So currently, I’m in my third trimester with only a couples weeks to go! I’m excited! I can’t wait to meet our sweet baby girl. If you know me, you know two reasons why I should not be qualified to write this blog on emotions…particularly pregnancy hormonal bat poop crazy throw my shoes and stomp around like a wild buffalo because my husband moved your shoes (yup this actually happened!) the first is because I did go a little crazy and super super hormonal with especially with my first baby…I learned a lot and destroyed a few relationships. Less with my second but still present and so much better with this baby (still not perfect). The second is because when I am not pregnant, I’m not always the emotional displaying person. Maybe it’s from seeing a lot of stuff both in the hospital and not being allowed to react to it or maybe it’s a family thing (my family are not really “criers”) Either way, when people come to me for emotional support…I watch, I listen then much like Sheldon Cooper, I often respond with a pat on the back and a “there there” or at least something to that effect. It’s not that I don’t enjoy helping people through their hardships, I just have trouble displaying empathy. You might be similar, you might not. But when it comes to pregnancy, everything changes.
The Sunday that I would eventually find out I was pregnant with our first baby, whom we had almost overnight decided we were just going to stop trying to not have a baby, my husband took it upon himself to clean out our back entry and thusly move all my shoes. My mother-in-law was down and my husband, a youth pastor at the time had already left for church and we were most likely going to be late. I went into an almost blind rage at not being able to find my shoes coupled with the late factor and began tossing, nay, whipping the shoes at the door, wall and whatever got in my way. This is an unusual behaviour and it scared me because I felt like I had no control and my mother-in-law saw the entire episode. I found a decent pair of shoes and left for church in the end. Not my proudest moment. That afternoon I took a test and found out the good news and the rest is history but I will likely never forget that moment.
So why am I baring a rather ugly memory to you as if you care? Because I’m telling you that I went from uncontrolled hormonally crazy to much more balanced and I want to give you tips to keep your relationships which are so vital to your support in going through pregnancy in a healthy place. I know that it’s hard and that in the moment, you are so right and everyone else is so very wrong but keep these tips tucked away in the corner of your mind for when you start heading down the wrong path.
I hate when people tell me that I’m just being emotional or hormonal or anything to that effect because sometimes, I know they are right and sometimes they are wrong and sometimes it’s a mix of both. Sometimes we overreact to an incident that honestly deserved a reaction but it went nuclear fast. I was the queen of nuclear reactions…and although I am more controlled now, I did make a rather rude cashier cry last week for a rather rude ensemble of questions such as “you look tired, are you due any day? Are you sure you aren’t carrying twins?” Still not perfect. But here is 5 Tips for Dealing with Pregnancy Emotions that I still use and find that it still helps.
5 Tips For Dealing with Pregnancy Emotions
- Realize that you do have a lot of extra hormones and that it’s not an excuse to be mean to people- Long title but an excellent point. One of the big turning points for my bit of craziness was actually realizing that I am pregnant and that there is an extra bombardment of pregnancy hormones, especially in the first trimester. People are still people and they say stupid things and do things without thinking (like cleaning out the back entry…how DARE he?) and while normally, you’d be able to react just fine, the extra hormones circulating while you create a miracle may play tricks with your mind into thinking things are bigger then they are. Give your husband some slack, he likely didn’t mean to call you huge in a fat way but in a beautiful growing a human way. Keep the extra hormones in mind when you are about to explode and you’ll find most situations really are not as bad as they seem.
- Know Some of Your Triggers- I’d like to put know your triggers but there is some triggers that happen that you just didn’t see coming. My husband and I love the show Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gains. During an episode, the mother of the family mentioned that the kitchen was not a big deal to her because nobody in the family really cooked at all. I was so ticked off at that lady all night. Nope I’m not even joking. That comment triggered some weird mothering instinct in me and for the rest of the evening, I was so bothered. Even down right mad by this comment. Don’t ask me why, I literally have no reason. I really don’t care if you cook for your family as long as everybody gets fed. However, I know that stories about children being harmed, commercials that feature disabled kids and a few life threatening situations on TV do cause my hormones to boil and I am more likely to lash out at unsuspecting victims (sorry Zachary!) I know the sort of situations that I can’t manage in and I actively avoid movies containing those scenes or movies I don’t know because of it. If certain people just crawl under your skin, try to avoid long exposure to them. This takes trial and error but pay attention to how you are feeling in certain situations and keep even just a mental log not to go there (no Hunger Games for me!)
- Take a Deep Breath and Walk Away- You can’t know everything that will throw you off so when those situations come up, its important to know how to diffuse your brain before a bomb goes off. “I just need a few minutes to collect myself” is a great line. Then go away and do just that. Yes, it would likely feel good just to let it all loose but it could hurt those you care about or people you work with or just people in general. One thing I have been working on this year in my own personal devotions is to “let your gentleness be evident to all.” This includes both my children and husband. Its a tough concept but keeping that as a mantra has really helped me to scale it back a bit. It’s ok to need a few minutes. It’s ok to walk away. Once you have managed to calm down, you may find that it really wasn’t that big of a deal at all.
- Nutrition is Important- Ok so this one might be weird to throw in here but stick with me. When we crave something that is bad for us, it is often a symptom of something else laying underneath. For example, studies have shown that women with anemia often chew ice. Emotions and mood can also be this way. Is your blood sugar low? Have you eaten recently? I don’t know about you but I get mean hangry. And I know this. So I try to eat regularly and keep an extra snack with me. Have you drank water? Your brain is made of 75% water and keeping well hydrated is an excellent way to keep your brain clear and active. Gut health is also important to mental health. Do you take your vitamins or eat a nutrient rich (fibre is important too!) diet? All these are important factors in keeping emotions and mood in check. With my first, I mostly ate buffalo chicken wings and cheap hamburgers because those were my cravings. With this child, I eat extremely clean, whole foods plant based diet and it’s been a whole different pregnancy. Again, I haven’t been exactly a saint this pregnancy but I don’t throw things either. I strongly believe that nutrition plays a good part it.
- Find Healthy Ways to Work It Out- This might mean different things for you then for me. When I was in college, I was often stressed and to deal with this stress, I ran….and ran and ran and ran. Some days I ran over 20km. I work out almost everyday even now that I am lovely and rotund. For you though it might mean getting your nails done or talking with a good friend. Other moms likely know what you are going through and are happy to hear your side of the completely legit argument about your husband leaving the toilet seat up AGAIN. I do have a good friend that I can honestly ask and am open to her answer if I am just being crazy about such and such or if it’s worth being frustrated over. I have called her several times over this pregnancy and sometimes she agrees and sometimes she doesn’t (thanks sis!). Go for a walk, talk it out. Beat it out if you like boxing. Whatever works for you.
We are all imperfect people and sometimes we mess things up. We react too much or too little and we end up hurting those that we love. Motherhood has taught me a great many things that are so very important in this life and humility is one of them. If you mess up and break down or explode, have some humility, come to those you have hurt and apologize. I’ve had to do it more times then I care to admit then the important thing is to learn from that mistake and move on. Also hugs. I’ve been there and it’s hard and teaches a new depth of self control I never thought I’d have. You can have control and you can do it!