Monday, May 6, 2013
Thursday morning, I woke up like it was any other day. I got ready, looked over my lesson plans, taught my classes, and as I was erasing the board before leaving my last class to go home, my heart started to race, and it felt as if a malevolent force was destroying what had been a great day so far.
I finished erasing the white board, grabbed my bag, and threw myself outside of the building at the corner of 32nd & Chestnut. I started to walk. Fresh air will help, I thought. Fresh air, going in and out of shops in Center City, and maybe treating myself to something nice would make it all okay. I kept walking with determination, but the more I walked the more I wanted to run. Run and hide. I dove into the first subway station I saw and took the train home. At home, I quickly changed out of my clothes and laid on the couch until Jeremy came home in the afternoon. When he asked me about my day, I started to cry like I've thought of my worst memory. He quickly pulled me into his arms as I told him that I didn't know why I was crying. He said he understood. When I say he understood, I mean, he truly understood what was going on, because he studies neuroscience. He didn't try to explain what was happening in my brain in fancy scientific terms. Instead, he kept whispering that he will always be there for me as he continued to hold me a little tighter.
On certain days, no matter how much I resist, my mind becomes convoluted with negativity. I know it's the pregnancy that causes me to feel this way, but it's nothing compared to some of the strange moods I used to experience before I became pregnant. It makes me feel like I no longer feel my body as my own but more as a foreign land that is slowly being overrun. So, I wonder in anxiety about how my body will make room for my constantly growing baby who is already kicking and moving around all day long. I worry if I'm eating right, sleeping right, and making sure that my daily routine won't potentially cause me or my baby harm. I wonder if I'm a nuisance to those around me and my husband. I fear that I'm physically becoming more dependent on others. Then, I fear the quickly approaching time during labor when I will feel pain, lose all physical control, and surrender myself to the help of doctors and medicine. I worry if our house is ready to accommodate our baby, and I worry if everything is organized. I feel alone. I worry that I don't know anything about breast feeding and bathing a baby. I want to cry. I don't want to cry, because I don't want to project the negativity that has its claws tightly wrapped around me onto my baby. I worry that I will leave an imprint of my negative feelings on my baby's psyche. I continue to worry about why I worry so much.
Then, these negative feelings slowly fade away like they never even existed. Afterwards, I feel foolish, exhausted, and relieved.
The next day, I called my mother in Turkey to explain to her the way I feel at times."Oh, I understand. I went through menopause," she said.
"It's not the same."
"It's more similar than you think. Well, let's see. I was pregnant with you thirty years ago."
"Twenty-nine," I said rolling my eyes.
"Almost thirty," she said."And I think I remember feeling that way when I was pregnant, but most recently, I remember feeling that way while going through menopause. It's the hormones!"
"Of course," I said with obvious pessimism.
"It's true! With pregnancy, you know you've nine months where you can expect to have really emotional days. Then, you've a baby and experience different kinds of emotional days. With menopause, you don't know when it will end, especially when you have to deal with hot flashes. Trust me. It gets better. It always gets better."
"Tell her beautiful things are waiting for her and Jeremy!" my father yelled into the phone.
"Did you hear that? Your father says beautiful things are waiting for you two! Beautiful things!"
When beautiful things seem so far away, I have to remind myself that life is already beautiful. With each passing day, it continues to become more beautiful. In less than four months, my husband and I will hold our baby in our arms. Our parents, siblings, and close friends will be there to give us their constant love, support, and advice. There will be plenty of surprises. Not everything or everyone will be perfectly ready, because nothing is perfect. We will make it work. We always make it work. We will make compromises to maintain our baby's health and happiness. That's what great parents do. That's what our parents did, and we will try our best to be great parents. It gets better and bad days don't last forever. It always gets better.
Did you experience mood swings while you were pregnant? How did you deal with them? xo
(Photo: Our newly painted nursery)