How Pregnancy Affected My Mental Health
Pregnancy Affected My Mental Health in the 1 Way I Hoped It Wouldn't
Pregnancy changed me in so many ways. While that statement alone probably isn't very surprising to anyone (so many weird things happen to your body!), I also experienced a big shift in who I am — or now, who I was — as a person. Because my husband and I were actively trying to get pregnant, I had prepared myself for many of the changes that I was experiencing, but not the one to my personality.
I knew my priorities would change once I got pregnant. I knew our lifestyle would change. I knew our relationship would change. But I didn't expect I would change as much as I did. I had all these ideas in my head of who I would be as a mom once my son was born. I had always been a fearless risk-taker before I got pregnant, and I was excited to use those fun characteristics to be the mom who made life an adventure. I thought of my son being born as the best kind of addition to our already "live life to the fullest" household.
Pregnancy changed me in a way I never expected. But, I'm happy, and it took me a long time to realize that this new me isn't bad or less than.
I was wrong. The more pregnant I got, the less I was willing to take a chance on anything. While I never used to sweat the small stuff, I now became obsessively nervous about every little thing. Instead of trusting that things would be OK, I began to ask myself things like, "What are the potential risks? What if something bad happens?" I analyzed everything, and my mind was a battlefield. The fun and adventurous me was now a thing of the past, and I began to life live on the sidelines.
I started laying in bed at night and reflecting on the exciting things my husband and I did before I got pregnant. And instead of smiling with fondness about how brave we were, I began to question our sanity. What was I thinking going bungee jumping? How crazy were we to ride dune buggies in Mexico? What about that guy we paid to take us parasailing in the Caribbean? What if the parasail wasn't safe or he didn't bring us back to where we started? Not only did I shake my head at the crazy things we did before I got pregnant, but I began to worry that our son would be just like us and have that adventurous quality I used to want him to have!
Pregnancy turned me into someone I never thought I would be — an anxious, worry-wart mom. I started driving the speed limit all the time with two hands on the wheel. And you definitely weren't going to catch me on a jet ski, ATV, snowmobile, or go-cart ever again — things that used to feed my soul and make me happy. I now had the responsibility of raising this amazing little human being and making sure, above all else, that he was safe. And I wanted to be safe, too.
If you had told me years ago that I wasn't going to be the adventurous and brave mom I had set out to be, I definitely wouldn't have believed you. Pregnancy changed me in a way I never expected. But, I'm happy, and it took me a long time to realize that this new me isn't bad or less than. Yes, I'm now anxious and constantly worry, but I'm cautious because there's nothing I would rather do in life than be here to watch my little boy grow. Once I gave birth to my son, I realized that I didn't lose my sense of adventure. My greatest adventure had just begun.