Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Moody Blues and Some Resolutions

Forgive me for sounding ridiculous, but I'm a person who really feels her feelings. Anyone who's more than a nodding acquaintance with me could tell you that. At different times in my life, those feelings have been more and less, let's say, heightened, and there may even have been times when I've been depressed, although I've never really gone down a road to diagnosis. A certain amount of melancholy is a bit of a family heirloom and in this case, as in most others, I've got a strong family resemblance.

By and large, however, I'd say that on reflection, my most challenging periods were the years in my teens and early twenties that I spent on hormonal birth control. My moodiness was extreme and to me, unstoppable. Things leveled for me around when I stopped using the pill altogether and have been in a steady climb in most ways ever since.

Unfortunately, in the 20-some weeks of this pregnancy, I've been struggling with my moods in a way that is really similar to my adolescent and post-adolescent moodiness. I've been a misery around Chris, I've alternately tried to avoid my friends and tried to stack my appointment cards to avoid scheduling lulls. If I'm honest, I've resented this pregnancy more than a bit, and I've found it a struggle to enjoy life with a toddler who I know in my heart should be pure joy (not that that isn't common to mums of toddlers, I know). My pregnancy with Ollie was definitely full of ups and downs too, but it didn't feel quite so hard.

Of course, I'm going to talk to my midwife about what the line is between blues and depression and whether I'm right in thinking this is a hormone issue that will balance once baby is born, or something I should be more concerned about as I look forward to being a mother of two. I think I'm in the blues category. I'll get in a funk for a day or two that feels unstoppable, and then bounce back to something more normal shortly thereafter.  For now I know that I need to take some proactive steps to keep myself on an even keel even as my hormones and body fluctuate wildly out of my control.

In that vein, I'm making resolutions, some of which I meant to make when I turned 30 anyway. So really, two birds one stone.
  1. Get dressed every day. Horrible that this is even a goal, but working at home really doesn't encourage making an effort where clothing is concerned. Add an expanding belly to that set up and you've got a recipe for wearing tights every day. Today I finally caved and bought a nice new pair of maternity jeans, so at least I'll have options for making myself presentable. 
  3. Write it down. It is really helpful for me to get out of my head and onto a page (paper or web). I'll probably try and blog more, as I do find blogging to be a bit of a mood lifter. I object to any specific forms of inspiration, but I've heard rumblings of things like "gratitude journals" from people who are (questionably) into that kind of thing, and I think blogging kind of works that way for me. (But I'm not committing to anything in particular, I wish I had the energy to join some blog challenges, but right now everything feels like a challenge so it doesn't seem wise). 
  5. Get off my computer. Counter to the above resolution, while I think I need to spend more time writing, I think I need to spend less time in front of my computer. Specifically I need to get in more mat time and more time with my beautiful new guitar (an incredible gift from my parents for my 30th birthday). Getting back to my yoga practice will help me to deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy and I'm hoping will also help me to address some of my fears about labor and how I'll handle that. Time learning the guitar will give me a focused hobby to take my mind off the blues (or play them, ha ha), that Ollie will love too!
  7. Spend more time in the kitchen. I love to cook and I love to bake and I love to watch my family enjoy the foods I prepare. But it's easy to not bother to take the time because I'm tired or grouchy or bored. But taking the time makes me feel less tired and bored and grouchy, so it's important.
  9. Spend more time with more of my friends. My family won't believe me, and probably lots of my friends too, but I'm really an introvert. I would almost always prefer to be at home, and often by myself. But that's a recipe for not getting dressed, not eating well and sitting like a zombie with my laptop. I do socialize often, with the people it is easy to spend time with, in easy scenarios, but sometimes I let my meaningful one-on-one time with friends slip because it takes more time or might require some real effort on my part, but it's effort that's worth it. 
  11. Be more intentional, do what I'm doing. This just sounds like Lululemon bag nonsense. But for real, I watch tv while on the internet, I cook and read and entertain Ollie all at the same time, I talk on the phone while walking to run errands and running late. I always feel like I'm doing a lot of stuff and not really enjoying any of it. I can work on this. Once in a while I can do one thing at a time. 
  13. Get a grip about what's coming in May. I can't really overstate how completely terrified I am about giving birth. Talking about Ollie's birth basically puts me into a state of panic, and thinking about doing anything similar again makes my whole body sweat. Frankly, it's made it difficult for me to enjoy anything about this pregnancy, and to a certain extent to see beyond that fear forward to our new baby. I've been trying to figure out how to get over it, and now that I'm more than halfway there, I need a plan. Or at least false faith in a plan. 
Today, these goals feel manageable and meaningful for me, but tomorrow, they might not. I don't know if a seven point list is enough to conquer my funk, but for now, it's what I've got. 


  1. Honest and courageous post, my friend. Thanks for sharing. Your self-awareness is powerful! You're right, tomorrow might be different than today, but fortunately this moment is all that matters. Sending you best wishes for taking small steps every day toward where you want to be, and finding peace in this unique time of your life.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Kamla: your self-awareness is awesome and this post is truly courageous. You are a beautiful thinker and writer (which hopefully doesn't sound like a bunch of fluff at this moment - I mean it). Reading this post was a bit of an uncanny experience. I'm struggling to find a way to say that I grapple with so many of the very same things without making this response about me. Because what I really want to get across is that I'm with ya (as are others, I'm sure of it). Hormones make me wacky (especially of the birth control pill variety and anything pregnancy/postpartum related); quality time with friends is regenerating for me but when melancholy hits I just want to curl up at home (and even when it doesn't); I feel like I've taken on a million things but am doing none of them well; and my god I'm sitting here on my computer while my 10 month old plays in my pjs. I so admire your ability to put all of this into words and share with others. Hoping you find some calm and clarity through writing, yoga, and the rest. My very best to you too!

  3. Thanks for sharing, Meg. I don't know if I can add anything meaningful after Kamla & Michelle, other than I share their sentiment and admire your ability to put yourself out there and be active in how you're dealing with these challenges. I hope you have a supportive midwife that can help you through this, but it sounds like you've already identified things that will help keep your spirits lifted.

    I wonder if a doula would help you with the last point - fear of giving birth. I know a doula in-training in Toronto that I would recommend in a heartbeat, but she's also expecting soon so doubt she's taking clients. She could likely recommend someone though (if you don't already know a doula). I can't stress enough how much of a support my doula was during my pregnancy and how important she was in the weeks (and months) after I gave birth (not to mention an amazing support DURING the labour and delivery). Anyway - just a thought :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...