Pregnancy and Mental Health

I’ve written recaps of the first and second trimesters so far, but I haven’t really delved into mental health specifically surrounding this pregnancy.

For the most part, my mental health has been pretty good. I’ve continued seeing my therapist as normal, which has been really helpful. During my first trimester, I was obsessively worried about something happening and losing the baby, so meeting with someone who knew me and could offer an objective perspective was what I needed.

I’ve also continued taking Lexapro throughout this pregnancy. Before Neil and I started trying, I consulted with both my general practitioner and my gynecologist to see what the recommendations were on antidepressants during pregnancy. Both said that the risk was minimal and that the most important thing is to have a happy mother during pregnancy and beyond. I know this isn’t what everyone chooses to do, but I feel like it has kept me level these past months.

Even though I’ve maintained my mental health regimen throughout being pregnant, I have noticed some emotional changes as we are getting to the end here. When I would read message boards or articles that popped up in my inbox, I would laugh at the stories of women flying off the handle at minimal things or having mood swings all the time. While my experience hasn’t been that extreme, I have definitely noticed it in one area — crying.

I am not a crier. If anything, I need to work on expressing negative emotions in a healthier way and cry more in general. I’ve been so used to suppressing negative emotions that unless I actively work to feel them, it’s much easier to tuck them away inside in a little box until they ultimately decide to erupt at a later, less opportune time.

As you might have read, I recently brought Neil into a more active role with this site. His strengths complement my weaknesses and together I feel like we make a good team for expanding this business. Because we have been working more closely together, we ultimately butt heads as he offers grandiose ideas and I become terrified of change (I usually come around, but it takes a bit 🙂 ). This, coupled with the undoubted stress that we both feel about an upcoming addition to our lives, understandably leads to more arguments. Whereas in the past I may have been able to handle them better, if I start forming one tear, I know that it’s over for me. The conversation needs to be halted until I can sob out what feels like every remaining tear in my body.

The tears start because of frustration or fear or whatever stems from our disagreement, but they continue because I begin to feel every negative emotion that I’ve tucked away inside little internal boxes. Every thought of poor self-worth that I’ve worked to overcome shrieks in my face and I cry because I believe them all. It’s like an avalanche of negativity; with each thought that I passively agree with, more tumble down on me until I feel like I can’t do anything but stay crumpled on the floor.

It’s an intense reaction that I haven’t experienced before, and I know that it’s linked to changes with my body and brain and baby. I simply let myself cry until I don’t have the energy to cry anymore and then reassess what just happened. I KNOW that the thoughts I’m having are irrational, so I can usually reflect, review what just happened, and tell myself that those are all lies I’ve worked to push past before. Most of it stems from fear of change and fear of failure. It’s ok to be afraid, but it’s also important to work through that fear if you’re going to succeed.

It’s important to talk about what’s going on, so I’m sharing this with you today in case you have ever experienced something similar. I’m taking care of myself by continuing to talk about what happens with those people close to me and taking time to check in with myself. I’d love to hear any of your stories from pregnancy or beyond, so feel free to leave a comment below or email me at erinsinsidejob@gmail.com.

Ultimately, all is good though and be on the lookout for exciting new things coming in the next couple months! Remember it’s ok to have tough times, but just don’t stay crumpled on the floor.

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