I hate being pregnant. The end result is wonderful, but the whole pregnancy process, in my opinion, is for the birds. I wonder at the miracle of life formed in my body and still think the whole thing just sucks. But the apprehension I feel this time has been surprisingly hard.
When I became pregnant with my first child, we didn’t make it far into the process before I lost the baby in miscarriage, which filled me with fear when I got pregnant again. After breathing a tentative sigh of relief somewhere around 16 weeks, I never thought much about how I felt being pregnant. Comparatively, my second pregnancy breezed by with little fanfare. Now 26 weeks into my third pregnancy, I find that I am pretty much over it.
The stretching, the growing, the swelling, the fatigue, the irritability, the moodiness, the indigestion (oh the indigestion), and this time, the anxiety create a toxic blend of chaos, utterly destructive to normal functionality. With a toddler and preschooler in tow, a job which requires daily interaction with a host of different people, and a husband who still needs my attention and affection, I find I am often hanging by a thread.
What doesn’t kill you…
Here’s the deal: I tend to take a “put your big girl panties on” attitude and dig deep to keep things moving. But this pregnancy in particular, is testing my resolve and resilience. What’s been hardest, and what I have found is what many pregnant mommas experience, is the apprehension I feel about this soon-to-be new addition to our family.
I worry about finances and logistics, mostly, and I worry to a lesser extent about the demands required of me. Undoubtedly, I will love this little one with the same fierceness I love my other children; I already do. Financially we have needs and wants, all of which I’m not sure how we will afford. There are job considerations, possible changes in schedule and income which will require an additional adjustment in our habits.
Logistically, I feel stressed just thinking about the process of loading three kids in and out of the car, going to the grocery store, getting ready in the morning to leave the house – all things that happen on a somewhat regular basis. Part of my mental sanity comes from a clean house, something I fear may be a thing of the distant past for a while. How will I find a way to exercise? What unexpected changes are headed our way? Will my husband and I be able to find a new rhythm for intimacy? What happens when we are both at the end of our ropes and we have no money or time for date nights or alone time?
With these (demon) pregnancy hormones, it’s easy to contemplate the worst case scenario. The reality is that parenting, as wonderful as it can be, is hard, unwieldy, and constant. It changes us, requires us to evaluate and re-evaluate how we live, and to be flexible in ways we never contemplated.
Tell the Truth!
Momma, if you are reading this and you feel the same kind of apprehension about whatever pregnancy number this is, let’s speak some truths to ourselves together:
- We can be honest. In fact, telling the truth may be the best coping mechanism to survive. It’s okay to not love your stretch marks or swollen feet or irritability. How we treat ourselves and treat others in the midst of our honesty is what matters. We can be kind and honest at the same time.
- We will figure this out. The beauty about bringing life into this world is that it demands we find a way, and somehow, we always do. It may be rocky in spots, but we will figure it out
- We will make mistakes. The illusion of perfection is dangerous. You are not perfect. I am not perfect. Make mistakes and learn from them, then move on.
- We need heaps of grace for ourselves and others. Everyone in our households will experience both pregnancy and post-partum with us. We will all adjust to a new rhythm of life with a new little one. Everyone will each figure it out at our own pace. Let’s have grace for ourselves and for our loved ones in extraordinary amounts as we find a new groove.
- We may need more help than we’d like to admit. This one hurts me a little because I am so independent. I’m slowly embracing and anticipating my need for help. I don’t like it, but I know that without it, I will drown. Let’s do ourselves a favor and acknowledge we need help, ask for it, and see it as a strength – doing what we must to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
If you find yourself in this boat, keep rowing. Pretty soon, you’ll pull up alongside someone else in the same sort of boat and you can be an encouragement to each other. We can do this! Even when it sucks.
**There are times in pregnancy when anxiety or depression can be a consistent and persistent theme. Though not always cause for alarm, it is good to be aware and ask for wise counsel if it feels overwhelming. Never feel ashamed to ask for more help than you think you might need. It’s always better to be safe.