Monday, April 18, 2011

Doc, can you give me my wife back?

Pregnancy hormones.  Ahhh.

They are wondrous and miraculous for all that they facilitate, this is true.  But they also do some wacky things too.

My own personal experience with it involved crying hysterically for four hours once because I wanted a double double from In N Out, and my husband went to McDonalds instead.  At some point, I knew that I was being completely ridiculous, but had no ability to control my emotions. 

Four hours.

It happens.  As a pregnant woman, especially for the first time, you may feel a bit like you are on an emotional roller coaster.  Gloriously happy, hopelessly paranoid, teary at every commercial on television.

One minute you are practically throwing yourself at your significant other, the next you are sure that he is leaving you tomorrow. 

One day you are planning your child's fifth birthday party years in advance, the next you are just completely convinced that there is something gravely wrong with the baby.

One second you are jovial and happy, the next second you are barking orders to everyone around you. 

The reassuring part of it all is that it's normal.  All of it. 

I've seen all different variations of the hormone swings.  Some women just have their regular personality magnified, others seem to be a completely different person entirely. 

If it's confusing and hard to go through it personally, it's even more challenging for the people around you.  They aren't part and parcel to the hormones and in large part are flying blind.  They don't know if today is the happy day or the paranoid day. 

More than one husband has half-jokingly asked the doctor when his wife would return. 

Fortunately, it's a phase.  The wild hormone swings are present from conception all the way through the postpartum period.  Some of the worst swings happen in the first few days after birth.  Your body went from needing all those extra hormones to purging many of them rapidly, and it's a drop off that hits some women hard.  I know it was always worst for me on day 3.

The best piece of advice I can offer to the women experiencing it is to understand that it is a normal process.  You can't control how you feel,  just like you can't control the hormones raging through your body.  What you can try and do is temper your response to them.  If you know you are having a rough day, set your expectations a little lower.  Realize that those around you are trying desperately to understand you most of the time, and they really aren't trying to drive you nuts.  (this one is tough, I know)

To everyone around the emotional pregnant woman, give her a little leeway.  She's growing a person, after all.  Whatever you do, don't blame everything she does or says on hormones.  She just might have legitimate reasons for being frustrated which have nothing at all to do with hormones. 

Try to understand her.

And if she wants a double double, go get her one.  Seriously.

This too shall pass.

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