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The Bitch in the Mirror…Your Life on Hormones

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I’ve been mad at my husband plenty of times. But during the first few months of pregnancy, I wanted to throw things at him more than anything.  I remember one particular fight where I was eating Greek yogurt during it (because even anger can’t stop that raging hunger), and I came so incredibly close to throwing that yogurt at him. It seriously took ALL of my self-control to stop myself. I kept picturing it flying and hitting him, spilling stinky yogurt all over him.

I’ve read about pregnancy hormones, and thought I could tell the difference between a hormone-fueled fight and honest anger. But I was wrong.

Pregnancy hormones made me feel like I was a different person – like Dr. Jeckel and Mrs. Bitch.  I was suddenly someone with no fuse, no patience, who could get annoyed at inanimate objects just for being there. It felt like the distance between normal and completely angry suddenly became razor thin.  I use to fantasize about rear ending people while driving purely on principle! God, that would have felt good.

So how do you deal when pregnancy hormones make you feel like a race car running in the red?

I found that after a few months I could notice when I was flaring up.  My most powerful ally during those flare-ups was breath. If I could relax my body, and take a few deep breaths into my stomach, I would feel a little better. Then I really made a point to take care of myself during those times. Nature was my savior. A 30-minute walk could clear out the cobwebs and calm my nerves.  Think about what calms your nerves, be it nature, playing with a pet, buying yourself flowers, watching a funny movie. Then really make a point to do these things whenever you feel overly hormonal.

I think the best cure for pregnancy hormones is to stop pretending that you’re not hormonal, stop pretending that you’re OK, and start realizing that something more powerful than you has taken control.  Say to yourself, “Wow I’m in a really bad mood,” and try communicating with your partner about it.  Do as I say, not as I did. I wish I could have done that early on, before our harrowing fights.

How do you deal with pregnancy hormones within your relationship?

How do you communicate to people that you’re going to be a big bitch, so they should just stay out of your way? My husband and I had many a random fight, where I would fly off the handle at some little thing, and he would fight back with equal vengeance. It wasn’t pretty.  And I have many regrets for how the stress of those fights may have affected the baby.

Try searching the web for “fighting with a pregnant woman” and sending your partner and family articles about how stress affects the baby and how hormones affect pregnant women.  Even if they have been through it, the more education you can give to them reminds them to cut you a little slack.

Even when I was a raging bitch, I deserved a little slack.  You deserve a little slack for how you act right now too.  No, you don’t get to verbally assault people whenever you want, no matter how good it may feel, but people also need to meet you halfway.

Stress can affect your baby in a profound way, because the hormones released during stressful times go straight to your baby.  We don’t drink during pregnancy because we don’t want to bathe our babies in alcohol. Likewise, we do not want to bathe our babies in stress hormones. Both are equally harmful. What you feel, your baby feels. When your partner or family members fight with you, they fight with your baby too. It’s easy for men to forget that, especially in the early months before you’re showing.

So before you get into those fights that I fell into, try talking to your partner or family members and reminding them that stress affects the baby, and that they can help you most by cutting you a little slack when you’re emotional, or when you fly off the handle.  Instead of fighting back with you, ask them to try supporting you by asking if everything is ok, or asking if there is anything you need or any way they can help you.

I found that many fights I had with my husband were fueled by my fears and anxieties about various things. Pregnancy and parenthood are scary propositions, especially for first time moms. Sometimes our fears about how life will be, what type of support we will get, money, childcare, parenting styles, the stuff we need to gather – all of it can create some of the fights we tend to get into. So if you notice a fight coming on, try asking yourself if a fear is underlying it. And if so, try talking to your partner or your family members about it and asking for support.

How have pregnancy hormones affected your relationships, and what tips do you have for other women experiencing the same challenges?

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