Mar 10, 2009

Pregnancy blahs: Bored with pregnancy

I'm sick of being pregnant! Is something wrong with me?

Nope, it's perfectly normal to feel that way. Many women get tired of being pregnant during the third trimester, and some even earlier. What's exciting and new during the first few weeks and months of pregnancy can become pretty tedious by the sixth or seventh month. Let's face it, there's nothing particularly thrilling about having to roll out of bed sideways, groan every time you stand up, and pee 20 times a day. Sure, you always get offered a seat on the train, but you also face little delights like hemorrhoids and heartburn. It's enough to wipe the rosy glow from even the most excited mom-to-be.

However, if your pregnancy ennui starts to feel more like persistent blues or anxiety that's affecting your ability to function, talk to your prenatal care practitioner. Although mood swings are common in pregnancy (especially among women who suffer from PMS), feeling chronically bored and listless could be a symptom of depression. Postpartum depression gets more attention in the press, but at least 10 percent of women have bouts of depression during pregnancy. Untreated depression isn't good for you or the health of your baby, so it's important to get treatment. Fortunately, most cases of pregnancy-related depression can be treated by a supportive therapist and with antidepressant medication if necessary.

Dealing with others

On top of your physical discomfort, you may find yourself enduring endless questions and comments from others about your pregnancy. "Once I started showing, no one at work ever talked to me about anything but being pregnant," recalls Susan Greer, an accountant and mother of one from New Hampshire. "By the sixth month, I wanted that baby out and my body and identity back."

And then there are the unsolicited comments — and hands — on your physique. "I'm always getting 'Wow, you are so big!' comments, advice I didn't ask for, and people touching my stomach," a mom-to-be writes on our bulletin boards. "As if I'm not already annoyed because of how uncomfortable I am!"

Many women get tired of conversation that focuses on their burgeoning physical state. Try steering conversation back to nonpregnancy topics — even if it's just the weather or the latest reality TV show. Feel free to tell your family and close friends that you need a reprieve from pregnancy talk, and you're back in the market for conversation that has nothing to do with food cravings and not seeing your feet.

Also, give yourself permission to vent when you feel the need. Although family and friends (and even life partners) can sometimes get worn down from a verbal catalogue of pregnancy woes, you can count on finding a sympathetic ear in other pregnant women. Commiserate and trade advice with other women due the same month as you or women on any of our many pregnancy-related bulletin boards.

What I wish I'd known not to stress about during pregnancy

"Don't stress if you can't get everything done that you had planned each day. The baby won't notice if the housework isn't done."

"It's okay to tell co-workers that you're not interested in their advice. Every pregnancy is different."

"Remember, every problem has a solution, and confiding in someone who is close to you or who you think can offer help or support is a step forward. Don't be afraid to talk to your partner or midwife."

"Don't stress about how you look. You are performing a miracle — growing a person inside of you — and that is a fantastic accomplishment."

"If you trust your OB, let her do her job and follow her recommendations; if you don't, find a new doctor whom you do trust. You should never be afraid to call your provider with big and small problems."

"Don't stress about tough times with your partner. A baby tests any couple's relationship."

"Don't stress about things like food or weight. Just be sensible. There's no need to give yourself an anxiety attack over the pint of Ben & Jerry's you just finished. Take it as your special reward for everything you've accomplished so far in your pregnancy, and move on."

"If you're doing everything in your power to make healthy choices, don't worry so much. Women have been having babies since well before we knew what to do and what not to do."

"Mothers-in-law don't know everything!"

"Don't stress too much about things in the environment you think might harm your baby, like standing too close to the microwave or pumping gas. Remember, the vast majority of babies are born healthy."

"Don't worry about labor. It is what it is. Just educate yourself on your options, and be ready to make informed decisions. Beyond that, just take a deep breath and go for it. It's not as bad as you think it'll be."

"Don't stress about how the baby is fending in the womb. It's quite the roll cage, and your baby is comfortable in there."

"Every little twinge doesn't mean something is wrong."

"Don't worry when your baby doesn't move. Your baby is just like you, and some days he just wants to sleep!"

"No matter what decisions you make, someone will always disagree. Try not to let the negative comments upset you, and if you're really worried about something, talk with your doctor or a nonjudgmental friend."

"It's okay if you don't have everything ready for baby. Newborns don't need a whole lot in the beginning."

"When I accepted heartburn, back pain, lack of sleep, and moodiness as a normal part of pregnancy, they did not seem to bother me as much anymore."

"If you're worried about being a good mom, you have nothing to worry about. My husband keeps telling me that bad mothers don't worry about whether or not they will be good moms."

"I had never really been around children, and I made mistakes, but as long as you love your baby, you can't harm it with small mistakes. You'll soon get comfortable with the routine."

"Don't stress too much over all the "rules" pregnant women now have. A shower warmer than lukewarm won't lead to disaster. If you accidentally eat soft cheese, there's no use worrying after the fact. Our mothers had fewer restrictions than we do, and we turned out fine."