You may be 25 weeks old today, but I’ve felt pretty guilty, ever since you were about four weeks old. Since the end of April, I’ve been under quite a lot of stress. Between the economy being terrible, the chance of losing my job, my parents getting divorced, and the unknowns of pregnancy, it’s felt like a lot over the past six months. I’ve often wondered how I’d have handled each situation had they happened separately, but we’ll never know.
More than once, I’ve had a little cry because I felt like I wasn’t doing a great job of housing you. I felt that you deserved better than what I was giving you.
I had all these plans for what pregnancy would be like. I was going to only feed you high quality food, but stress eating, cravings and my plain ‘ol nature tends to take over. I was going to be a yoga-going, fitness junkie that kept you in tip top shape, all the while maintaining a zen aura of tranquility. You were going to be the most chilled out baby on the planet.
Well… neither of those things really happened, but to be honest, they were probably out of reach for my personality to begin with. Your Mum likes to set big goals, even if they don’t really align with the kind of person that she is. She’s a dreamer.
Recently, however, the thought occurred to me that it’s entirely within my control how I manage, or at the very least care for, myself during these periods of extreme stress. It’s easy to say that I’m having a bad day, so I deserve chocolate or ice cream. It’s easy to dwell on the negative and work myself into a state of anger, frustration or sadness. Seriously, given everything that’s going on, it’s easy to do that.
What’s harder to do, but much more worthwhile, is to take a step back. You’re doing a great job of reminding me of this.
Often when I’m stressed, you give me a few kicks. In the beginning, those kicks made me feel terrible. I felt like my stress was stressing you out in turn. Now… now I’m grateful for those kicks. Instead, I choose to interpret them as you giving me a gentle (sometimes not so gentle) reminder that I have one great reason to prioritize disengagement from the stress.
I have you.
I am trying, but like I said, it’s the harder option. Sometimes it feels like I’m making the selfish choice, to not engage in the conversation, to pull myself away from the situations or people that are causing me stress. But the thing is… I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for you. It benefits me, and it certainly benefits my mental health, but it’s ultimately for you.
Stress is going to be an ongoing part of our lives, both while you’re inside of me, and once you’re with us ‘on the outside’. People fight, people lose their jobs, people disappoint one another. That’s life. What do we have control over? We have control over how we conduct ourselves and, to a degree, how we respond. I tend to be a reflexive person, responding in emotionally charged ways. I’m going to try a little harder to take a breath, ask myself if it’s worth it, and reassess.
Isn’t it funny that you’re not even born yet, but you’re already teaching me a lesson? Turns out you’re already a pretty special kid.
All my love,
Fun facts for this week:
- You’re the size of a cauliflower (for you, Nicole)
- You LOVE your Dad’s voice and kick whenever he talks to you.
- When I roll from side to side in the night, you like to give me swift jabs, as though to say, “hey, I’m sleepin’ here!”
- You’re turning me off chicken recently…
Have you dealt with stress during pregnancy, or with a pregnant person while they were going through stress? What did you find the best way was for handling stress?