Knocked Up and Feeling Down

You’re not supposed to be depressed when you’re pregnant. You’re supposed to feel lucky and blessed to have the Power of Breeding. You should feel smug, as this song, recently shared by a FB friend, reminded me: “Pregnant women are smug. Everyone knows it. But nobody says it. Because they’re pregnant.” It’s kind of catchy. If I wasn’t so depressed, or pregnant, I’d laugh.

I apologize to anyone who’s reading this oddly public format, thinking: “Margot’s pregnant again? Why didn’t I know?” Well, it’s because I suck. I probably haven’t talked to you in months. I’ve been holed up trying to figure this out while I work full time, feeling a continual pillow of sleepiness pressing down, trying to be chipper for boundless-energy Alejandro. Rafael’s also had two out-of-town jobs in the last month, which means I’ve been a single working mom while he brings home some bacon. Frankly, I’m a mess.

And let’s face it, I don’t look cute. I look bulbous and exhausted. The $500+ I spent on rushed maternity clothes had horrendous results. I have three pairs of pants with the appeal of paper sacks. One needs to be hemmed. The shirts are either schlumpy, oddly tight, or ruffled and pleated. All also bag-like. I have one decent dress, and have already explained to my co-workers that we can have only one important client meeting every week, wherein they can expect to see me wearing wrap-around teal.

Of course the clothes don’t matter, and how I look is a matter of opinion. I’m schlumpy on the inside. I’m full of guilt about my depression, and anxiety about my impending second-motherhood. If I can’t manage my current life, I reason, how the hell am I supposed to be a good mom to another small human? And to the one we already have? I’ve told Alejandro we don’t whine, but here I am. I have so many conflicting emotions.

Of course, I am happy, too. Absolutely blessed. Hopeful. I hold my belly and speak to him/her, willing them to be okay. I promise him/her that mommy will figure stuff out before they’re born, that I want want them, and will do my very best. And we did always plan on having a second child. I want Ali to have someone to commiserate with about how nuts we are. Isn’t that what siblings are for?

I just wasn’t ready. On the contrary, we had just planned to wait for a year. Back in March, as I realized I could evolve my job into something that would make me happy, I decided to concentrate on that, and set myself up for a future when yes, we would have a second child, and I wouldn’t be returning to the same old grind. “We’ve decided to wait.” I told about 20 people in about three weeks. I admit it: I was smug about the decision to wait. And I was pregnant the whole time.

At the heart of the issue: having too much to manage. Guilt over having too much, period. Why couldn’t sperm-meet-egg for one of my friends trying so hard to have a baby? It’s been such a hard road for many: scientific timing for sex, hormone injections, rushed trips to the sperm bank. Waiting. Hope and disappointment. The stress of it! These people too are in pain, and quietly suffering, waiting every month for the opportunity to love a little one, and to experience the back-breaking and mind-bending act of parenthood. To them especially: I’m sorry that I’m depressed about our good fortune. I’m doing my work to approach this with the joy and celebration it deserves.

I know on the other side of all of this–on the other side of depression–there’s healing, and great positive changes to be made. A future with more balance. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s the swimming in the muck that motivates one to seek higher ground. But God, it’s mucky. For now, I can only keep dog paddling, and float on my back when I’m really tired. I can make an appointment with a therapist specializing in these issues, hoping she’s a life vest that will fit. And I can write this post, even though it’s humiliating and I wish I was being more uplifting.

But it always feels better to write, and to be honest about what’s going on. I’ll get to the other side. Have patience, Margot. Have patience, friends. And please don’t be mad at me for where I’m at now, nor where I’ll be when I’ve seemingly figured it out and it all looks so easy from the outside!

What resonates?

4 responses to “Knocked Up and Feeling Down”

  1. etienne Avatar

    i was there with you! i cried when i got pregnant the second time, and we were trying! it just isn’t the same, the novelty is over, and why the hell can’t i have a drink! and how am i going to manage 2 when one is already too much. and i wasn’t even working. i wish i had been, maybe then i wouldn’t have spent the entire 9 months on the couch (or so it seemed). but then we had Marlowe and i know i am blessed and lucky and all those things you think you should feel right now. it will come, give it time and yourself a break.

  2. Suzanne Avatar

    Bless your heart! Hang in there! I love reading your posts. I applaud your bravery. Don’t let ANYBODY make you feel bad about revealing what you’re feeling. These are scary times and you’ve got a whole lot on your plate. I agree with Etienne – give yourself some time and a break. I can tell from what I’ve read that you’re an awesome mom and person. You’ll be OK.


  3. Steph James Ellis Avatar
    Steph James Ellis

    I totally understand. I was, unfortunately & instinctively, one of the friends that went “Hey, what I am hearing this through the grapevine?” I get it. There’s too much to do & not enough time. And the temporary single-mom status? That would also throw me over the edge, mentally too. It’s a lot. I’m sure that you’re doing it all with as much grace as possible. So don’t beat yourself up (too much). Life is hard enough. (By the way, I should take my own advice because at least twice this week I’ve had “I’m a bad mommy” moments. I’m not a bad mommy, just a stretched thin full-time+ mommy.) Search for Apple Store, Paris & Apple Store, Shanghai & you’ll see 2 of the reasons why. Love ya, Honey Bunny! :-)

    Hey can you teach me how to set up a blog? Seems quite therapeutic.

  4. Margot Avatar

    In addition to those above, I got a lot of amazing personal responses to this post. Most enlightening were the 6+ moms (and one lovely dad) who wrote me to say, “I too was bloody f’ing depressed while pregnant. And no one talks about it.”

    Here’s some highlights:
    Knocked up is a mixed bag of emotions. No one is EVER ready, you just roll, and that’s exactly what you are doing. And hormones can be awfully heavy.”

    No point in fighting it, embrace the shit show! Oddly enough, just using the word “shit show” always makes me feel a little better. And drinking a coffee everyday when I was pregnant with #2 also helped me not kill those around me.”

    “I had a really hard time with depression during my second pregnancy. Two things helped. (Well, a lot of things helped. not the least of which was my super awesome supportive husband). But the two things that I wanted to share were these:
    My mantra all day long was “what can I do to take care of myself in this moment?” I found that if I kept myself as well as possible the rest took care of itself and I had more energy for my son.
    I went to this awesome “mindfulness in childbirth” program. The classes are amazing and the experience was transforming. It helped a little with the depression because I felt like was doing something good for the new baby (mine a girl too) and the meditation practice was really good for me. Might not be your thing but I wanted to pass on the info:

    Thank you, thank you for reading and responding! I feel better already.