16 Weeks and Pregnant: A Therapists Perspective on Pregnancy, Adulthood, and Community.

*Insert obligatory, “oh my goodness it has been so long since I last updated”*

Yes, it’s been two years since I’ve utilized this lovely blog. And in that timeframe I’ve:

  • Gotten married (and had an amazing ceremony with our family and closest friends)
  • Gone on some amazing vacations
  • Ran my first half-marathon
  • Paid off a ridiculous amount of debt
  • Had my client load triple, including starting up hours at a different office
  • Became a group leader for a Mental Health Association local support group
  • Trained my dog to become a certified therapy dog
  • Had to return to school for my PA licensure due to state discrepancies between NY

Oh, and I’m currently four months pregnant with our first (potentially only) child.

So why did I decide to resurrect this blog today? Well, for starters, I am currently dealing with a migraine that has lasted more than 48 hours.  Nothing is helping so I am doing something to distract myself from the pain.

Now I won’t sit here and wax poetic about my amazing life or make empty promises about regularly updating this blog. But I will talk about how (some) of my perspective on life has changed over the course of the last few months.

I never thought I would become a mom. You know, of a human child (I’m an avid animal lover though). But here I am, four months in and currently wondering how I will make it to the next five months if I have to deal with this level of pain regularly. Yeah, I said it- I’ve hit a low today and am not afraid to admit it.

Which brings me to my point:  pregnancy has helped me open up. As a classic introvert (INFJ specifically), this is incredibly rare for me. Sure, I’ve read countless blogs, magazines, and books at this point that flirt with the idea that I will “feel low” at times, but no one really prepares you for the depth of despair that comes along during these times. And they all obnoxiously end with flowery-type comments about, “you can do this” or “you will get better” or the phrase I hate the most, “you’re almost there, soon-to-be-mama!” Deep down I know it comes from a good place, and I think it’s great that this can help some. But it makes me feel worse. Thoughts of, What if I CAN’T do this? What if I don’t even want to do this anymore? And in one incredibly scary moment, while I almost had to be rushed to the hospital for dehydration was the horrifying thought of, SOMEONE GET THIS THING OUT OF ME ALREADY- I DON’T WANT IT!

The worst part? I’m a therapist. I should be able to rationally break down these feelings into bearable truths and “change my thought process to change my feelings”, right? Or at the very least, I should be used to dealing with negative-type feelings and know how to compartmentalize them to still be a functioning member of society. And in said scary moments, part of me does rationally understand that it is mainly the pain and discomfort talking. But rational-therapist Michelle doesn’t give a hoot at that point.

To be honest, I can’t complain too much because luckily I have been feeling amazingly well these last four months. (Except for that “nasty bug going around” that hit me for 10 days over the holidays and the above mentioned migraine-marathon).

These moments of despair have taught me how to ask for help- how to admit that I’m NOT perfect and really need someone to listen to me cry and pat my back. We all do, eventually. As a child we don’t even question what anyone thinks of us if we cry over a paper-cut; we beg our parents for our security blanket and tummy rubs. We let our pain be heard loud and clear. But over the years, maybe because we become jaded and cynical, maybe because when we have opened up during a moment of need we’ve been laughed at and shut down. As an adult, we’ve learned how to hide our feelings pretty darn well.

But here I am, admitting that I am vulnerable. And most importantly, I’m OKAY with being vulnerable. When a colleague asks me how I’m feeling, I no longer say, “oh fine- same old” as I normally would.  I pull up a chair and whine for a few minutes about how I really feel in that moment. And you know what? Usually that results in them also letting down their barrier and opening up. My husband and best friends get regular status updates throughout the day of how I’m really feeling. I call my mom to pick up my medicine and take me to the doctor because I’m too dizzy. Or bug my brother and his wife for help, even if that help includes picking me up a plate of deliciously unhealthy nachos.

Life is all about feelings, whether we want to admit it or not. And those feelings determine our thoughts and actions. Modern society forces us to cover up our true feelings with layers of make-up and unrealistic ideas of life thanks to the constant presence of social media. Pregnancy is NOT made for everyone, no matter what all those cheesy commercials with unrealistically-happy-moms try to sell you. And there are days where you will feel really crummy and want nothing to do with life, and that’s okay. I’m not going to sit here and pitch some obnoxious, “this too shall pass” comment.

But being an adult and embracing your community IS important. And if there is one aspect that this pregnancy has made me thankful for, is helping me open up and reach out. Enjoying my sense of community. So thank you, Baby B, for humanizing me.

Maybe this post is really fulfilling a self-serving need. But it’s nice to think that someone out there will benefit from hearing a realistic perspective on pregnancy. This is my way of trying to broaden the sense of community I already feel, into the online world.

(Note: if you are currently pregnant and have feelings of depression, please contact your PCP or OBGYN for more information on taking the appropriate action for you and your baby. If they are unavailable, reach out to your local crisis hotline or the national crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255)

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