Monday, June 11, 2007

My Emotional Experience of Pregnancy

Before Lily I feel like I was a different person. My thoughts, more often than not, were on philosophical or theoretical questions about whatever curiosity I stumbled upon, I read "important" literature, painted, drew, and took photographs, and generally lived a creative and varied life outside of work and school.

At this point I find it difficult to recapture that Juliette for even short periods of the day. I've been thinking a bit about this lately because the change in myself is something a bit worrisome to me. I feel as if I am losing my own identity and replacing me with someone I couldn't even imagine in January of this year. Instead of a colorful magnitude of thoughts and funny ideas, the whole of my mind seems occupied by Lily... and I fear that I am becoming a bit of a boor in my single-mindedness. I guess it helps a little to know that this is normal; I just hope that it is not permanent.

And so my previous macrocosm has become a microcosm, largely populated by three people (Eric, Lily, and myself), in terms of my emotional state this shrinkage has not been particularly wonderful for me so far. I've been worried for a few months about how much more emotional I've become, how many nightmares I've been having, and the irrational fears I cannot seem to escape. This too is normal, but since my world has shrunk so much I guess I don't have the support system or really feel like I have anyone to talk to about these things.

I feel lucky that so far in my pregnancy I have not been plagued by the depression that has visited me throughout my life. I have had a pretty elevated mood for the most part. I HAVE, though, been dealing with a great deal more anxiety than I ever think I've dealt with. I guess there are a lot of reasons for me to feel anxious, and they are legitimate, but I still don't like it.

I'm sure most any woman would feel anxious about her partner leaving for two and a half months during the middle of a first pregnancy. I know I'm not the only woman to have this happen but it still doesn't make it any easier to be so very alone right now. Adding to my feelings of isolation are my fears that my absolute focus on pregnancy and Lily might be boring him and that he might not come back (to me at least).

What I can say here is that, while there are some really great things I've experienced through this pregnancy, it's not all sweetness and light. I imagine pregnancy is never the period of joy that so many of us might imagine it to be. It's hard work, both physically and emotionally, and for many women out there (particularly those without a lot of support) it can be harrowing at best.

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