Archive for January, 2009

Transitions


“I discovered that although I was ready and eager to become a mother, I was feeling sad about giving up a lifestyle of freedom that I had cherished and so thoroughly enjoyed. I realized that in leaving the ‘maiden’ phase of my life and by entering the ‘mother’ phase, I would never again be so footloose and fancyfree . . . By going into my feelings, I discovered that I needed to grieve the ending of this phase so that I could fully enter the next, without any resentment. I believe that had I dismissed my vague feelings of sadness or scolded myself for crying ‘for no reason,’ or stopped my crying by arbitrarily deciding that I had cried ‘long enough,’ I would never had reached the level of understanding that I did.” – Anita Johnston, PhD, From “Eating in the Light of the Moon.”

I ran across this passage in a book about eating disorders. Dr. Johnston so clearly addresses the feelings that pregnant women feel but oftentimes try to supress or push away. Afterall, everyone expects you to be happy during pregnancy. It’s sometimes a newsflash to my prenatal students that they are human. They still have all kinds of feelings during pregnancy, including deep sadness.

You’re sitting and watching a commercial for baby diapers and suddenly you’re totally bawling. Yes, it’s hormones! But I also think it speaks to the fact that somehow we find this an acceptable way to be sad during pregnancy. The hormonal waves are tapping into a deep reservoir of feelings, of a woman anticipating the huge shift she will be facing in her life.

Many times we push these feelings aside. Many times a woman will hear, outloud, “But you’re supposed to be happy! You’re pregnant! It’s a wonderful time!” This invalidates what she’s feeling right then and there. It invalidates her as a human being with a range of feelings.

Let me say it loud and clear – YOU COUNT and YOUR FEELINGS COUNT!

I know, I sound like such a therapist, but it’s what I believe. It’s not just all about the baby. It’s not just all about the pregnancy and the fetus growing inside. The woman counts and her feelings count, whatever they happen to be.

I enourage any pregnant woman to listen to those feelings, to not discount them, to sit with them and go inside and discover what they are about for her.