A few people have been asking how I feel during this pregnancy. I don’t want to be dramatic, but it’s honestly been terrible.
Imagine having the flu 24/7, for a month with no end in sight. Then imagine a 2-year-old jumping on you, spitting, throwing things all over the place (at you), and generally being in your face, not listening, and saying words like “knot” 30 times in a row for no reason, while you yell at them to stop driving you crazy. For like 10 hours a day by yourself.
So no, it’s not going well.
This is by far the harder pregnancy. I’m sick 90% of the time and on the verge of throwing up at any weird smell or thought or image. Everything tastes different (why does my toothpaste tastes like cilantro?). And I’m so so so exhausted all the time. It’s been rough.
This week Nathan went back to work after the holidays, and each day since then has been getting worse. Yesterday ended with both Maleia and I bawling on the couch. I had been yelling at her for over an hour about all the things she was doing to get her energy out and test her limits (you know, 2 year old things), while I was laid out on the couch trying not to throw up.
So today I’m taking some much needed time away to process this season.
For the last 6 months, I’ve been repeating to myself, “It will get better. It will get better. Toddlerhood isn’t forever. It will get better.” I never expected how much guidance and discipline she’d need. Teaching her how to think about things, like what is kind and respectful vs. what is straight-up mean and hurtful. She’s a naturally sweet kid, and yet still there’s so much she’s growing in right now that needs so much attention and help.
Someone said to me a while ago, “It doesn’t get better.” And while I know this came from a good place, and it may be true for a bit (I know everyone says 3 is worse than 2), this was the last thing I needed to hear. I’ve felt like I’m drowning in this parenting season and I’m taking everyone down with me. I don’t need to hear that it’s only going to get worse from here on out. I’d rather be lied to so I can at least feel hopeful.
Because hope is the only way forward in this season. I have to believe that tomorrow will be different, and next month, next year too. Or at least that I will be different. I have to believe that I’ll have learned, grown, and increased my capacity for handling all this mess. Someday my kids will be in elementary school and will need me in different, less demanding ways. That’s what I have my eyes set on right now.
It will get better, it will get better, it will get better. And if it doesn’t get better, I need to make it better.
Hope is the building block for moving forward, but it’s not a strategy. It’s unhealthy and wrong for me to just sit in this mess and passively watch it all unfold. Yes, toddlers are hard, but I’m not the only one who’s had a toddler. What can I do, how can I change, to help this situation? How can we make this a successful journey? How can we help our relationship improve? How can I be better mom, partner, friend, and person?
Before I got pregnant this time, I was dealing with some deeper depression issues. I was in the process of making multiple doctors appointments because I had been gaining weight, wasn’t sleeping well, and was just feeling low and overwhelmed too much for it to be normal. I didn’t put it all together for a while, but I think it really was just straight-up depression. And then I got pregnant, and my doctor’s initial response was “no wonder you were feeling so bad!”. To which I’ve carefully and very intentionally clarified that these issues were happening before I was pregnant.
This is something I want to take seriously. I am worth taking care of. For me, depression has always been subtly following me, influencing my mind in ways that I don’t always recognize. Putting a negative spin on most things, being so critical of others and myself, feeling hopeless and lost, feeling tired, etc. I attribute these things to just my personality or my faults, when it’s actually something much deeper.
So entering this season of pregnancy right now has been so draining, and I’m only 9 weeks along at this point. And I expect it to get harder, so I want to take a moment and evaluate how I can approach it.
The words I keep coming back to are: keep showing up.