How To Not Let Pregnancy Hormones Ruin Everything

Newly_Pregnant_1Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
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I’m a newlywed and newly pregnant and should be over the moon, but I’m miserable. I’ve been so sick since about three weeks in that I’ve become perpetually cranky. I’m now five months along and it’s not getting better. My husband is sleeping on the couch because he’s tired of being yelled at, and I can’t say I blame him. Logically, I know this isn’t his fault and I shouldn’t be taking my pain out on him but these hormones are really real and I can’t help the way I feel. I don’t want my baby to break up my marriage! What should I do?

Risha London Nathan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Holistic Health Counselor
Well, let’s focus on the good first: Congratulations on both your marriage and your pregnancy! Any new stage in life requires a transition period, so as long as you’re up to making a few small changes, we can get your husband back in your bed before the new roommate arrives. It would be great if you two were cuddling and closer than ever for nine months, but pregnancy can be an extremely difficult time for many women, and as a wise bumper sticker once said, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So, here’s what it boils down to — not only is stress not good for you and your husband, it’s also unhealthy for your baby to be receiving all the stress hormones you’re releasing, so let’s get him back to being your partner instead of your punching bag. Here are my suggestions.

1. Try to figure out what’s making you feel so physically sick. A lot of women tend to see pregnancy as a time where can eat whatever they want. In reality, this should be a time that you’re taking excellent care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. Your baby is only getting what is going on in your body, so make it the best that you can. Fill your body with healthy foods, and cultivate a calm environment for him/her. Check out Sea-Bands as well. Although they’re for motion sickness, people use them for nausea during pregnancy as well.
2. Take good care of yourself and get support wherever you can. I understand the tendency to isolate when you’re feeling bad but what ends up happening is that your husband is the only person you see and he gets the brunt of your moods, so the key to diffusing your stress is by distracting yourself from your discomfort and staying busy. Explore things like meditation to stabilize mood, pre-natal yoga and massage, or possible acupuncture for the nausea and hormone stabilization. It’s not fun to feel nauseated and sick and whatever you can do to decrease this will help you feel better emotionally. Reach out to friends, moms, colleagues, and anyone else who might be a support system for you. It might also help to talk to your baby when you’re feeling really bad, as it helps to humanize the pain and remember what the end goal is: an amazing little person who is very much worth the struggle.
3. Be on the same team with your husband. Although this is all happening to your body, you’re going through it together. Explore where your anger is coming from and identify your triggers. You’re right that hormones are very real but they’re not an excuse to lash out, so next time you feel a mood coming on, think on what you’re really upset about, and what feelings and truths are dominant. When we don’t express anger and emotions in a healthy way, they eventually show up in unhealthy ways so share your experiences with him, and include him in the process and positive parts of it so he doesn’t feel like this is his “fault.” Talk to him about what’s wrong, but also talk to him about what’s right. Being in a loving, supportive home goes a long way to get you through the tough times, and you’ll need that healthy connection for when the baby arrives.
Lastly, just remember that this is just a bump in the road. You will not feel like this forever and the finish line is closer than you think. Plus, you get a prize at the end! Congrats again — wishing you the best last trimester ever!

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