I’m writing you a letter because lately every time I try to tell you how I’m feeling, you jump in before I’ve finished talking. I never truly get across what I want to say because you’re always trying to ‘fix’ me, like, make it all better. I know your intentions are good, but it’s just not working. So even though you may find a letter a bit extreme, hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading this you’ll have a better understanding of where I’m coming from.
Ever since we looked at that little blue line in the bathroom, things have been really different for me. I don’t feel the same as I used to and I think you’d agree that I don’t look the same either. Although we planned our baby and we’re both so excited about getting to meet them, the truth is that I’m also feeling pretty nervous about the future. So I need to feel you are with me, every hormonal step of the way.
So just to make it really clear, this is why I’m so emotional:
I feel uncomfortable, look huge and can’t even wear most of my shoes because my feet are so swollen. I have to go to the toilet all the time and I can’t sleep and when I do I dream the strangest things. I can’t eat sushi or brie and you know I just love them.
Most days I feel like I’m on an emotional rollercoaster and constantly on the verge of tears. This makes no sense to me and I’m sure it doesn’t to you either. I’m not a crier and I’ve always thought of crying as a sign of weakness, but lately I just can’t stop my eyes filling up. A kitten, the baby’s nursery, something on the TV – it’s as if I no longer have any control over my emotions. I know I’ve been getting angry too, and taking it out on you, and I’m sorry.
Everything I read about being pregnant is supposed to reassure me that what I’m feeling is normal. But I don’t feel my normal, and I’m not sure that you do either. One minute I’m fine and the next I truly wonder if I’m going mad when I overreact to the smallest things. That incident over the recycling bin for example.
We’re different too. The ‘us’ I mean, the you and me who used to have so much fun and not take anything too seriously. Now all we seem to do is talk about the future and our security and saving our money and a whole heap of other things that if I’m totally honest, scare me. For the first time really, it’s like we are becoming grown-ups, mini versions of our own parents and I’m not sure how I feel about that one either.
While I’m at it, I know you’ve shown me a million times, but really I still don’t know how to fold the pram down and I’ve been lying to you when I say I can. Oh, and when I think about learning how to breastfeed? Add that to the list of 100 other things keeping me awake at night. I know that the human race has survived for a very long time and really, how hard can it be to look after one small person, but we’ve never done it before. What if we can’t?
So when I’m crying I’d l ike you to:
- Not say anything. Just listen to me until I’ve stopped talking. Ask me if I’ve finished if you’re not sure.
- Don’t try to be Mr Fix-it because I’m not broken. Stop saying “Honey, what you need to do is...” and list off half a dozen things that make you feel better, but don’t help me.
- Just let me know you’re hearing me. That will be a really big thing.
- Don’t fuss around me and ask a whole lot of questions. Just sit, listen and be still. You can nod your head though.
- Pass me the tissues. And when you go shopping don’t buy the cheap ones. They’re rough and aren’t absorbent enough and too small and I hate them.
- Try to understand that it’s not easy for me either. Believe me, I don’t want to be crying all the time.
- Hug me and hold me close. Don’t interpret this as foreplay, it’s got nothing to do with sex. Nothing.
- Don’t make fun of me to your friends and family. I heard you on the phone last week talking to your sister saying I was crying “again”. Be loyal to me.
- Just do stuff around the house and use your own initiative. I’m growing our baby.
- And one more thing, can you please show me again how to fold down the pram? I promise you I’ll listen and won’t interrupt.
This post originally appeared on Kidspot, written by Jane Barry, Midwife and Child Health Nurse.