Why am I so angry?
October 15, 2011 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm 10 weeks pregnant and I am so angry! I have less patience, tolerance, and empathy for everyone and everything. How do I calm down and get a grip?

I'm unexpectedly 10 weeks pregnant. To clarify, my boyfriend and I are very happy and excited about this pregnancy. Some might even say my boyfriend is even more excited than me. I'm nervous about the baby's health; if I'm doing everything right; if I need to be doing more; if everything is set up for when the baby comes. What if my baby has abnormalities or defects? What if the prenatal vitamins I'm taking aren't the best? I can't stop worrying.

It wasn't planned, as mentioned, but regardless, it is a blessing. Everyone in our lives is very supportive.

I get the hormonal aspect of it but to me, there's no excuse for poor behavior. I haven't gone postal on anyone but I know I have a shorter fuse. I have a lower tolerance for dealing with seemingly inane issues people at my work bring up. I wake up in the morning seeing red. I have a harder time letting stuff go. I let it fester and I get myself worked up in a lather. I'm so worried! We're going to raise and love a baby. We are bringing another human being into this world. I thought my sense of compassion and empathy towards others would widen instead of narrow. I just get so stressed out because I know how wonderful and how difficult this world can be at times. Sometimes I don't feel brave enough to face it. How is this precious unequipped little human going to face the world with compassion and bravery if his or her parents sometimes can't?

My boyfriend and I live together and have for a while. My boyfriend is amazing and very supportive. But another point of stress is that we have discussed marriage for a while now. We both agreed we want to get married. He wants to wait until after the baby arrives. I do not want to wait. He wants to wait so we can get married on our terms and so that the marriage is about our love, not the baby. I want to get married now because I know we love one another and I want a sense of security and tradition before the baby arrives. This is really important to me. I feel like the longer we wait, the more things will come between us and the date (like raising the baby, etc). This makes me really angry, actually. I just want everything to start fitting together now so we're ready for the baby. I feel like this whole issue is turning me into a bully and brat.

I am really trying to get perspective but I can't and I feel guilty about it. I have a really hard time admitting I feel like this except to my mom and my boyfriend. Is this common? How do I deal with this? Everything I've read is about the physical symptoms of pregnancy, but what about the emotional? Have other people turned into pregnant monsters? How did you or your significant other deal with the stress? What is going on?
posted by fiasco to Human Relations (29 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
First I want to say congrats to you and your man. This is all still pretty new to you; you even mention that your boyfriend acts more excited about this than you, I wonder if there is a tinge of jealousy for his feelings? Writing this as a male and a father I can speak to his less complicated feelings, it's not his body that is going to go through the roller coaster of emotions, hopefully he will be there by your side to deal with your's.
posted by Jaymzifer at 9:44 AM on October 15, 2011

Its totally normal. Totally. And it will most likely pass, I settled down when I hit the 13-14 week mark (of course, the last month or so of pregnancy I wanted to BURN ALL OF THE THINGS again).

Is your boyfriend totally against a city hall marriage with a big party to follow later? I, uh, did that. My husband needed health insurance. We already planned a date in January, and then we just went to city hall a year to the day before our planned wedding and signed the papers and were married there. You know, just to get it all done ahead of time! Not a lot of people know, and my parents are still in the dark. But it felt secret and special and very much for love and not for insurance. It was cool to be secretly married for a whole year, and then we had the big real party and that was amazing because it was like getting married again, or the ending of the secret, or just getting smashed with friends, whichever. We've been married for almost 6 years. Or 5, to my parents. It still feels like a special time in our lives that wasn't just "extended engagement".

As far as regulating hormones... I just retreated to the small crap that made me happy. Coffee (seriously. it's ok to have a cup or two a day), candy, songs on youtube i loved that i could listen to at work, just taking a break for ten minutes, looking up everything baby-related on amazon to purchase, ikea catalog... just whatever it took to get by at that very moment. Oh, and eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat because ITS FOR THE BABY DAMMIT.
posted by kpht at 9:45 AM on October 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

You are creating a new human!! Your whole body is in turmoil....and that's ok. Talk walks, do yoga but cut yourself some slack. Let yourself do something awesome! In a few weeks, your hormones will calm down and things will get easier....Just breathe and be. Discuss your fears and concerns with Dad to be and breathe some more. You'll be ok. Congrats!!
posted by pearlybob at 9:45 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You are going to get a lot of answers better than mine. But I want to start off by saying that you are fine. None of all this means that you are a bully or a brat. You are suddenly thrown into a whole new world and it is going to take some adjusting on the part of everyone.
Work the problems, lean on your people, love your baby, trust yourself.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:46 AM on October 15, 2011

Your horomones (and your life!) are in a tailspin. It'll calm down, but in the meantime, don't get down on yourself for how you're feeling. Your entire body is changing and adjusting. Also, the first trimester is freaking exhausting--I remember falling asleep at my desk on a daily basis, and going to bed at 9pm at the latest every night. I know I'm ridiculously irritable when I'm tired.

Mostly, just remember: this too shall pass. The second trimester is right around the corner, and you'll start feeling saner soon. I promise.
posted by litnerd at 10:00 AM on October 15, 2011

Congratulations on your new baby! It sounds like you've already talked to your boyfriend about your desire to get married before the baby arrives, but I think it seems like a pretty important thing to keep out in the open and make sure you guys come to some kind of understanding about. Things like this sometimes cause resentment and long-term ick when they fester undiscussed. Is there some kind of compromise you can reach together?
posted by anonnymoose at 10:01 AM on October 15, 2011

First, and like everyone else says, congratulations. Second, stop worrying because, I know it sounds trite, but it doesn't accomplish anything. Women have been having babies for time eternal. The vitamins you take won't effect the health of the baby, but the stress you're putting yourself through might. I have a deep-seated belief that the more stressed out a woman is while her baby is in her womb, the more cranky the child will be during her developing years. And if you think you're experiencing stress now, you ain't seen nothin' like an inconsolable infant/toddler/child. So it's important to let go of the stress. Sure, these are tough times to have babies. But mother nature doesn't stop. And you know all those baby books? None of them will be of any use when the baby actually comes because instinct takes over and what you feel in your heart is better than all the advice in the world a baby doctor could give you. Just try to let go of the fear (I know it's not easy but we've ALL BEEN THERE, and looking back, don't know why we sweated it so much) and relax. You've got seven or so months before the baby comes. Try to ENJOY THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! Because you'll never have a life again without a baby. Once a child enters your world, that's it. And it is a blessed thing to be sure. But indulge yourself in sweet memories for now because they will live with you for the rest of your life.

And as far as the wedding-non/wedding thing is concerned. I can understand both points of view and think kpht's solution to the problem is BRILLIANT!
posted by zagyzebra at 10:17 AM on October 15, 2011

Make sure you're hydrated. Make sure you're not hungry. Make sure you're getting enough sleep. Find something you really like: a favorite book you like re-reading, TV show you're really into, getting a manicure, anything, and then sit yourself down and do that thing for a couple of hours when you're spinning out with emotions. Even at work - take a lunch break and do that relaxing thing. Remember that being accepting of your "bad" emotions and thoughts does not mean acting on them.

This is absolutely hormonal and more you're trying to sort everything out already, the more you're winding yourself tight. Once second trimester comes the hormones settle down and lots more happy, calm hormones come into play. First trimester is really hard on our bodies so relax, put anxious angry thoughts on the back burner while doing nice things for yourself.

I re-read all my favorite sci-fi books in my first trimester, ate sugary cereal I would not eat in normal times, and slept a lot. Part of why I stayed relatively sane was that my husband insisted we did not have to start preparing for the baby right this minute. I'm super-grateful to him. Now in the second trimester I have a lot more energy and patience to be sorting through closets and preparing the baby room.

Congrats again! Everything you are going through is normal and everything will work out. My big mantra is "One day at a time". Embrace that.
posted by Shusha at 10:22 AM on October 15, 2011

Congrats to you. I can totally relate to what you're talking about -- I'm the man. My wife is unexpectedly pregnant and nine-ish weeks along. I'm stupidly blissful about it and she is...well ... "freaking out" is too strong a term but it's in the neighborhood of freaking out. She's acting less frightened about it and more eager to discuss the pregnancy in the last week or so. Meanwhile, I try to keep my stupid mooning to myself. It's not my body with the alien growing inside, so I understand the need to stay a bit chill about it, at least on the surface. All the women in my life (sister, mom, etc.) have said that it's really normal to feel ... not at all yourself.

P.S. We're havin' a baby! Whoohoooo!
posted by Buffaload at 10:39 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would just like to add that when I was pregnant, due to a never-ending whole-house construction project, at the last minute, during the eighth month, I had to find temporary quarters outside of my home just to live so I'd have a clean and sane place for the baby during the first six weeks after I delivered while construction finished up. I was so overwhelmed with everything going on in my life up to delivery -- construction, running an agency, mom dying from ovarian cancer, et al -- that I didn't even have time to buy a baby crib or if I had, a place to put it, let alone PLAN. And yet, somehow it all worked out. Life is messy. You'll deal with whatever cards you're dealt. And in the end, odds are you and your baby will be just fine.
posted by zagyzebra at 10:41 AM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just as a data point, we got married before, that is 3 months into pregnancy.
[No matter what happened later,] it was a good decision at the time, I feel, even in retrospect. There should be a way to convince your bf of this, if it's really important for you. The feeling of 'two together' is easier to make seem real when you're still, sort of, two.

(If I'm anything like a good observer, your emotional issues will settle after a while. Hang in there.)

[Also: YAY]
posted by Namlit at 10:45 AM on October 15, 2011

Personal anrcdota: my (now) wife and I planned to get pregnant. We were 4 months into it before we were married. We didn't live together (technically 180 miles apart). Three weeks after our son was born though she moved down with me. Until then, I drove up every friday at 2:00 and returned every Monday morning for work.

As for your sanity? Its cool. There's a lot going on inside you. Cut yourself some slack. If you don't want to get married now, don't, but trust me - it is ok whenever you decide to. I recommend the book "What to expect when she's expanding" for him - it is a good humorous read with only a small amount of misinformation. It did help me take it in stride.

There were nights I remember when I was challenged in unwindable non-arguments, and being able to accept that (for him) and be clear that despite the random malign of my character that had been thrown my way, that indeed the hormones and the stress of pregnancy was talking - consider it some minor temporary insanity. He loves you - that's why he is excited.

My wife of 3. 5 years and I are happy for you both.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:48 AM on October 15, 2011

I'm 38 weeks pregnant, and I just wanted to echo what a lot of people have already said: a) this is normal, and b) even though it's normal, it's important to find ways to relax once you feel these feelings bubbling up.

My own tineline with funky feelings and battling hormones started more or less like yours - I was worried about everything I did, and in turn that made me cranky and irritable, because who likes being worried? For me the 12 week mark was a big turning point and I'm not sure if it was because my hormones calmed down, or I found ways to calm down. Could you be doing more? Maybe. Are you educating yourself and trying to eat properly? Then that's what you should be doing, and worrying about doing more, more, more is pointless.

The first thing every woman in my family told me when I announced my pregnancy was to relax, sleep, and take care of myself. It took a while to sink in, but there came a time when I started to understand the value of listening to my body and responding to its cues. I've never been a napper, but my first and third trimester I've been more tired than ever before. I was not great about resting during my first trimester, but after that I started letting myself take breaks to lie down, letting myself sleep late, etc. When I get wound up, I find ways to do things I find enjoyable, even if it's something completely brainless and unproductive like watching a dumb tv show or lying on the couch with a magazine. This helps my state of mind.

Obviously the main concern with pregnancy is growing a healthy human, but we tend to forget that mom's state of mind counts, too. Stress hurts you and it hurts the baby inside of you. Treat yourself when you feel like you need it. Rest when you feel like you need it. Stay in tune with your moods so you know better how to tend to them. I swear that as I learned to do that, I even started feeling more confident that I might be able to tune in to my baby once he's born and take care of him better. Don't forget about yourself - it is so important for your well being, and for your growing baby's.

Another thing - you are going to be innundated with a list of THINGS PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD NEVER EAT! OR DO! Some of them are true, some of them are outdated, some of them are somewhere in between. Take a deep breath and take some time to find out more about them before you decide to never eat or do something again.

Good luck, and enjoy this time! It will be challenging, but also mind-blowing!
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:24 AM on October 15, 2011


I am normally a very calm driver ... I don't react at all to being cut off, etc. Both times I was pregnant I had THE MOAT INCREDIBLE ROAD RAGE. I could not believe how angry I was, I'm seriously never that angry about anything. It tapered off later in the pregnancy and ended as soon as I gave birth, both times.

It was a little easier the second time knowing the road rage was a pregnancy symptom and not a personality change but really I just had to wait it out. The unexpected crazy will pass and you'll go back to whatever your normal level of crazy is. Good luck!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:41 AM on October 15, 2011

MOST incredible. Is autocorrect rage a thing?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:42 AM on October 15, 2011

How to not be angry...give birth? Worked for me!

I react to estrogen etc. very badly by becoming an insane rage monster. I really feel for everyone who was in proximity to me during pregnancy, beause of my barely concealed hatred of nearly everything and everyone.

Bringing a baby into the world won't make you more compassionate or anything. It will make you more sleep deprived.

Try not to have too many expectations for yourself, emotionally.

Okay, but THIS IS IMPORTANT: Don't let hormonal mood changes lead you to dismiss valid complaints. The marriage thing? Completely valid and you are right to fight for what you want and the kind of family you want for this baby.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:46 AM on October 15, 2011 [9 favorites]

Congratulations to you both! I'll keep this short and sweet: try mindfulness (google it for more than I can possibly tell you in a single askme). You have to recognize that what with hormones, erratic blood sugar, perfectly normal disagreements about items small and large, you're going to be dealing with some anger. No way around it.

BUT- you don't have to engage with your anger when it happens. That's where mindfulness comes in. It's all about knowing what's going on right now. Give it a try; I wish you all the best!
posted by Mooski at 11:55 AM on October 15, 2011

I just have to echo everyone else - this is normal, and hormones do wacky things when pregnant! I know how unsettling it can be but just try to trust that your body is going through some major changes right now, not to mention your whole life in general. You just have to try to trust that things will work out and these big changes that are happening are causing your emotions to go a little nuts but it's all going to be okay.

I can relate to your situation because I'm a week away from giving birth myself, and it was unplanned, and my boyfriend and I were not married when I got pregnant, and still aren't. And I'm okay with that although at first I was really worried about the whole thing. I just couldn't imagine having a baby and not being married, and we talked about it a lot, but eventually we both realized that it was better (and less stressful for us overall) to worry about one thing at a time. So first up is: OMG BABY! WHAT ARE WE DOING AND HOW IS THIS GOING TO WORK? It's about all we can handle at the moment and I won't lie - it's been stressful, and we have had to spend a lot of time and energy navigating that stress as we come to terms with the baby making and baby planning and how our lives are about to change forever. Of course we are excited and happy about it but being that it was unplanned, it's been a big adjustment for both of us not only in terms of preparing to have a baby, but in navigating (and strengthening) our relationship too. We may be married someday, but neither of us want to rush in to it and feel like maybe we did it just because we are having a child together.

I will say that I felt the best (emotionally) during the second trimester and a lot of the stress and worries have crept back in as the clock has started to tick down to the due date, but I think that's 100% normal. And I'm so thankful that my boyfriend has been super supportive and accepting of my mixed emotions and craziness, and that's only helped me feel more secure. I honestly don't think that being married would help me feel better at this point, but I know it might be different from you. I think that for me it's become much more important to FEEL like we are committed to working things out together as a team than to have a piece of paper that declares we are committed. 9 months ago though, when faced with the scariness of an unplanned pregnancy, I felt differently.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience and to let you know you're not alone in how you're feeling right now. Don't be afraid to talk openly about what you really want either. If it's marriage before the baby is here that is important to you, then keep talking about it. And keep listening too. Eventually things will fall in to place - just trust in that. And congratulations!
posted by katy song at 1:05 PM on October 15, 2011

Hormones and the new situation will make you act nuts, but the baby will be fine. Do all the stuff you're supposed to do--prenatal care, put your feet up, eat well, and try to get yourself some time alone every day to just veg. Getting married might be on your mind right now, but that's another set of stressors--do you really want to cope with that? Personally, I'd feel the same way and would rather spend 10 minutes in front of a judge before the baby, rather than try to work out some magical wedding moment afterwards. It's about your love--the proof of which is showing under your dress, right?

There's some evidence about stress hormones influencing fetal development, but the situations are far more more severe than just being pissed off at people at work.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:12 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

What I have realized about pregnancy and babies is that nothing lasts. Every symptom of pregnancy, every aspect of a baby's development... it all changes completely every three to four weeks. To you, while your going through whatever it is, it seems like forever. To everyone else, everyone not living in a pregnant woman/new mom's head, that time rushes by work-chores-errands like it always does. Whenever a new worry pops into my head, I try to just keep it in the background until it has stuck around for a few weeks, then I can really deal with it.

For the next year, at least, your sense of time is going to be way off. A few weeks from now, you are probably going to be googling "pregnancy hip pain" or "13 weeks morning sickness" and this irritable phase will seem like it happened months and months ago.
posted by that's how you get ants at 2:11 PM on October 15, 2011

Congratulations! My husband and I got married a few weeks before our first baby was born. Well, technically, we had a non-legal religious ceremony when I was 33 weeks, and then a city hall sign-in-front-of-the-judge ceremony when I was 36-7 weeks-ish. It felt important to me to get the whole legally married thing out of the way before the baby arrived. Baby arrived at 39 weeks, so we were cutting it close.

One thing to think about, is that depending on the laws in your state, if you and the baby's father are not married, is you may not be allowed to put him on the birth certificate without jumping through a few extra hoops. In our state, if the mother and father aren't married, the father has to sign an affidavit of paternity in order for him to be on the birth certificate. And the flip side is that if mom and dad ARE married, the dad's name automatically goes on the birth certificate, regardless of if he is actually the biological father. Not a huge deal, but it's one extra thing to think about at a time when you may not have a lot of extra mental energy to spend on things like that.
posted by fancyoats at 3:57 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I feel like the longer we wait, the more things will come between us and the date (like raising the baby, etc).

I totally agree with you on this. If you know you want to marry him, and he knows he wants to marry you, then there is absolutely no reason why you ought to wait. Better to do it while the baby is still a prisoner inside you, because later on, ALL the plans you'll make (marriage or otherwise) will revolve around it.

You two have already committed to starting a family. What is he waiting for?
posted by hermitosis at 4:20 PM on October 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Wait two more weeks - almost everyone I know became very happy after the third month began. It was not easy with my partner after the initial 'rush', but by the third/fourth month it was great. And so I have often observed it to be with others. don't worry, you're being 'normal'.
posted by nickji at 9:15 PM on October 15, 2011

Yep. Normal. I am 15 weeks with my second, and I get angry when I am pregnant too. It does let up in the 2nd tri, as everyone as said, but don't expect it to "turn off" like a faucet or anything. It just gets easier to deal with as you feel less crappy and start to feel the baby move around in there a bit.

I am sure someone has mentioned ths unthread, but two things you must do are take time for yourself every day (even if is for only 5 minutes) and occasionally step away from the baby websites and books (because seriously, those things are crazy). Talk to your midwife/OB about how you are feeling and ask for tips (if they blow you off or gloss over what you are saying, find a different provider!).

It will get better! You get a beautiful baby at the end!
posted by LyndsayMW at 10:01 PM on October 15, 2011

Well, it totally did not get better for me in the second trimester. I did feel better physically because I wasn't puking/nauseated, but I still had the same mood issues and hair-trigger irritability/temper. I really expected it to go away and was seriously disappointed. If that happens, know that you're not alone! If you have a hard time dealing with it, please see a therapist or psychiatrist. I probably should have.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:04 PM on October 15, 2011

Everyone suggesting self-soothing and distraction is spot on. The hormonal stuff in the first tri (also in the second and third trimesters, actually) is really weird and can be overwhelming. I found that delaying eating in the morning made me a hysterical mess; eating breakfast promptly and never getting too hungry radically reduced my weepiness.

Also, DO NOT WORRY about stress hormones hurting the baby. You are allowed to feel however you feel; you're not going to hurt the baby.

the young rope-rider: Okay, but THIS IS IMPORTANT: Don't let hormonal mood changes lead you to dismiss valid complaints. The marriage thing? Completely valid and you are right to fight for what you want and the kind of family you want for this baby.

I wish I could favorite this more than once.
posted by purpleclover at 1:59 PM on October 16, 2011

I felt like my pregnancy hormones made me feel emotions deeper in every way. But (after 5 pregnancies, 3 children) I think the impending birth of a child also boils things down into important/not important pretty quickly. In some cases I felt as if I was holding a set of beliefs that society had gulled me to believe -- and I had these gut feelings crossing out paths for me and slashing new paths to follow.

What worries me about your boyfriend's wanting to wait is that he's thinking there will be some pristine moment that excludes the here-and-now, messy bonds of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. I think he's balking at not being able to choose the moment, but if he's making a fantasy of the moment and of love in a vacuum, I'd wonder a bit if he's ready for the total surrender (not of self but of time and control) that a new baby demands.
posted by mdiskin at 7:03 PM on October 16, 2011

I am 9-10 weeks pregnant, and a total mess of GRAR MOVE FASTER JESUS CHRIST GRRRAAARRR!!!!!!!!!

You're not alone.
posted by kestrel251 at 8:41 AM on October 17, 2011

Came in late to say - I felt like this too, and it was awful. I don't have any coping advice, I'm sorry - but it will pass, and you can wait it out. My beautiful boy is 13 now!
posted by mgrrl at 5:18 PM on October 17, 2011

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