For some women pregnancy is an incredibly joyful time, filled with nothing but happiness, but for others, pregnancy can be a challenging and emotional time.
During the 9 -10 months that a woman is pregnant, life still happens, and sometimes life is messy. Pregnant women still experience loss and grief. They may encounter heartbreak or disappointment. Being pregnant does not stop the challenges and tribulations of life, both positive and challenging, whether we like it or not.
It is often expected for women who are pregnant to be “overjoyed” for the entirety of their pregnancy, despite circumstances which may be incredibly challenging.
Not Feeling Like You are “Supposed” to
Anyone who has followed my story (read more about it here) knows that I developed Antenatal Depression during my pregnancy with Gibson, and one of the most difficult parts of my experience was not “feeling like I was supposed to.” I wanted to be happy and joyful and nothing but positive about my pregnancy and my journey into motherhood, but that was not my reality. Pretending to be happy was one of the most exhausting and devastating parts of my depression as I wanted so badly to be happy but I just wasn’t.
Looking back now, I can acknowledge and appreciate that my feelings during that time were okay. Not every pregnant woman is overjoyed for the full term of her pregnancy, even though I wished it had been different.
Pregnant women may experience the loss of a loved one, a breakup, job loss, moving, renovations or many other forms of challenges or hardships which come with their own set of emotions that aren’t always met with ease. Grief, heartbreak and sadness are all common emotions accompanying difficult experiences which are just as valid and real pregnant or not!
The Pregnancy “Expectation”
There seems to be an expectation that the joy of pregnancy should outweigh any difficult emotion a woman may encounter, but that is most definitely not the reality for many women.
I am here to tell you, that if you are sad or depressed or grieving and you feel that these emotions are casting over the joy you “should be feeling” during your pregnancy that it is okay. I wish more than anything that you weren’t experiencing those feelings, but in no way, shape, or form does this make you a bad mother. It does not mean you will not love your baby. It does not mean that this is a mistake. It simply means you are human and whatever you are going through demands to be felt.
No one can tell you how you “should” be feeling. I know it is hard and more than anything you just want to be joyful, but you can’t help how you are feeling, and there is no reason to be hard on yourself for something beyond your control.
Pregnancy Can be Hard….
Pregnancy is wonderful, but it can also be hard…. really, really hard. So give yourself some love and allow yourself some grace because no matter what you are feeling, you are doing the best that you can in this moment and that is all you can do.
If you are having a hard time coping, or find that your feelings of sadness or depression are impacting your daily functioning, please talk to your health care provider. They should be able to link you to helpful resources in your area.
We would love to hear about your experiences during your pregnancy, is this something you can relate to? Leave a comment below or over on our Facebook page!
To find out how The Blissful Doula can help take the anxiety out of your pregnancy, birth and postpartum click HERE.