimes don’t understand why I’m not over the moon with my pregnancy, especially because I’m feeling physically fine.

But something psychological happens to me at the beginning of my pregnancies, and I really feel as if I can’t control it. I go into a deep funk, maybe even a mild depression. I just become so sad.

I’ve wondered if this is something I should admit in print — it makes me sound particularly awful, and I know my children may read this one day. Ultimately, I decided to be open on this issue in case my daughters experience it as well. I don’t regret my children for a second, but I’ve learned that sometimes even when you have exactly what you want, you can still be sad beyond your control.

Incidentally, I also think I have suffered from baby blues after the births of both of my children. It’s possible that this funk that engulfs me at the beginning of my pregnancies and the pit of despair I dwell in after the births is somehow related.

Before I got pregnant this time around, I expected the sadness to come. Maybe the sadness that then came was self-fulfilling prophesy. Maybe it would have come anyway. But I was prepared, so I secluded myself and allowed myself to be sad and work through my issues. I waited a long time before I told people about the pregnancy because I was certain I wouldn’t be able to bear happy claps and congratulations.

It seemed to work well. I was sad, but I was dealing just fine. As I emerged from my sadness step by step, I told one trusted friend and then another. I was completely surprised to find myself not depressed by their cheer, but lifted.

Women friends are essential — don’t I know that yet? Ultimately, my friends are what lifted me from the sadness that followed me around like Charlie Brown’s rain cloud. I’m a slow learner. Had I known how awesome my friends could help me feel, I would have gleefully discussed my pregnancy with everyone.

I’m scared for the baby blues that may come this June, especially because my parents will still be serving a mission in Detroit and won’t be here to help take care of me. But I think I’m finally starting to understand that friends are how we get through these difficult stages. Hopefully I’ll remember this lesson — but six and a half months is a long time to keep something in my brain.

Plus, I’m spending the majority of my brain’s energy fighting fast food hamburger urges.

{ 5 comments }

Bonnie December 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm

1. Congrats on the baby! Sooo excited for you! I knew the minute I deactivated Facebook I would miss something awesome.

2. Friends are the best! For real. There have been times where I swore friends would disown me for stuff that I just had to confess, but like magic, in just a sentence or two they’ve always put it all in perspective and made me feel 100% better. Then they tell me how dumb I was to keep it from them. You know how it goes.

3. I think it’s amazing that you not only opened up and discussed your concerns about the baby blues, but you even made plans accordingly to help deal with it. That’s pretty huge.

4. Congrats again! I am seriously so happy for your family :)

Linda December 10, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Maybe you should right yourself a note, stick it in your hospital bag and read it when you have that baby. I sure wish I knew how to help you. Let me, but tell me how.

Vanessa December 10, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Yes I can’t believe you lied to me for weeks!!!! I’ll forgive you when I see the baby ;)

Melissa B Davis December 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Congratulations!!!

And I could not relate more! I have mixed feelings about my pregnancy every day! We were really slow at letting people know because I just wasn’t feeling it, we are unemployed and getting assistance and I was so afraid people would be judgy and I’d be hurt. After I got over that it turned into “What am I thinking, two kids??? I can’t even handle the emotions needed for one, let alone the missed sleep and all that comes with a newborn.”

BUT something you wrote a long time ago that has stuck with me and made me feel human is its OK not to be in love with the newborn stage. If I hadn’t read that before I had my first baby I would have felt like a monster. Give me a baby at 6 months and we’ll be fine, but newborns are hard for me and knowing that someone else felt the same way was very reassuring.

Quinn December 13, 2013 at 7:38 am

Love you SOOO much! How exciting about Baby!!! I can definitely relate – I tend to bounce into crazy zone a lot when pregnant. The last pregnancy was my best because I was much more conscious about the kinds of foods I was eating – makes a big impact on those sad feelings & the cranky prego mom stuff. So glad you have so many wonderful friends to support right now & beyond! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything you need that I can help you with. :) YOU are beautiful & amazing & are an incredible mom! MUCH love to you, friend! xoxoxo

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