The weird pregnancy emotions

Pregnancy is an emotional marathon, and at times I hardly recognise myself. Who am I these days?

Russian dolls

Sometimes serene, sometimes stressed. Pregnancy has its moments when all the parts don’t really fit smoothly together © Laura Eades 2014

I’m buddhalike. Cosmic joy. I fall asleep in an instant. My husband puts his hand or my daughter puts her cheek on my belly; we call to the baby. We tell the baby we’re here. “Coming in Summer?”, checks my daughter addressing my belly, as if on the phone. I feel my very best in my yoga class, saluting the full moon, trying to make some space for expansion.

But also, occasionally…

I’m paranoid. I worry about that mouthwash. Or the thing they couldn’t test for conclusively. Or: Was it a problem to wash my dishes for three days whilst on holiday in Turkey with floor polish? Or: I drank herbal tea with a bit of sage in it, is it going to bring on a miscarriage? I’ve learned to resist the urge to Google, and to seek the counsel of people who have a reassuring demeanour.

I’m suspicious of my good luck. I had a miscarriage between my pregnancies – so this pregnancy (now at 24 weeks) I don’t take for granted. On a good day, I’m blessed. Other times, I don’t accept its reality fully. I can hardly discuss names. I’m glad pregnancy is long, since one’s own denial is quite a slow boulder to shift. I’m grateful to people who ask how it’s going, to the gifts that arrive prematurely from excited grandparents, to my husband for keeping name suggestions coming.

I’m on a deadline. Haven’t you heard? My world’s coming to a standstill in a few months. Got to quickly sort out my life. Finish my novel. Get this blog sorted so I don’t go internetsilent when the baby comes. Sell the second-hand crap in the cellar. Fix the things in the mend-its box. Write a will. (Oh no, it’s not preparing for death, Laura). But there’s the urge to tie up all the loose ends. It’s a madly practical time. (Last time, it felt imperative to reupholster some split dining chairs). This is an impetus I welcome, but it’s a lot of pressure to put on myself. I need to meditate on the fact that there is enough time, and keep my goals simple and achievable.

I’m worried I’m a clueless mother. My toddler is very challenging just at this moment. Her caprices are wild and entirely unreasonable. Last week, she threw herself on the pavement because I wouldn’t let her steal a wicker footstool from an antique shop. I lost my sense of humour entirely. It was truly ugly (both the footstool – she has no taste – and the whole scene). If I had time, I’d read some manuals. But looking back on my first pregnancy, I think worries about being unready, unqualified, and that I might make a pig’s ear of the whole Loving Mother role go with the pregnant territory. You forget how unstoppable your love is once it gets going. It’s just a life force. It’s not an exam you have to swot up for.

I’m fatter. I don’t like it much, my boobs are huge and I’m not celebrating. On one hand I’ve given myself permission to eat a load, and on another I give myself a hard time about it. I can’t connect very well with my slow-down and stop response. This tends to indicate I’m rather stressed. I think and read about the role of stress in my eating, and try to learn from this part of my journey as an eater too, and since it’s inappropriate to mess with my diet too much, I’m trying to slowly put Mindfulness into practice at the dining table.

I’m needy. I want my husband right here. It’s a biological-emotional thing (that’s my attempt to sound scientific, when what I mean is, I’m clingy). It must be annoying to hardly be allowed out of someone’s sight, and to be commanded to move furniture around when you are there. Perversely, stress is repellant and it takes a saint to see that this ratbag really wants looking after and is confused and vulnerable. I’ll try to communicate my appreciation to him, since it’s incredibly lucky I have someone to share this huge life work with, and someone who seems so good at it too.

I’m dreaming of less stressed way of being. Pregnancy brings stress to the fore, and highlights how it has a knock-on effect on those around you too – because the baby feels my stress, just as I infect my husband when I’m highly-strung. And if you mix in a few unwanted complications, like high blood pressure (which fortunately this time I haven’t run into yet), then you are in one of the situations in life where your stress is not just toxic to your relationships, but is also dangerous to your and the baby’s health. So it seems really important to look at these stresses and think about how to roll with them.

I’m with you on this. Pregnancy’s a pretty personal experience, but it’s also shared by half the world.  You only ever get your own story and my baby’s due in May so this’ll be a pretty short series – but I hope that in sharing some of the emotional journey you’ll recognise yourself, or get an insight into those near you. Watch out for what grows from this.

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I’m happy to hear your thoughts. If you’ve got things to say about this, or special topics you’d like me to cover, or helpful suggestions or loving communions, I’d love to hear from you. Click on the grey dot with a plus sign below the post to open up the comment section.

(ps. I’m still me. If you’re not pregnant, don’t want to be, and don’t want to think or read about it, don’t worry – I’ll still be posting about my regular topics in the upcoming months as well!)

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Read more about pregnancy and maternity on Illustrated Guide to Life:

And more about Mindfulness on Illustrated Guide to Life: