I’ve been hesitant to write about this because writing about it seems unfair, ungrateful and careless. It’s unfair to my unborn son and to all those who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. It’s careless because certain thoughts don’t belong online. I know this. I am so aware of this. But I’m going against my better judgment here. And I’m going to write.
For the first several weeks of this pregnancy, I spent hours (and I mean hours!) googling phrases like: “depressed during pregnancy”, “morning sickness and depression”, “pregnant all I want to do sleep all day and night”, and “pregnant can’t take care of my kids”. I found a few personal (and therefore reassuring) stories. But not all that many. I found a great deal of articles about postpartum depression, but not all that many about depression during pregnancy. That’s probably because most women don’t discuss it online (or elsewhere) because it’s not kosher to complain about something that’s supposed to be one of the most joyous times of a woman’s life.
I want to chock it up to hormones, because it just doesn’t make sense otherwise. And this next bit is going to come off sounding crass and ignorant to all those dealing with chemical depression. I understand what chemical depression is, but very rarely have I experienced it firsthand. Most of the time, whenever I’m feeling depressed, I can shake it off. There have only been a couple of times in my life where things have become unmanageable—something I couldn’t work through, shake off, or wait out. And each time I knew this to be the case because whenever I searched for joy, I came up empty. I can almost always find joy.
I assume my funk has a great deal to do with being sick all day long, every day, for weeks on end. I assume that it was made worse because I was taking Unisom for nausea, and Unisom is known to cause depression. I assume it’s also because this pregnancy was unplanned and that I’m terrified of having three kids. (What does one do with three of kids when two kids run them into the ground every day?) I’m going to be 40 in a few months. I will spend my 40th birthday fat, sick, bloated and cranky.
I was supposed to run a marathon this year—my first one! And I can’t even run a mile right now. I had to give up my spot. And every Saturday, whenever I glance at the family calendar in the kitchen, the one where I planned my mileage all the way up until November, I feel sad. And I know that’s entirely selfish, but it eats me up. I should be training for a marathon, not becoming fat and immobile. I see runners out on their long-distance, weekend runs and I feel nothing but jealousy and envy toward them. (Much like the jealousy I had toward pregnant bellies not three years ago.) I am sincerely jealous of joggers! What the hell is wrong with me? Who have I become? I’m not proud of this person. I am not even sure I like her.
Guys, I’m sad. And I’m not supposed to be and that’s making me even sadder. And I’m having a great deal of trouble digging for joy. I keep trying! Every day, I get up and I try. And I see glimpses of it here and there. I experience glimpses of joy lighting candles at dusk, or buying flowers at Trader Joe’s. I see it occasionally while reading to my kids, when I’m not winded from getting the words out. I feel a bit of joy knowing Homeland starts again tonight.
But I don’t bake anymore, and I love baking. I keep buying the ingredients to bake amazing things, things I once LOVED to share with people. But now I don’t see the point because eating makes me feel terribly sick. I have a nonstop case of metal mouth, which is exasperated by even the tiniest amount of food in my stomach, sugar and carbs being the worst of all. Eating is a chore I have to do to stay alive. Who wants to bake and eat a slice of pumpkin pie if that slice of pie is going to make them sick? What’s the point?
I keep reading that some women start to feel better at 20 weeks. And I’m hoping that since week 14 didn’t bring me much in the way of relief, week 20 will. And maybe by then I’ll start to see joy again. Maybe I’m just exhausted and sick of being sick. I don’t know. But I want to feel normal, not that I’m sure what normal is anymore. It’s been that long.
After I miscarried and went through months and months of fertility treatments, I spent a great deal of time searching for stories like my own. But I did so silently. And I have regretted that ever since. Because I think if I wrote about it many of you could have made me feel better. At the very least, I think you would have made me feel less alone.
So, I’m going to publish my thoughts today, even though I am truly aware of how selfish and careless it is to do so. I need to know that this is temporary and that one day I will be myself again. I used to have so much energy! I spent a great deal of my time creating things. Now? I get tired thinking about it. I am so lazy. I don’t see the point to doing most things I once enjoyed. And that’s so unlike me.
“I’m blue, like Pantone 292.”
I just want to feel normal again.