Horrible awful confession time

Hi.

A couple of things on my mind. Both of them are some of the “taboo” stuff you’re not supposed to talk about while pregnant, but I need to process about them, since they are both scary and I do best by writing about stuff.

Also, as a warning I usually link to all of my sources, but I’m just not in the mood this time; if you really want to know I’ll add them as references later.

First:

For a few days last week I had what best could be described as pre-partum depression. I was more than just sad, I was lethargic and weepy, I could barely focus on stuff. I wasn’t interested in the little toddler on my bus or cute baby clothes. I wasn’t interested in Ziggy. I wasn’t interested in folding/organizing/washing/filing all the baby stuff we received. I didn’t want to read baby books or blogs. I fantasized a couple of times about just giving her up, or her just disappearing, and it was relieving, which scared the crap out of me and made me feel like a bad pre-mother. I have been warned about postpartum depression, but that’s always explained away by having the kid leave your body, and therefore throwing your total system into chaos. Ziggy hasn’t gone anywhere yet.

Overall I am strongly suspecting/hoping that it’s a lack of sleep this past week from really aching hips at night and pee breaks, combined with being overwhelmed by politics at work and within the family (like my MIL nagging me for something that I didn’t even do), combined with hubby being out of town all week plus my mom visiting which was really super great but definitely threw things off for me. Plus the fact that I hit the 37-week mark, meaning she could come at any minute. I confided in my mom, who suffered from postpartum depression, and she was very comforting. She also did some research for me, since that what she does to show her love:

I investigated on the intertubes, source of all that is holy and correct, regarding prepartum depression in the 3rd trimester, and discovered 10 – 15% of all pregnant women have it, and it is not necessarily a harbinger of postpartum depression. Several reasons were given, mostly those we discussed – fluctuating hormones, fatigue, pain/discomfort, reality, etc. I also noticed that comments from preggers Moms after the articles described many of the same symptoms you did: lack of enthusiasm, fear of inadequate parenting skills, a strong desire not to deal with baby stuff (especially laundry), feeling that something was "wrong" with them for having "inappropriate emotions". Most of these women were coping with all this by crying incessantly and eating copious amounts of ice cream and/or pizza, so you’re ahead of the game.

I did also talk to my husband who was less concerned than I’d hoped, and the Doc who was more concerned than I’d hoped, but it balances out I guess.

I am definitely feeling better, and have been slowly getting there for a couple of days so I don’t think it’s just a rallying of the troops to put on a good face. For some reason even with the disturbed sleep I still feel more rested today than I have all week, which helps a lot! I’m getting excited again about dragging the kidlet on hiking trips into the mountains (the squirrels won’t care if I breastfeed on the trail), and when she kicks me I’m relieved again (rather than just in pain). I even saw this viral baby video last night and had to acknowledge it was pretty adorable:

But I will definitely be keeping an eye on things, since I’ve never been super baby crazy in the first place, and I’m still not 100% excited about squeezing a large butternut squash out of my uterus and have it cry and poop on me for several weeks before I get so much as a smile of recognition. I’m hoping the nuzzling will help.

Speaking of butternut squash…

Second:

The baby isn’t growing as big or as fast as she should. She’s still moving, and at first it just seemed like she took a couple weeks off from growing and was catching back up. But this past week she hadn’t grown again. The midwives are going to wait another week before they send me in for an ultrasound, and I’m trying to play it cool with my hubby, but I’m already in full-blown panic mode (at least it’s a sign I still care about the kid, although even when I was super depressed I never wanted her to die or be maimed, just not be “here”).

There are lots of reasons that she could be smaller than expected:

  • She is just small.
  • She has squirmed her way super far into my pelvis earlier than normal and they’re not getting a good reading.
  • She is lying sideways on my body instead of back out, which the doctors didn’t mention but I suspect could be one reason.

Other scarier reasons:

  • I’m not eating enough (I am certainly not starving myself, but I never get ravenously hungry so I have no idea if I’m hitting the extra 500 calorie mark or not).
  • She’s sitting on her umbilical cord and squeezing off her blood supply.
  • I’ve poisoned her with alcohol.

Yes, I am one of the few American women that will admit in public, even if it is anonymously, that I have regularly drunk alcohol during the latter half of my pregnancy. I know in the U.S. it is totally taboo, while in the U.K. they are a little less strict, and in France and Israel (and probably other countries, but those are the only two I know of for sure) they’re fine with a glass of wine a day. Studies have also warned about drinking early in pregnancy when the kid’s still forming all of her body parts and organs, hence the complete abstinence until about 23 weeks. It was a fairly slow ramp up, to admittedly as often as five servings of wine a week, one a day at most. Why? Among other reasons, nobody else makes as big a deal out of it as the U.S., it tastes good and helped me distress, it helped keep me “regular” (a common and important concern for a pregnant woman) and the baby got active after I’d take a sip or two, and since she is a relatively mellow kid and doesn’t actually move all that often, it was reassuring to feel her kick and stretch.

However, now that her growth has slowed down, I am freaked out. I did some research, just as my mommy taught me to do (see above), and I’m finding studies that found growth disturbances associated with moderate consumption in the third trimester. Oh NOW you tell me! Everyone mentions the first trimester concerns, but not the third trimester?! Ugh!

I have not been able to find a direct correlation with my drinking and her lack growth; in fact the weeks I can recall drinking less, usually due to being on the road and not willing to publically imbibe, it seemed to be correlated with times her growth slowed. I’ve also been taking DHA and drinking green tea consistently during the third trimester, which are supposed to be good for fetal brain development, maybe to alleviate my guilt about drinking even before we knew about the growth concerns.

But you know how obsessed I am with having a smart baby, as is my husband – more than her excelling in life, it’s just part of our family’s culture – so the idea that she’s not going to come out as smart as at least me is concerning.

I’m probably freaking out for no reason. Most women I think would be happy to hear they’re delivering a slightly-smaller baby. To my understanding most babies who measure small are just small or even just mis-measured. And as long as she’s healthy I don’t really care. That said, I am stuffing myself with protein and vegetables and plan to abstain from alcohol for awhile, probably until I give birth, and even while I breastfeed since that’s supposedly a bad idea too, just so I can say I did everything in my power.

So there are my two horrible, awful confessions of ways that I am unfit to be someone’s mother. Go ahead and judge me. Tell me I’m a bad parent. I already feel like I am, for both of the above-mentioned reasons. At least I’m getting a head start in the guilt department. But I had to get it out, and while journaling has helped me too, for some reason I had to share this with someone, even if that “someone” is nothing more than a blog with almost no visibility. Talk amongst yourselves.

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