After my recent moan about motherhood, I thought I may as well have a pop at pregnancy too – go for broke.
I’m totally bummed this whole second baby has got off to such a horrible start. I’ve been unwell, unhappy and uncomfortable for most of the pregnancy. I had all these rosy tinted dreams about having baby no. 2. I don’t know why I assumed it would be so wonderful but I guess I felt like the first time around, while it was all new and (relatively) exciting, it was more about getting through, moving to the next stage, wondering and worrying about what would happen next. And I think I was a bit thrown by it. Maybe even slightly… embarrassed? So, this second and final time, I was keen to embrace it, and even enjoy the pregnancy.
The first fly in the ointment of this plan came with trimester one’s fairly ick morning sickness. I wasn’t spewing but just felt rotten most of the time, physically and mentally. Unfortunately this also created a perfect storm/vicious cycle of not wanting to go out much, which meant my feelings of loneliness, isolation and lack of friends/support here were compounded. I did, however, have the slight comfort of assuming the baby would be a girl, purely by dint of the fact that I was so unwell. But I was wrong about that too.
The second trimester was all right. I felt a bit physically uncomfortable but I was mostly in Australia, so I was enjoying myself and managing to block out a lot of the negative feelings I’d been having. Also I had friends and family to talk through stuff with. Plus all the grandparental support made it easy to take it easy.
Since being back in Zurich, I’m pretty depressed again. It’s cold and dark and – surprise – since I’ve done nothing about it, nothing has magically changed about my life here to suddenly make it great! I’m feeling achey, tired and heavy and my 3.5-year-old son is annoying me just by being a 3.5-year-old (I read this article about how Time-Outs are damaging your child, oh how I laughed… don’t the authors realise that time-outs are so the parents can calm down and regain their composure?!)
I’ve read up a bit on antenatal depression. Unfortunately there’s not that much info – there’s more on PND (postnatal depression). I don’t know if this is because AND is less common, less talked about or purely the fact that there’s a time limit to it. So, for what it’s worth here’s what antenatal depression feels like to me:
It feels like: a big ball of regret and failure – physically and mentally.
It feels like: I can’t have this baby.
It feels like: I wish I wasn’t pregnant.
It feels like: is it too late for an abortion?
It feels like: knowing things are going to get worse before they get better – because how could this situation possibly be improved by adding a squalling, boob-sucking, sleep-deprivation machine?
It feels like: hating my body. I look disgusting.
It feels like: no one has touched me for months except my little boy. No one’s felt the baby move except me.
It feels like: drinking an extra glass or two of wine because you’re unhappy and alcohol has been your crutch for the past 20-odd years and it’s really hard to break that habit now, even though you know it’s doing untold damage to the unborn baby. (However, the stuff I’ve read on AND says it’s advisable to keep taking your anti-depressants. I am not on any SSRIs.)
It feels like: over-eating because I’m depressed. Then feeling sick and overfull – oof!
It feels like: I haven’t talked to the baby or “bonded” with it like I did with my first pregnancy. I can hardly bear thinking about this one.
It feels like: being angry a lot of the time with my beautiful, wonderful 3.5 year old because he won’t walk, or won’t come and get ready NOW, and insists on wearing a nappy even though he’s fine to use the potty.
It feels like: being terrified of PND – and not knowing how to prevent that.
It feels like: being scared of completely cracking up and/or doing something really dangerous to myself and/or others.
It feels like: being trapped. I really don’t know how to get out of this.
It feels like: there’s a sort of primal need to find a “safe” place to give birth and a part of me is frantic that I don’t have it.
It feels like: I should have stayed in Australia but I let convention and la-la-la-not-thinking-about-it guide me back here.
It feels like: I should just shut up with my #firstworldproblems because women are giving birth in refugee camps and other horrible places all the time.
It feels like: I’m afraid of the pain of giving birth. If I don’t even want the child, how can I endure labour? Should I be planning for an epidural? C-section? Would that make it worse?
It feels like: what if I don’t love the kid once he arrives? Everyone says “oh you will” but what if they’re wrong?
It feels like: not being sure if my marriage can survive this.
It feels like: smiling awkwardly when people say – you must be so excited about the baby!! Being envious but slightly appalled that other mums-to-be are thrilled to bits.
It feels like: wincing when people say: wow you’re getting big/ looking really pregnant / walking like a pregnant lady.
It feels like: No one wants to hear it. I should just get over it.
It feels like: when bad things happen to other people, it doesn’t put it all into perspective. I just feel worse, like the world is a bad place.
It feels like: I’m wasting all these amazing opportunities but I just can’t seem to find contentment, let alone happiness.
It feels like: I must just be a cold, nasty, unfeeling person.
It feels like: I’ve made a huge mistake.
It feels like: I’ve made my bed and now I have to lie in it.
It feels like: a life sentence (ok: bad pun). But if motherhood is not really doing it for me already, how’s it going to be in six months, 3 years, 10 years… 😦
It feels like: being really, really tired.
It feels like: being bored.
It feels like: I hate myself and baby, you suck too.