Are you expecting a baby but instead of overflowing joy you feel sad?
Don’t worry, it’s not just you!
In fact, it’s NATURAL to feel this way in pregnancy, especially if it’s your first-time pregnancy.
Let me explain.
I was SHOCKED by my own emotions when I found out I was pregnant
I wanted children ever since I was a teenager.
I’d always felt a HUGE desire to have a baby and it was so intense that sometimes it hurt.
I was 32 when I got pregnant with our twins.
It was a planned pregnancy, although we didn’t expect it would happen on the first try!
I had envisioned this moment in my mind at least a million times before.
I thought that as soon I’d see two lines on the pregnancy test, I would show it to the love of my life with tears in my eyes and then we would both fall into each other’s arms crying tears of happiness.
However, the reality was quite different.
I had suspected I was pregnant for a few days before taking the test, but as soon as I saw the two lines, I felt SHOCKED.
I felt literally paralysed both physically and mentally.
I couldn’t comprehend it was real.
Within milliseconds, my mind got flooded with all sorts of thoughts and feelings.
I was staring at the test, speechless and frozen.
I started to realise what was changing.
Instead of feeling happy – like I thought I would – I freaked out.
Yet I was still desperate to have my fairytale!
Come on, get yourself together, I thought to myself.
I was hoping then when I’d show the test to my then-boyfriend Yaw, he would bring me back to my senses by being happy, and then I would have my movie-like embrace and tears of joy.
Come on, you have dreamt about this for years, you cannot ruin it now, I was telling myself.
I left the bathroom and walked towards the front room where Yaw was sitting on the sofa watching TV – not being aware that in a few seconds, I would change his life forever.
He looked at me and seeing my expression, he immediately knew that something was ‘wrong’.
I was trying so hard to appear happy but my body language failed me.
I tried to make my teary eyes look like they were full of tears of joy, but seeing his face made it clear I must have looked like a ghost.
I was still paralysed so I just showed him the test without saying a word.
His reaction was nothing like I had imagined in my fairytale!
He wasn’t unhappy, but he also wasn’t full of excitement and happiness.
He wasn’t running toward me with his arms open ready to make my old dream come true.
He was shocked, just as I was.
I couldn’t cope with what was changing
I couldn’t make my peace with the fact this would NOT be a happy event, so I hugged him and in a cringe-worthy tone announced that this was great news.
Now, at this point, I lost the last bit of hope for living my fairytale.
Yaw’s expression brought me to reality.
We were having a bloody baby! (Well, we were having two but thank god we didn’t know it then yet!)
It was REAL!
My heart was pounding hard.
My mind was racing faster than ever before.
I was overwhelmed by all the questions I had no answers to.
Are we ready for this?
Shouldn’t we have waited?
Are we going to have enough money?
Where are we going to live?
How will my life change?
And then, it was the realisation of what is changing.
I won’t be able to have a drink for so long now!
When do I have to stop working?
How is my body going o change?
Are Yaw and I still going to have time for each other?
Why is my pregnancy making me so sad?
Am I going to be a good mum?
Questions like this weighed on my (and I’m sure also Yaw’s) mind for a long time.
We were sitting there next to each other, speechless and snowed under the weight of conflicting thoughts and emotions.
That night I cried, but it was not tears of happiness.
It was tears of sadness and desperation.
I couldn’t comprehend the imminent changes.
This lasted for a few weeks.
Yes, it took A FEW WEEKS for my emotions to start settling.
One minute I would feel excited, the next one desperate.
Perhaps this is where my postnatal depression started to develop, who knows?
But now I know that the feelings of sadness and panic I experienced the day I found out I was pregnant, and in the weeks that followed, were totally normal, common, and NATURAL.
A woman doesn’t become a mum from one day to the next
Remember – a woman becomes a mum gradually.
It is a process.
The movie moment where pregnancy and early motherhood as the best time of a woman’s life is more of a movie moment than reality.
As a new mum, your mind and body are going through so much that it would be unnatural for it to be a breeze.
Think about it.
Your life as you know it is changing forever.
You realise what things you won’t be able to do for some time anymore – and what new things you will suddenly have to do on a daily basis.
You have no idea how long you will be able to work – if at all!
You wonder about finances and where you will live once the baby arrives.
You need to plan like a million things before the baby arrives.
Not to mention all the hormones that kick in and cause rather intense mood swings.
OF COURSE you feel confused, sad, or irritated! (or all of it)
How could you not?
There’s no wonder that many mums develop prenatal depression or antenatal depression during pregnancy.
It’s not abnormal and has nothing to do with your ability as a mum.
In retrospect, I think I might have struggled with mild prenatal depression too, although I never sought help.
At one point, I even secretly blamed our twins for ruining our lives!
I couldn’t connect to them and felt nothing like a mum.
It didn’t even occur to me that it could be a mental illness, I simply thought I was failing as a mum.
If this is you too, please listen to me!
You are perfectly fine and there’s nothing wrong with you.
Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to adjust to all the changes you are currently going through.
It is IMPOSSIBLE to adjust overnight – however much you want or love the baby.
Feeling sad is NATURAL.
It’s simply an emotion you need to FEEL and eventually, it will go away.
In no way, do try to repress it, hide it, or feel ashamed about it.
It would be like feeling bad for feeling joyful when you have a reason to feel happy.
Instead of pushing it away, try to WELCOME it.
Acknowledge it and talk to it.
This way, it will lose power over you and you will be in charge again.
Next time you feel sad, you can tell her:
Thank you for showing up. I know you are just helping me to process the changes I am going through. I welcome any change that is coming my way. I am strong and ready to let go.
Is It Normal To Feel Sad In Pregnancy?
There you go!
I hope my insights and tips help you to feel more relaxed about your pregnancy sadness and gradually let go of it.
Remember that if you felt your sadness is getting more intense or that you cannot control it, speak to your GP!
Which of the above resonated with you the most? Let me know in the comments!
PS. If you would like to discover more secrets about life as a new mum antenatal classes won’t tell you (and should), read authentic stories from first-time mums, and get plenty of priceless tips & support you won’t find anywhere else, then I invite you to read my book Motherhood – The Unspoken.