Selective Memory During Pregnancy is Probably a Good Thing
It's funny how the human brain works. Or is it just mine?
While I was pregnant with my first child, I swore up and down that I wasn't having any more children. Ever. I had 20 weeks of Hyperemesis, lost 20lbs, was on bed rest on and off for extremely low blood pressure, and when I wasn't on bed rest I was fainting in the most unfortunate of places like the Credit Union and, to my utter mortification, Penneys!
Everyone heard vehement vows of "Never again!" and by God I meant it! Some people said I'd forget the highs and lows of carrying my child for nine short (but-really-felt-like-forever) months and others said that experiencing childbirth would be what really cinched the deal one way or another. One thing I knew for sure: I was really looking forward to delivering my child. If only for the fact it meant that the pregnancy would be at an end. I sound really harsh in saying that but, in my defence, I was absolutely miserable.
While delighted to be having a child, it's now, with the benefit of hindsight, and a lot of talking with medical professionals, that I know I was in the throes of antenatal anxiety which I had never heard of to that point. I have learned to forgive myself for feeling as I felt. Which was that pregnancy was a means to an end.
However, once I had my son I knew in an instant that I would do it all over again. I had already forgotten everything that had made me miserable. This tiny human that MY body had grown despite everything it had endured during pregnancy was worth the world. My second son was conceived when my first born was 14 months old.
The pregnancy was identical, however my mind was in a much healthier place so I was happier in general. This time, with my third child due later this summer, I am having a textbook pregnancy and while I am enjoying it a lot more than my previous two, I find it quite amusing what I had chosen to forget after delivering my second child. I could never forget the horror of Hyperemesis so thankfully I didn't suffer with much sickness this time, however there are plenty of other side effects I had selectively forgotten!
1. Baby Brain
Which has gotten a million times worse with each pregnancy! I can say with complete honesty that I am just stupid right now. Even stringing these sentences together is proving taxing as I am constantly losing my train of thought!
2. Aches and Pains
They have gotten progressively worse with each pregnancy but tend to disappear upon delivery making them a very easy part of my previous pregnancies to forget!
3. The Constant Bathroom Trips
I carry my babies low. Do I need to explain any further? I could literally live in the bathroom at this stage. Install a fridge, I might as well move in! But again, like the aches and pains, this complaint disappears once baby arrives making it a distant memory only to be re-lived when there's another tiny human cooking in my uterus. Note to self: this time please remember the Kegels! Sneezing is starting to remind me of the less glam side of pregnancy!
4. Mood Swings
I'm up, then down, then up, down! I've been told, from much "loved" family members no less, that they don't particularly like me while I'm growing a human being. I don't mean to be a heinous cow, I'm continuing to blame those raging hormones. Unfortunately my moods seem to get worse with each baby and these days more than ever I am liable to say anything to anyone and to hell with the consequences.
And by this I don't mean the kind of sleep deprivation lovingly supplied by the midnight wake up calls from my older kids. I'm referring to the insomnia that lingers throughout pregnancy despite feeling tired in your bones, the insomnia that means your mind just won't shut off, or the insomnia supplied by the discomfort of just lying down. Also as the pregnancy progresses I find myself getting a little fearful of delivery, which is a new feeling for me.
As mentioned, I pretty much welcomed labour on my previous two. This time, with pregnancy being fairly straight forward thus far combined with the memory of an unmedicated, highly intense 30 minute labour on my last child, I am having to remind myself regularly that what goes in must come out! It's funny how your brain can make the unconscious decision to blank these irritations out. It's funny because if we didn't blank these things out, the human race might well have died out a long time ago.
What's really funny, to me, is that despite having forgotten a lot of these things, it really doesn't make a difference. I'd still choose this discomfort for 9 genuinely short months to have the gift of my children.
Have you experienced antenatal anxiety? Did you have a difficult pregnancy? We'd love to hear your thoughts.