- 4 years ago
- Wedding: July 2012
iarebridezilla posted a fabulous post on wanting more recovery stories from the Bee. In that post, I told her I would also like to see more posts that don’t shy away from sharing pregnancy depression or anxiety, so I will be the first (or the first that I know of) to really step up and share what emotions I’ve gone through thus far.
I think a lot of pregnant women hide how they truly feel (all the deep darkness), especially on the Bee or in real life, because they are afraid of people calling them a horrible wife, an unfit mother, or telling them they shouldn’t have gotten pregnant.
Pregnant women are almost…expected to embrace this beautiful growing belly and all the lovely things that go along with it. We are expected to put on a happy face and allow people to make comments about our growing fetus, and allow them to place their hands on our bellies and “feel” the baby….without complaint. Without shame.
I won’t go into too much detail about my past, BUT I had started attending anxiety counseling when I was 18 because of an extreme fear of needles. I did well in the sessions, but quit going when my anxiety counselor urged me to end the relationship I was in because she felt I wasn’t truly happy and said he was too toxic for me to be with. She said moving in with him might be a big mistake, and I need to do what was right for me. I felt it wasn’t her job to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. It should just be her job to get me through the situation I put myself into. I was quite an idiot obviously, but I was young…
I spent quite a few more years in that relationship, even getting engaged to him, and I was an awful person. There were many nights I thought I was going to die from a heart attack or brain aneurisym because that’s what my pain felt like. Long story short, my ex messed up really bad, and I ended up kicking him out. I had never felt so good as the day I kicked him out, changed my phone number, and moved from the apt we shared.
I remember the first time I realized I had a problem with my mother in law. I skipped some of my story but I ended up meeting a terrific guy and marrying him. He told me from the beginning what kind of person his mom was, but I just brushed it off thinking he’s one of those guy who thinks his mom just can’t cut the apron strings, ya know?
She and I got along for the year and a half DH and I dated, even hanging out together since we lived in the same town, but once DH and I got engaged and I moved in with him 90 miles away, that changed. We hadn’t seen her for 2 weeks and she ended up, in public, wrapping her arms around him, kissing his cheek, and clutching his arm while I walked behind them. I realized that when DH said she had attachment issues, he truly meant it.
Everything she did from that point on ignited a fire inside me. I started noticing things that, while once never bothered me too much when we were just dating, now made me anxious and uncomfortable. She started to guilt trip, cling, and call him all the time. I remember her trying to guilt DH into stay overnight the DAY AFTER OUR WEDDING. I remember laying in bed and her texting him at 2 in the morning to say hi and that she missed him, and when he didn’t answer she would text me and ask what we were doing. I remember the countless nights we were woken up even after we told her it was inappropriate to call after 9. I remember her wanting us to give up our one year anniversary to come to a sweet 16 birthday.
It took DH a long time to realize these absurd patterns of behavior his mom had because of the way he grew up. He comes from a very verbally abusive home. His dad and mom are pretty much just good roommates and that is probably the way they will be until death.
[Edit]: In the beginning of my pregnancy I went through very normal feelings, or what I knew was normal. I went from being totally elated to feeling scared about being a mom and not being a good mom. I still have thoughts and feelings like this from time to time where I am scared but nothing compared to how I felt below.
My pregnancy hadn’t been an issue in the beginning because we were keeping it quiet and had sworn her to secrecy. I didn’t have any morning sickness so I was able to easily hide the fact that I was pregnant, but I was still tired and slightly nauseous. Not to mention I was going through bodily changes I didn’t understand being a FTM and all. In September she guilted us in to coming up to grandma’s for a day. Behind grandma’s back, MIL threw my arms aside and aggressively patted my belly with a big smile on her face. All the blood drained from my face. I spent the whole day feeling violated and upset. I didn’t think, as a pregnant woman, belly touching would be an issue, but it was. She did it so…forcefully.
Long story short, we dealt with a lot of guilt tripping and headaches in between that time (Sept.-Dec.). I decided to try to be a good DIL and stay the weekend with her for our birthing classes, which was something I had been looking forward to all pregnancy. She was CONSTANTLY on us–where we were going to be at what time.
DH told her she needed to give us breathing space and he did NOT want her to text or call during our class time. I told DH I did NOT want her touching my belly. Prior to this visit, every other visit she had aggressively touched my belly. DH kept telling her to stop. When she got home, she gave me a hug, threw my hand aside, and beat on my belly again and told me how big I was getting. I said, “You have got to be kidding me. You’ve been told not to touch and yet this? Really?” DH told her she has to stop, and her response was, “Yeah, yeah, whatever.”
I saw her on my own when BFF and I went to go Christmas shopping. I kept one had on my stomach in anticipation. Again, she aggressively grabbed my wrist, threw my hand to my side, and patted my belly. She doesn’t pat with a nice pat. She beats on my belly like you would beat the dust out of a pillow. I was so mad when I got home I cried. She had been told over and over again not to, and I just feel so violated and disrespected. DH seemed like he understood, but I don’t think he really did. I think he knew I was going through a rough time and hated it, but was too afraid to confront his mother about anything so as to not offend her.
Between then and Christmas, I had locked myself in the bathroom many, many days, unbeknownst to DH and cried. I would rub my stomach and tell baby that I was stressed and that he was the only one who understood and cared. I cried out of fear, out of anger, our of sadness, and out of uncertainty. I didn’t want to go to Christmas. I didn’t want to look at his family ever again. I told myself that I would never wish death on them, but if I never had to see them again, it wouldn’t bother me. I didn’t want to deal with the belly touching or anything. Time with them was like serving time in prison.
The Friday before Christmas after having all this pent up anger and resentment, I had an “episode.” I was driving to a party, and my chest got very tight and heavy. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe even though I was. I got so scared that I was going to die that I unbuckled my seatbelt, clutched my chest, and was going to pull the car over to die, but it subsided. Afterwards I had a tension headache and was very, very sleepy. It happened again in Sunday. On Monday I got an appt. They took urine, blood, an EKG, and a pulmonary function test. She chalked it up to stress, but never told me how to manage. She just said I needed to relax. The problem? I don’t know how anymore. I used to be able to manage my anxiety after counseling, and I can’t now with pregnancy.
Christmas Day was hard. My sleeping has been terrible and my thoughts run 100 miles an hour. Not to mention my growing belly makes it hard to sleep. I am tired of running around, and so to go 3 1/2 hours away on Christmas Day when the roads were shitty was the last thing I wanted to do. But we did.
I had already told DH I was going to tell his mom not to touch me, and I did exactly that. She was ready to hug me, and I said, “I want to hug you, but you need to promise me you won’t touch my belly.” She said, “*sigh* Yeah, whatever.” I said, “No, I’m serious. If you touch my belly, I won’t be coming to visit anymore.” I held my jacket and new camera in front of my belly while she hugged me to make extra sure.
On the way home, I was angry. I did my usual ranting, but I realized something was truly wrong with me when the next day, I cried at work. I couldn’t function and ended up leaving work early to go home to nap. Someone rang the doorbell 5 minutes into my nap. I cried. The dog wouldn’t stop being naughty upstairs. I cried and put him in his kennel. I got an hour nap in, and I felt no better afterwards. I felt like I hadn’t slept in days. DH asked me what was wrong, and for the first time in months, I let it all out. I said a lot of things I don’t think I truly meant, but I feel them and think them, and it scares me.
***This is where my story gets the hardest because I am admitting thoughts and feelings I have had that don’t feel normal. I told him I was tired, stressed, and sad. I either don’t eat or I eat a lot. I feel physical pain when I feel emotional pain. All I did was cry. I went through our whole history together and his mom, and I told him I wish I had never married him. I still cry as I type this when I remember saying that. I said I wish I wouldn’t have had to go through this with his mom and realized sooner what she was like.
I told him I hated our child and resented our little guy already. I told him I was anxious about the future and having to walk on eggshells and meet everyone else’s expectations, wants, and needs when it comes to baby and ignore my own. I am tired of giving in and crying. I needed a break from everyone and everything. I feel hopeless, tired, anxious, stressed, and I feel unstable. I would never kill myself, but I am afraid of a few things. I am afraid of losing control in other ways and possibly harming myself unintentionally when I was so angry when I decided to drive or walk down the steps or on the ice. I am afraid that, because of all this harboring resentment towards his mom, that I will either run off with our son and never come back or that I will abandon him with DH and not care about his well being. I am scared MIL won’t allow me time to be a mom when my son is born. I am scared that she will bother us, call us, and always guilt us in to coming over or wanting to come over that I will hate my baby because his birth has caused things to get progressively worse. I am scared of hating my child this much. I am scared of hating my husband. I told DH I regretted my pregnancy, and if I wasn’t pregnant none of this would happen, and I could just deal with things. I can’t relax, and I can’t sleep, and I feel as though no one is listening to me.
And my husband, when I told him all of this, he still held me and told me I needed a break. I need to do what I can to feel better. He said to take time away from his mom, and he was going to tell her that there will be no visits or contact with me for a while. He said if I need to take some time off of work like I want to do, then I should do it.
I went from anger to calm to resentment and sadness in just a day. I went from telling my husband I regretted marrying him to telling him I was sorry for my thoughts and feelings and that I truly do love him. I love everything about him, and I married a wonderful person. He told me he knows it isn’t “me” talking. He said it is my stress, anxiety, and hormones talking, and he is here to help in any way he can. I told him I also don’t hate or resent out child. He knows I didn’t.
Since my breakdown, my doctor, who was very concerned about my thoughts and feelings, recommended I see a therapist and after that we would evaluate the situation further and possibly start medication. I have been talking to a therapist who was giving me ideas. DH and I agreed we needed to talk to him mom. We didn’t go about it in an ideal way, but she said two things that bothered me:
1) “You both no longer have a life of your own.”
2) “You will cater to everyone else because you are not the only people in this baby’s life.”
Neither obviously sat well with me, and I, in a calm but firm voice, told her she was not this baby’s mom. She was a grandma, and we make the decisions. She ended up SCREAMING at me, stomping around her house like a little kid, and in the end she ended up telling me to get the hell out of her house.
I talked to the therapist again about the issue. DH and I decided to leave the issue with his mom alone, and the next week we went back to the house, and everything was ok. In the meantime, DH and I have discussed the future to its full extent (visits, trips, phone calls, etc) and we are on the same page, and for the first time in my pregnancy I am at peace with everything.
The lesson I learned: This is a lesson I learned both from self realization and the help of my therapist.
1) I cannot control how my MIL feels. I can only control my reaction to it. If DH and I say, “We will not be visiting this weekend” and MIL makes a big stink, she is allowed to feel mad. She is allowed to feel sad, but that doesn’t mean I have to give in. If I get upset with her reaction or pissed off, that isn’t her fault. That is MY fault for that way. If I chose to just shrug my shoulders and say “That’s the final decision” and move on, then that is controlling my reaction.
2) This was my self realization…I was honestly able to brush things with my MIL off before. If she had told me before I was pregnant that she was going to buy footstool for the nursery I just would have said, “We don’t need a footstool but thanks for the offer.” And had she bought it, I would have just said thank you and either donated it or stored it. Pregnancy? I wanted to tell her to shove her fucking footstool up her big fat ass and tell her to go to hell for being an inconsiderate bitch and not asking me if I actually needed a footstool.
See the difference? Clearly…
So, I need to think pre-pregnancy. Honestly, if MIL wants us to visit and guilt trips and I say no, what is she going to do? Come take my baby from me? No. If we are there, and we say we are leaving at 5, and 5 rolls around and she starts complaining and stomping around, what is she going to do? Hold my baby hostage? No. Besides, if she would be bat shit crazy enough, we will see who’s side the police would be on with that one.
That is rational thinking. I was allowing her to have such a hold of my emotions and control over what I do without her even knowing. The more we say no, the easier it will get. She may never accept it. She may always complain and cry and whine, but it is what it is, and rather than me waste my precious energy on being upset about her reaction I am going to control what I can control…which is making the decision that is best for ME and MY CHILD.
I am almost 30 weeks along now, and I am still scared about resenting my child post-partum, but I think with continuing to talk to my doctor, therapist, take time outs, and have that communication and understanding with DH is going to make this better. Having a physical baby makes things difficult but also easy in my mind. Harder because people are going to be more intrusive and want, want, want, but easier because LOGICALLY no one can take or keep my baby from me.
Because the truth is…I love my son already. I truly do. I am NOT a bad person for how I felt or the things I thought about him. It was stress, exhaustion, anxiety, and depression talking. When I feel this kid kick, I still get a smile on my face. When he and I “argue” over the proper place to be in my belly, I have to giggle at how he has my persistent personality.
Having my son isn’t going to be easy, but patience, understanding, and support from DH, we will make this as smooth of a transition as possible. I LOVE having a better outlook for the rest of my pregnancy, and I love being able to be happy when I think about my baby and bringing him into the world. I am thinking more clearly and logically, DH is supporting the HELL out of me with his mom (even as we speak), and overall I am…at peace.
Do NOT feel bad for going through a wide range of emotions during your pregnancy.
Do NOT feel guilty about anything you think or feel.
DO talk to your doctor when it gets to be too much. Please. Don’t wait as long as I did. Strress isn’t good for so many aspects of your pregnancy and the baby.
DO set boundaries and talk to your DH/SO about how to handle situations. You can’t go through every senario, but you can generally agree on certain things that will help mediate future issues.
If anyone has any questions or want to probe further or share your own story, please don’t hesistate to ask here or PM me. I am at peace enough to talk openly about my struggle with my pregnancy thus far.