Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Moody Blues: Update

More than a month ago, I posted about feeling pretty down during this pregnancy. I felt vulnerable putting that out in public (especially because I actually know most of the people who read this blog.. somehow an audience of strangers seems easier), but it also felt good to be a little bit honest about how much I was struggling.

I'd like to be posting now about how much better I'm feeling, and how I've taken proactive steps to feel one hundred percent, but the truth is I'm at something more like 60%. Which is still a pretty big improvement, and hopefully it is going to keep getting better.

When I first posted about this, I posted some goals that I thought might help me take better care of myself. All of them really boiled down to just taking the time to do things I like and things that are healthy (which should be a no-brainer). Unfortunately right now taking time for healthy, enjoyable time to myself is more of a "catch it when you can" sort of undertaking (although I did pretty well this weekend - scoring both a prenatal yoga class and an Ikea trip!).

If shopping and yoga alone were enough to buoy my spirits, I'd be scheduling them in every day, but unfortunately that isn't the case, so I'm trying to support myself with alternative practices that I am comfortable with. I'm a skeptic by nature, but I'm also a naturopath and acupuncture believer. When I was trying to get pregnant with Ollie, I saw Erin, my naturopath regularly and I know that her support made a big difference in my experience of conception. I should have gone back for help sooner, when I started feeling badly in this pregnancy, but it seemed like there wasn't time, and like I could just "buck up".

Feeling my absolute worst, two weeks ago, and wondering if I should consider talking to my doctor about anti-depressants and whether I was at risk for post-partum depression because of how I was feeling while pregnant, it occurred to me that I hadn't tried a gentler path yet. So I made an appointment, and I went and talked to Erin about how I was feeling. I mentioned my observation that it was similar to my experience of hormonal birth control, and she said that it sounded like a progesterone issue. I can confirm that at my next midwife appointment through a blood test, but in the meantime, that working theory is guiding how we're approaching what's going on with me. Because I'm both pregnant and nursing, herbal support and supplementation is a little sensitive, but there are a few things that are safe and can help to support my mood.

So for the last two weeks I've been diligently taking vitamin D, B Complex and fish oils, and drinking Oat Straw tea as often as I think of it. These additions together might help to balance my moods, calm anxiety and smooth my frayed edges. And making these additions to my routine helps to remind me to take better care of myself. I put the fish oil in a smoothie - which ensures that I actually drink a fruit/veg smoothie every day, I take a cup of tea to the bath at night, and I generally just make a better effort to be aware of how I'm feeling and what I need to feel better. And where three weeks ago, I'd have said I was feeling down 3-4 days out of 7, in the last two weeks, I'd take that number down to 1 or 2.

Of course, besides my hormones, there are actual stressors going on around here. Just being pregnant is kind of stressful, and toddlers are their very own type of stress. On top of that, our home renovations are in full swing, which means that most nights are taken up with trying to clean a space to live out of the drywall dust and wood chips. Workdays are an extra challenge because between hammering, sawing and drilling, I'm also trying to focus over the sound of poor Ollie going through some kind of nap regression (that may or may not be related to all the noise around here). Dinner is chaos, bedtime is a struggle and once Ollie's down, I feel like the "to do" list is ten miles long and mostly dependent on the help or work of someone else who isn't available (contractors, etc.). The result of feeling like everything around me is out of order, on top of this hormonal weirdness I'm frustrated with having so much to do and so little control over getting it all done. I'm doing my best, but not always succeeding at staying calm and keeping my focus on the end result.

This week should be the worst of the construction work (or so we are promised), and by the end of next week, our little home should be dust and drill free, and ready to be filled with preparations for our second little one. I'm hoping to get a few moments to relax, and enjoy the gentler domesticity of folding newborn clothes, picking out paint colours, and cooking and baking and puttering. Kitchen work doesn't feel like work to me, it feels relaxing and nurturing, and focusing my recreational time there seems healthy. I suspect that as I head into the third trimester (today!) and enter the "home stretch" of this pregnancy, I'll be spending a lot of time indulging that hobby and hopefully calmly and happily settling back into the notion of being mommy to a newborn, while getting quality, stress free time with my first baby.


  1. I'm so happy to hear that you're starting to feel better and that you've found some things that work for you through working with Erin. I'm also a skeptic by nature, despite having two naturopaths in my family, but I have seen over and over how much natural medicine has helped people. I just want to give you a big hug!

    And also, third trimester??? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?


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