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My dear friend,
I see you.
You feel like a stranger in your own body, and you wonder what happened to you. Instead of the initial excitement you felt when you saw that first positive pregnancy test, you now feel apathetic and removed, as if you’re on the outside looking in.
You tell people you’re pregnant, and they’re thrilled for you – and your own excitement is just for show.
You feel guilty becuase you can’t muster any happiness on your own; it only comes from others, and only in that moment of their excitement.
The idea of the next five, six, or seven months is torturous. Then comes infant care, which is even more dreadful (especially if you already have kids and you know how hard it is to nurse, change diapers, and more).
You see happy, smiling photos on social media of other friends and their maternity photos, and you don’t even want to make the phone call to schedule yours.
You want to run away from all of your responsibilities, but you can’t, because your biggest responsibility is trapped with you in your own body. There is no break, no escape.
You’re hungry, but just getting up and making yourself something is too much work. So you sit there on the couch, while your hunger and your fatigue battle one another. Even just getting a glass of water requires too much effort.
Activities that once brought happiness now feel like a chore that drains you of all your energy.
Even though you still might get up and do things, you’re just going through the motions.
You know that prayer and scripture study usually help when you’re feeling down, but for some reason it just doesn’t seem to this time. You worry that the Lord is distant because you don’t feel joy in this growing life He has given you.
You reach out in prayer, but it seems to go out to silent, empty space. Is anyone even listening?
You would cry, but you feel too numb.
I’m right there with you.
I’m pregnant with my third child right now, and this should be a happy time. This is my 7th pregnancy – it follows three back-to-back miscarriages. When I saw the positive test after peeing on that stick, I was thrilled.
Then the hormones kicked in.
Even with antidepressants this time, it’s still such a struggle. I hate being pregnant, and I dread the next six months. But then I hate myself for hating being pregnant. It’s a vicious cycle.
Unlike the first two pregnancies, I have more responsibilities. I have two other children who need their mommy. And I just don’t want to do it. I don’t even want to make them lunch, and I seriously consider hiding in the closet every time I hear the word, “Mommy.”
There is no joy right now in this pregnancy, for me or for you.
But know that you’re not alone. As my OB told me, 20% of women experience depression during pregnancy.
I promise it will pass. Just as it did with my last two kids, I know that in a few months I’ll have that baby, the hormone levels will go down, and I’ll be myself again.
You will, too. You’ll find your joy and hope again, I promise.
It won’t be like this forever.
And there is help out there that you can get right now. Talk to a friend. Talk to your doctor. Talk to your family.
You shouldn’t go through this alone. In fact, you really can’t. It isn’t healthy for your baby or for you. I know, I’ve been there. My oldest was born technically full-term, but she only weighed 4 lbs, 8 oz because I struggled taking care of my physical needs.
You’re not alone. You’re not the only one who doesn’t feel the joy of pregnancy. And you are not any less of a mother because of your feelings.You’re strong. You don’t feel like it, but you are.
You can do this. You don’t feel like you can, but I promise that you can.
Just take it one day at a time. Give yourself grace. Give yourself permission to feel this way.
Keep saying your prayers and reading your scriptures. They don’t seem to help make it better, I know. But not doing them will make it worse.
If you feel you have no one to reach out, then reach out to me. Send me an email ([email protected]) or comment below with your own.
I’m here for you. And so is the Lord.