Newly Pregnant and Really Discouraged.
September 4, 2014 11:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm 7 weeks pregnant with #1. I feel so inadequate right now. I can barely function and I'm a mess. I planned this pregnancy, but it's nothing like I expected so far.

First, we conceived just 2 cycles off the pill...I've been on the pill for 15 years and I'm older (31) so I was shocked it happened so quickly. As a result, I stopped my antidepressants cold turkey (I thought I was gonna have time to phase out, but it just didn't go like that) for about 2 weeks I was horribly sick because of withdrawal symptoms. Those wore off, thankfully. I still have the stuff now, but I'm not dealing with it very well. All I have energy to do is go to work and sleep. I have no entertain for housework. My husband is wonderful, but he has to do everything now (cheerfully), but I'm mad at myself for putting him in this situation.

At work, I am useless. I can't focus, forgetful, emotional and listless. I feel like I'm letting everyone down. I have had to call in sick the last 2 days because I got strep throat. I'm so disappointed with myself for getting sick already. (I work at an Elementary School and the US school year has just started) My coworkers know I'm expecting and they are sooooo supportive, and I feel bad because I am not pulling my weight and not performing to my personal expectations.

I am barely pregnant and I've already gained 5 pounds. All my clothes are tight now!!!! I eat healthy snacks, I walk a lot, and this is still happening. I was overweight before the pregnancy, but now my BMI is 30 and I'm panicking about how this is gonna affect the baby. I'm short (5 feet tall) so it looks like I'm already showing now.

I don't have debilitating morning sickness or anything like that. I have only vomited twice. Really, it's been kindof smooth sailing so I don't understand why I am so low functioning right now.

I feel like I have already failed at everything. All my friends seem to just sail effortlessly though their pregnancies and I feel like such a screw up. How can I fix this or cope???
posted by neanderloid to Human Relations (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Early pregnancy is tiring. It will pass.

You sound quite anxious. Did you discuss with your doctor going off meds? Reading your post, I wonder if that was the right move in this difficult and emotional time.

Talk to your doctor about your experience and ask what you can do to make it better. But babies are tougher than you think, they're hard to break. A few extra pounds probably won't make a difference. Each week of pregnancy is different so problems that plague you today may be gone soon.

Get some rest, first trimester is exhausting.

Congratulations on the new addition to your family.
posted by crazycanuck at 11:36 PM on September 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

I would say that your baby, husband and coworkers would be best served by you resuming treatment for depression. (You will also benefit of course!)

Take care of yourself.
posted by samthemander at 11:41 PM on September 4, 2014 [18 favorites]

The first trimester of pregnancy can be TOTALLY EXHAUSTING, FRUSTRATING, STINKY AND SUCKY. What you describe about your moods and abilities is normal. You are doing fine. Gaining five pounds is also fine. You are doing great. I recommend that you give yourself a break. And maybe talk with your doctor about the meds question. Hang in there! It doesn't last forever.
posted by feets at 11:48 PM on September 4, 2014 [9 favorites]

I'm sorry you are going through this. I imagine you had expecations for your pregnancy, and it is not meeting them. This is fine. Your experience is normal, and even if it is not, there is no need to beat yourself up about it. Some people have a harder pregnacy than others, some just choose not to discuss the problems they are having. Try not to compare yourself to others, always give yourself a break. This will pass, you do what you need to do and let your partner take some weight off your shoulders for now. I'm glad he is so supportive, after all, you are the one carrying his child!
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:56 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hi there,
Looking back at your previous questions, it sounds like you have a bit of a history of anxiety (I don't mean this in a "gotcha" sort of way; it is just something that may be easier to see from a third person perspective).

This anxiety probably isn't great for your developing child, but it likely isn't good for you either. Women are socialized to be caretakers, and while this is regrettable in some ways, maybe now would be the time to harness this to your--and your child's--advantage. Perhaps you could see your pregnancy as a time to get your anxiety under control. There are many different ways to do this from breathing exercises, meditation, prenatal yoga, etc. The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, has lots of different suggestions, and I would encourage you to discuss this issue with your doctor.

Finally, all this talk about failing at pregnancy is quite disheartening, and I'm sorry you are feeling this way. Women have been having babies for 200,000 years. There is no pregnancy competition, and no one is scoring you on how well you perform. You've got this.
posted by girl flaneur at 12:04 AM on September 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

I wasn't working when I got pregnant with my first, and every day of the first trimester, all I could think of was how lucky I was that I didn't have to go into an office and pretend that I wasn't exhausted, forgetful, experiencing low-level nausea all the time, and prone to crying over complete nonsense. It was also my third pregnancy after a miscarriage and an ectopic, so I had the added bonus of being constantly worried that something was going to go wrong again. Seriously, the first bit of pregnancy, in general, is the PITS.

Please allow your coworkers and husband to support you during this time. You have not "put [your husband] in this situation"! If the pregnancy was planned, you both decided that you wanted to start a family together, and that will inevitably entail times when one of you has to pick up the other person's slack because focus is being diverted to more pressing things (like constructing an entirely new person inside of you). I understand that it's not how you wanted your pregnancy to go, but I think it will stand you in good stead to come to a place of acceptance wrt your limitations and being ok with not being superwoman right now. I'm a huge control freak and also tend to want to take care of everyone around me, and this has culminated in some spectacular meltdowns and breakdowns since pregnancy and the ensuing child came into my life, simply because I cannot do everything and still remain a functional human being. (I'm not necessarily saying those traits apply to you, just pointing out that having unrealistic expectations and stretching yourself too thin at this point in time can ultimately lead to more struggling down the road.)

Please try to make an appointment with your PCP to discuss the feelings of anxiety that you're having over this and talk about whether resuming your medication is appropriate right now. I notice in a previous question of yours that you expressed reservations about seeing a counsellor, but I also think that might be helpful right now, to be able to unload all of your fears and frustrations to a neutral third party. A therapist should be able to help you develop methods for coping with the (completely normal and inevitable!) anxieties that pregnancy and impending parenthood can produce.

Best of luck. This is such a difficult time for so many mums-to-be. Hang in there!
posted by catch as catch can at 1:26 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Honey, big hug to you and congrats!! Your body is making a new, awesome little human! It's in early, freak out mode right now which is totally normal but scary because you have never experienced this before. Take care of yourself, talk to your Dr, accept the love and support that you are getting and try and breathe every day. Things will even out soon. Welcome to motherhood! It's the best club ever!!
posted by pearlybob at 1:43 AM on September 5, 2014

You are stuck in a moment. You are sick, you are dealing with getting off of medication, and you are newly pregnant. Any one of those things can make a person feel awful and you have all three. Give yourself a break. Allow your husband to show you what a great dad he is going to be by letting him take care of you right now. You deserve it. You are worth it. And this is just a moment. It will end and your next moment will be better. Ask your husband to buy watermelon and, using an ice cream scoop, scoop it out into a container with a lid to keep in the fridge. Every time you are feeling frustrated, get a few scoops of cold, sweet watermelon. It's good for you, good for the baby, and will feel nice on your throat. You deserve a treat.
posted by myselfasme at 1:44 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Early pregnancy is EXHAUSTING, the fog called pregnancy brain is a thing, and what you are feeling is normal. Also, it's really important you take the following to heart:

My husband is wonderful, but he has to do everything now

He is not doing everything. You are growing another human. If he has to do all of the laundry, make all the meals and do all the hoovering, that's still a fair division of labor. 'From each according to her ability, to each according to her need' applies equally to Marxist theory and to incubating future citizens.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:46 AM on September 5, 2014 [22 favorites]

Hi there. Disclosure: I'm male, and have no children. So what the hell do I know.


Short version: go see your doctor and talk to them about EVERYTHING.

From an external perspective, it seems that you're showing signs of anxiety or depression, and a lot of self-blame. The most important thing you can do is talk to your doctor about this, particularly since you have stopped taking medication. You should be fine -- but get help. You're finding things hard (which is perfectly normal!) so don't make them any harder. This isn't a blame-laden situation -- nobody you know thinks about it in those terms. Take a deep breath, say to yourself "everybody wants the best for me", and don't allow yourself to use blame-related language, not even in your thoughts. When a thought like that crosses your mind, observe it, acknowledge it, and let it pass. Tricky I know.

There's no such thing as an effortless pregnancy, regardless of what it looks like from your perspective. Behind closed doors, everyone has their own issues. You may be having a tougher time than some, but you're not alone and you're not letting anyone down, and you're not failing in any way whatsoever.

I also find it slightly odd that you describe 31 as being "older". That's not the case. It seems that you habitually compare yourself to others. Don't do that -- easy to say that, huh? :) Far harder to actually do it.

Perhaps you'd find some talking therapies useful. You're low, and you can get professional help. That's PERFECTLY NORMAL and a healthy decision. Also, are there any local support groups? I don't mean people you know, necessarily. Shop around. Go to a few, and be open and honest with who you meet. If you feel they're supportive and helpful for you, then stay. If not, find somewhere else.

People here who've had children seem to be of the consensus that things improve after the first trimester. That can certainly be the case. But it isn't the case for all pregnancies. Set yourself some realistic expectations, and don't blame yourself if you continue to feel tired, low mood, etc. It's shitty and unfair but I've seen it happen. And if you do start to feel better -- great.

Finally, a word about weight. Again this seems like an esteem issue. This is tricky territory, but here goes. Talk to your doctor first of all. And ignore all those well-meaning types who say you're "eating for two now" -- you're not. Your weight is absolutely important for your child's health, but also for your ongoing health. If you're putting on too much weight (as determined by your doctor, not by you, not by your friends) then a diet controlled by your doctor may be advisable. You can also exercise, and in fact this may help your mood, and paradoxically may make you feel more energised. Stationary bicycle might be a good start, or maybe swimming. Whatever works for you. Do NOT try to control your diet without advice, and do NOT start an exercise routine without advice -- from your doctor.

Good luck to you! Give yourself a break, you deserve it.
posted by ajp at 2:05 AM on September 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

The actual vomiting is sometimes easier than the constant nausea. It's not as visible, so if you've been discounted as sick previously in life (like when you were a kid, told to buck up and go to school when you should have been put to bed because you weren't sick 'enough') you might be discounting it, but it's a common and completely normal if ghastly experience for a lot of first trimester women. It's like almost having food poisoning 24/7 for several weeks.

Definitely talk to your doctor about how miserable you are. There are safe medications you can take for the nausea and they can adjust your diet for protein and iron if that's an issue, and depending on your antidepressants, you might be able to take a tapered dose that's safe. Healthy mom, including mentally healthy, leads to a healthy baby. The placenta is frigging amazing for keeping baby safe so if your doctor says it's okay for you to take meds, go ahead.
posted by viggorlijah at 2:05 AM on September 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

You can take antidepressants during pregnancy. Look into it, it's really not too clear what effects it has. Your doctor will probably recommend you taper off in the 3rd trimester but there's really no reason to do it right away. Talk to your OB about going back on. I know people who took a reduced dose of certain Antidepressants throughout pregnancy and the babies are all good. You being OK is good for the baby too!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:19 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Honestly? I think the main problem is depression, not pregnancy.
A lot of women feel horrible at the early stages ( and some feel horrible all 9 months!), both physically and mentally. You're not failing at all. In fact, it's all going as it's supposed to go! Welcome to the horribleness that is carrying a little parasite in you that's robbing you of all your resources, gobbling you up and wrecking your body. (Hey, I did it twice, there's a supercute wonderful prize in it for you once the GAH stops.)
Seriously, rail against it all you want. Curse the unborn child in you, blame your husband, swear and eat lots of chocolate. Just don't blame yourself. You're surviving something supersucky and you haven't killed anyone yet! Go you!
Now get help for depression, because pregnancy and childbirth can make it worse (ask me about crying every day - and I'm an optimist by nature) and you sound pretty demoralised already. (Online hug if you want one!)
posted by Omnomnom at 2:49 AM on September 5, 2014 [8 favorites]

I've said this before here, but depression itself is an underrecognized early pregnancy symptom-- feeling "blah," terrified, inadequate, grey and desperate to escape. You feel this way not just as a comment on your coping with the pregnancy, but because the pregnancy itself is screwing hormonally with your mood.

I'd say rather than trying to get your head straight in any global way, just focus on things that make you feel locally better-- walks in the sunlight, affection from husband, junk TV, lots of naps. Just like the nausea, the depression mostly gets a lot better in the second trimester.
posted by Bardolph at 3:55 AM on September 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

Everything you just said sounds like a bog standard description of early pregnancy. You're not failing -- this is how it is, unfortunately, for a whole lot of people. I think perhaps the disconnect between your expectations and the reality is causing your unnecessary anxiety. Let your husband do the work, let your co-workers support you. You can do it for them later, when you're not 7 weeks pregnant!

As to the weight thing: In my experience (very small sample size), you have very little control over how much weight you do or do not gain during pregnancy. Your body will demand the amount of food it needs and then it will put on the weight (or not). I think you just need to watch for extremes, i.e., not eating at all because the nausea is so bad. You can probably overeat for emotional or social or other reasons, but even then its not the end of the world!

The obsession with whether women are doing pregnancy perfectly (gaining enough weight? not too much? avoiding deli turkey? happy and glowing all the time?) is silly and stupid. Sometimes pregnancy sucks and you are sick or sad, sometimes you gain what might feel like too much weight. That's fine, too. It will be over relatively quickly and then you'll have an amazing new baby and none of it will matter.

Congrats and good luck!
posted by ohio at 4:08 AM on September 5, 2014

You, like me and so many other women, seem to have a probably media driven idea of what pregnancy should be like, full of energy, smiles and husbands giving foot rubs while you pick out paint colours for the nursery. Maybe some women have pregnancies like that, but I was nauseous, exhausted, couldn't think, forgot absolutely everything, got depressed, was in so so so much pain (probably not normal) and every other thing you described.

Women don't talk about it because it's not romantic and we are supposed to be constantly on this high about becoming a mother, but everything you spoke about matched my reality too - it's actually normal, as far as I'm aware, and I've done it twice.

Heres the deal, I hated, hated, hated being pregnant, but you just have to grit your teeth and keep your eyes on the prize. Obviously go to the doctor if you think you need to see him for depression etc but what I'm trying to say is, you're not doing pregnancy wrong - this is just how it is for a lot of women. Don't think you're a failure because you've gained xxx amount of weight or you aren't constantly ecstatic about your expanding belly. Allow yourself to feel how you feel, and be kind to yourself. The baby absolutely makes it all worthwhile but you won't grasp that until it's in your arms. Big hugs, boy do I sympathise. MeMail me if you need to.
posted by Jubey at 4:48 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hey! Did I write this? I am also 7 weeks, and feeling pretty much everything you wrote. I am not telling work yet but I finally had to confide in someone this week because I feel like such a mess, and she basically confirmed that this was how she felt too, early in her pregnancies. I suspect that much of why it appears others sail through is because during this early uncertain time many have not yet disclosed their pregnancy. My thought is that by the time many announce they are far enough along that they have their routines down, you know?

Also, highly anecdotal, and this is a total duh, but after reading something this week about how vitally important protein is right now to counteract fatigue, I have made a concerted effort to do a solid serving+ at every meal these past few days. I've noticed a significant change in my ability to focus and stay awake all afternoon. And, as someone who is generally anxious, feeling better means I function better means I stress less about how terrible and scattered and unhelpful I'm being.

Good luck! Memail me if you want to talk or commiserate!
posted by marmago at 4:52 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hi, I was you a few months ago. I'm 27 weeks pregnant, and the first four months of my pregnancy were TERRIBLE. Do not underestimate the exhaustion caused by pregnancy, particularly if you are also queasy all the time like I was. These are very, very real things, and in my case the constant terrible physical feelings also made me fairly depressed (not being able to function really messes with my head) and it also made me worry that something was wrong with me and the pregnancy was going to go horribly wrong and on and on and on. It sounds like you are beating yourself up for all of this, which I also did, and I am here to tell you that it was very foolish of me. I should have just chilled the hell out and let my partner do everything without so much angst on my part.

Basically, the odds are that it will get better. I was pissed when I hit three months and it didn't magically go away like I'd been promised, but by the end of the fourth month it had all eased up (though I had some really bad headaches that fourth month) and at this point (heading into the third trimester), I feel pretty awesome most of the time, and there's a weird little creature kicking and punching me from the inside, which is far cooler than it sounds.

Keep in mind that your body is doing a bunch of crazy stuff right now, and you kind of just have to make allowances for that. I've gotten a little self-aggrandizing about this, I'll admit. I know this is my only pregnancy, so I'm all, "This is the ONLY NINE MONTHS I can do this, but for once in my life I am giving myself a freaking break and not beating up on myself for needing to sit down or complain sometimes." I highly recommend this attitude.
posted by hought20 at 5:12 AM on September 5, 2014

I was 30 when I got pregnant, I had to quit an antidepressant cold turkey, I felt like hell for the first couple months. Most of what I could say is already here, but I did want to add: I also had a BMI that was around the same as yours. Please don't let anyone, health professional or otherwise, scare or shame you on that front. It's absolutely possible to have a healthy baby, especially if you are already taking good care of yourself.
posted by gnomeloaf at 5:48 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Really, it's been kindof smooth sailing so I don't understand why I am so low functioning right now."

Oh, hai, has anyone mentioned you are GROWING AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING? It's hard fucking work! (Also keep in mind that in the first trimester you are growing the brain and nervous system and that is complicated, hard labor! Later it's just like, oh, fatten this fetus up, but right now you're the architect of the most sophisticated structure in the animal kingdom!)

"I am barely pregnant and I've already gained 5 pounds."

This early that's probably a lot of water retention. I felt like a sausage trying to bust its casing I swelled up so much.

"All my friends seem to just sail effortlessly though their pregnancies and I feel like such a screw up."

I hate those people. Well, not really; I'm jealous of those people. Some people have really easy pregnancies. Others of us have MISERABLE HELLSCAPE PREGNANCIES. My pregnancies suuuuuuuuucked, but you know what? Even after the first one sucking, I got pregnant a second time on purpose. So it's not unsurvivably awful. All the nurses said, "You're the happiest new mom we've ever seen!" and it was seriously that I was SO FUCKING DELIGHTED I wasn't pregnant anymore that I didn't CARE about having to feed the baby every two hours and being in excruciating C-section recovery pain -- it was SO MUCH BETTER than pregnancy. I enjoyed the early couple of weeks of motherhood more than most people because I just felt SO MUCH BETTER being newborn-miserable than pregnant-miserable.

My survival mantra was, "It's only nine months. I can do anything for nine months." You have a firm endpoint. Although it often feels like it, pregnancy does not last forever. It's an endurance race, but it has an ending. Life won't be like this forever.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:56 AM on September 5, 2014 [7 favorites]

Pregnancy SUCKS. Even great, easy pregnancies suck.

First things first: talk to your doctor about anti-depressants you can take while pregnant. You need to make this a priority, hormones are going to mess you up enough without dealing with depression and/or withdrawal.

The weight gain right now is water weight. You feel like you're showing but it's just bloat. That'll go down in a couple of weeks, believe me. Counter intuitively, the more water you drink the better for bloat.

Nausea is worse than vomiting, I feel, I was nauseous CONSTANTLY from week 5 to week 15. It was awful. Focus on eating something, it doesn't have to be good for you or healthy, as long as you can keep it down go right ahead. Your baby is going to be fine. Ignore any and all BMI shenanigans right now. You are building a human, your body knows how to feed itself and the baby.

Secret weapon: NAPS. Nap as often as you possibly can. This will pass to, I promise, but the first trimester is nap time. A three month long desire to nap, so do it whenever you can.

YOU ARE BUILDING A SPINE RIGHT NOW. A spine! Cut yourself some slack, girl. There's a screaming, pooping, squirming reward at the end of it.
posted by lydhre at 6:49 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

You sound like me during my first pregnancy -- almost exactly a year ago! How ridiculous is it that a planned pregnancy can make you feel so out of control? Those first weeks did SUCH a number on my brain.

I agree that unless you're on some crazy high dose, you should probably discuss staying on your antidepressants with your doctor. Your mood will affect your body, and therefore will affect your baby. The main issues with antidepressants seem to be a slight problem with withdrawal in the baby after delivery -- irritability, etc. -- but it's about the same result as what would happen if you went off them. My baby is lying on my chest and never had any issues with that.

Bottom line: MAKE A PLAN with your psychiatrist or prescriber. I saw her every two months. This will be one of the most stressful times in your life; now is not the time to go it alone!

In the end, my first pregnancy wasn't viable, but when we conceived again (very quickly) I felt so much more at peace with things, even when we passed the point when things had ended the first time. I know how cockamamie everything feels right now, but you will find equilibrium and embrace it.

As for the difficult first-trimester work of building a spine, etc. be good to yourself and let yourself collapse and get comfort whenever you can. It SUCKS (I must have slept 15 hours a day during that time) but it will end.

Please feel free to MeMail me if you'd like. I am a new mom on maternity leave right now, and I was so surprised at how well things went (read: no real PPD). And I had a terribly rough pregnancy, too. You can and will get through this.
posted by Madamina at 7:22 AM on September 5, 2014

I've been pregnant twice and I can tell you with absolute certainty:
THE FIRST TRIMESTER IS HELL. For all the reasons you describe. The debilitating exhaustion. The inability to focus on anything. The desire to do nothing but sleep. Low level nausea and exhaustion is horrible. 5 lbs weight gain is not something to worry about at this point. Some people gain during the first trimester and some don't. It's later that you'll be aiming for more like a pound a week.

Also, don't worry about your clothes. Get a couple pairs of pants that fit. There's an annoying in between stage where maternity clothes are stupid, but regular clothes don't fit either. Get some pants a size larger - you'll use them again after baby anyway. It's worth having clothes that don't make you miserable.

Finally, don't worry about the housework. YOU ARE GROWING THE HUMAN HERE. YOUR HUSBAND CAN DO THE EFFING DISHES. Listen to your body. Come home and lay on the couch til it's time to go to bed if you need to.

You are low functioning because early pregnancy makes you low functioning in a way that later pregnancy does not. Even at the end when you are a whale (sorry. fact of life.) you will have a functioning brain. Unlike now. You are not a wuss. This is biology being a bitch.

Now: If after reading this thread and getting reassurance from a million people that this is TOTALLY NORMAL. ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY NORMAL, you still feel really anxious? Talk to your doctor about the depression and the antidepressants and the anxiety. But this is one of the (many many) things about pregnancy that the entire world conveniently forgets to tell you ahead of time, and then you discover it and are horrified, and then everybody's all, oh yeah, it totally works that way. What, you didn't know that? There's a good chance all those people who "sailed through" were either past their first trimester, or lying to your face.

Last thing: This may or may not suit your sense of humor, but the AlphaMom pregnancy calendar was, for me, the most hilarious, realistic, and thus ultimately reassuring pregancy calendar. It may help adjust some of your expectations.
posted by telepanda at 7:44 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best pregnancy book EVAR: Pregnancy Sucks, by Joanne Kimes and Dr. Leslie Young. Because seriously, it SO sucks.

My first pregnancy was extra super miserable because my OB was of the old-school variety who allows no medications whatsoever at all ever ever ever during pregnancy. I had to come off my anti-depressant, my anti-anxietys, my allergy meds, painkillers, EVERYTHING. I lost 15 pounds in the first trimester from morning sickness that lasted 37 hours a day. (Because I swore the days were longer than EVAR because there was no way I was puking that much in just 24 hours.) I was miserable, in pain, and exhausted for the entire 9 months. Finally got to have labor induced at 38 weeks, and Baby God arrived into the world, with apgar scores of 9 and 9. Had a nervous breakdown over breastfeeding problems, and almost did a voluntary commitment to a psych hospital, but my shrink got me back on meds to avoid that.

Second one was not AS miserable, but it still all kinds of sucked. Different OB, who weighed risks to Baby Goddess vs benefits to Mommy Goddess, and only took me off of one anxiety drug. I still lost weight from 37 hour a day morning sickness. I was still in pain and miserable and exhausted. But since I was still on meds for anxiety and depression, I wasn't AS miserable as I'd been the first time around. I got stuck on bed rest for preterm labor, and Baby Goddess was born 8 weeks premie, but still had apgars of 8 and 9. No nervous breakdown. Some post partum depression, but it was handleable, because I'd never gone off meds.

Moral of the story: Pregnancy sucks, and it's ok to take some meds for depression and anxiety. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. It'll be ok. *HUGS*
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 7:54 AM on September 5, 2014

The first several weeks of pregnancy feel like getting hit by an especially slow truck. It's compounded by the fact that there doesn't really seem to be much going on, baby-development-wise - no kicking, bloating/weight gain with no cute bump, only a little blobby bean on the ultrasound if you've even gotten one yet - so you don't feel pregnant, just real shitty. It's good that your colleagues know, because many women choose not to reveal it until the first trimester is over, so they suffer quietly and can't even share the good news. (Consider that so many women seem to sail through pregnancy because they just don't talk about it during the crap trimester. The second trimester usually feels the best.) If any of your coworkers have been pregnant, or had a close friend or family member who was, believe me, they know it's a time of suck. Let them support you and don't be afraid to ask them for help, because they know.

Every pregnancy is different, but for many women, it does ease up somewhere around the end of the first trimester. For me, there was a day around the tenth week when I just felt alive again, and it got better from that point. It may come earlier or later for you, but chances are very good that relief will come.

Talk to your OB and/or whoever originally prescribed your antidepressants about going back on meds or switching to something safer. Often it's better to take the medication than to be depressed and unable to care for yourself. I took antidepressants throughout pregnancy and I have a healthy baby (knock on wood).

And if you're still feeling discouraged at your lack of energy and your high suckiness-to-pregnantness ratio, keep in mind that even though it seems like there's not a whole lot going on in there, this is actually the most important part of the pregnancy. All the major organs are being planned out and built; of course you feel like ass! There's more growth later size-wise, but that's all boring stuff like fat.

Finally, talk to friends who are pregnant or parents, or find an online community where you can share your hopes, gripes, and anxieties. It will help so much! Pregnancy is almost like a weird secret club that looks all rosy and magical from the outside, but once you become a member you get to hear about all the unpleasant, boring, weird, and gross details.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:28 AM on September 5, 2014

First tri can be really awful, especially weeks 6-12, which it sounds like you are smack dab in the middle of right now. I went through that part of my pregnancy exactly a year ago and I remember all too well many of the things you are experiencing. I had a decent pregnancy overall but it was FAR from rosy and smooth sailing.

Take all the naps you can and just generally try to be gentle with yourself. Your body is going through some crazy-ass changes for the end result of something truly amazing.
posted by medeine at 8:34 AM on September 5, 2014

I'm pregnant right now too! (for the second time, so I know how it goes)

You are normal! I promise! Please forget about the BMI thing right now and stop counting pounds. This is not the time to go on a diet. Just focus on eating great food and getting enough to nourish yourself and baby. You are supposed to gain weight during pregnancy and it is something a lot of women struggle with because of various societal expectations. You are not harming your baby, you are giving it nutrition! Your OB will let you know if there is any health concern about your weight, until then, please put it out of your mind. And get 2nd trimester maternity clothes right away, so you won't have to wear clothes that are uncomfortable and tight. There is no point in putting it off and you'll feel soooo much better with some elastic waists to wear. Trust me, I am short too, and this is just how it goes during pregnancy. By the end you're going to look like you are smuggling a giant watermelon under your shirt and it will look pretty freaky, but then you'll get your body back and it will feel great.

I am also worried about your depression. It is absolutely absolutely normal and typical to feel foggy and tired all the time and unable to keep up with usual tasks and to need your husband to step it up on the chores. I am usually the type of person that functions on 4 to 6 hours of sleep or less, that is way overcommitted and busy, and when I am pregnant I just try to get things done and fall asleep doing them (first tri or not, the whole time, I am much more tired than usual). It's just tiring.

The part that concerns me is feeling like a failure, feeling like you're letting everyone down. "Failing at everything", "such a screw up", etc - when you have literally done nothing wrong is concerning. This sounds like the depression talking. It is fooling you! You're angry at yourself for getting sick with strep throat? Like that is something you can help? Everyone gets strep throat, and you happen to have a compromised immune system right now because of pregnancy! You really need to give yourself a break - please seek professional help as soon as possible. Find some good pregnancy forums online. A lot of times people feel more free to share their problems anonymously and then you will know the truth - no one sails through pregnancy, it is hard for everyone, there are different things that are hard for everyone and that doesn't mean that some women are doing it wrong - surviving pregnancy without doing drugs and alcohol is pretty much all you can do and means that you are WINNING. and the hard things you deal with just change as the pregnancy progresses. People generally don't share all their aches, pains, and problems publicly so you won't know about this, but I promise it is true. Best of luck and hope things are looking up soon. MeMail me if you want to talk about pregnancy and gripe about anything!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:44 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sounds like you planned for all but the hormones. It might help to realize fatigue and weight gain are a very real part of it and take control of what you can (send cheerful hubby out for a comfy pair of pants while you nap and recover). BMI does not count for pregnant women, maybe don't weigh yourself as weight gain during pregnancy will normally be monitored by your doctor. The hormones won't necessarily get easier after baby is born, either. If you had depression in the past, a plan of action would be very good to have with your doctor. It can also help to know what an intrusive thought is ("I'm failing... Not pulling my weight"), so you can properly recognize them and dismiss accordingly. You will find lots of mama's willing to share their similar stories! No one "sails" through - pregnancy and parenthood are not that static.
posted by lawliet at 9:20 AM on September 5, 2014

Just another vote supporting what everyone above has been saying... I've had an 'easy' pregnancy and the first trimester sucked. Hard. Very similar to what you describe, and I found feeling tired/foggy/nauseous all the time very demoralising and frustrating. Do talk to your doc - both about depression meds and other stuff as sometimes there's something they can recommend or prescribe.

Hang in there! (Rich advice from someone who's 39+6 and a few days ago was crying about being 'pregnant forever'... Everyone promises it will end, so...)
posted by jrobin276 at 12:13 PM on September 5, 2014

You have lots of good answers already so I just want to mention something about the weight: I live in a country where regular pregnancies (without complications) are monitored by midwives and many of them never weigh the mother. The reasoning is it only serves to increase anxiety and weight gain alone is not an indicator of baby health. My experience is the same as mentioned above: your body gains what it gains. My friend and I were pregnant at the same time. One of us gained a lot (which turned out to be mostly fluid), the other almost nothing. Both our babies were fine. I really wouldn't worry about it at all.
posted by blub at 12:23 PM on September 5, 2014

Have you spoken with your doctor about going off your medications? I was taking Zoloft and Abilify, and my psychiatrist suggested tapering off the Abilify - which I have done, hoping to get pregnant soon - but suggested staying on the Zoloft. I spoke with a couple other doctors (including an ob/gyn), and they uniformly agreed that given my particular history, it makes sense for me to stay on Zoloft (and I'm on the max dose, for what it's worth).

Of course, going off & staying off the medication may be the right decision for you, but if you haven't discussed it with your doctors, I highly recommend doing so and getting their advice.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:16 PM on September 5, 2014

Oh, hon, it's going to be okay. First off, as others have said, get thee to your doc ASAP to discuss your medication. Most doctors won't see you for a while into pregnancy but this is worth asking for an early appointment for.

But yeah. First trimester is shitty, shitty, shitty. Around 7 weeks I was also feeling fat and bloated. (Didn't have a scale so don't know what that translated to in weight gain) But then right around that time I stopped being able to stomach solid food for a good 8 weeks, so I ended up losing almost 15 lbs. I'm now 32 weeks and have gained back all that weight, so while I think I'm doing quite well being back to "normal" only, my doctor looked at my pre-pregnancy BMI and has panicked about my gain. Meanwhile, my best friend is 27 weeks, started out super skinny and in great shape, has gained 30 lbs despite tons of exercise and eating extremely well, and her doc is freaking out too. In our (non-medical) opinions, given that neither of us sitting on the couch all day eating chocolate "for two", our bodies are just doing exactly what they need to do to make these babies. Plus, we've both gotten such bad heartburn recently that we're eating a lot less and our weight gains have slowed considerably -- so our bodies seem to be self-regulating pretty well. Both of us are fine on blood glucose, so we're not headed down the gestational diabetes path, which was both our doctors' biggest concern.

But no matter how much we tell ourselves that we're doing okay it does absolutely suck to be told by a medical professional that we're doing it wrong. They have our best interests at heart given the latest research, but as always, applying rules with a broad brush isn't really the best thing to do and all pregnancies are really, really different. (Go to a prenatal yoga class in a month or two and look at all the women who say they're around your same number of weeks -- no two will look the same) I understand completely how hard it is to reconcile the "rules" of pregnancy with what your body feels capable of managing, but the best you can do is do what feels okay for your body at any given time and use the weight gain info as a guideline, not a rule. If things are truly out of hand, your doctor can recommend things to do. But let yourself get through the first trimester and see where things stand. You'll feel better in the second (not awesome, but better) and it will be mentally, emotionally, and physically easier to make changes if you have to.

You will be okay. You will get through this. It is a damn hard thing to do. Give yourself a break, let your husband help you as much as he can, and talk to your doctor about meds. You will get through this.
posted by olinerd at 9:24 PM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hear ya. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to take three classes while working full-time during my first trimester. All I could do was sleep. Eventually, I just said okay, I'm not going to get much done these 3 months and I just accepted it. And then it got better at week 13. Much much better. Hang in.
posted by bananafish at 11:30 PM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think your pregnancy has as much to do with it as the fact that you stopped your antidepressants cold turkey; there's a reason you were taking antidepressants and that reason hasn't gone away just because you're pregnant. Talk to your doctor about what to do.

A doctor told me once many years ago that a woman's hormones do a complete 180 in the first couple months of her pregnancy, then coast along until the last month or so when they shuffle around again getting ready for delivery. Then, after the baby is born (Yay!) Mom's hormones go speeding right back to her pre-pregnancy levels in only a few weeks, which is one reason for postpartum blues, etc. The post-delivery hormone changes are much milder if Mom nurses the baby - that makes the return to pre-pregnancy levels much slower and gentler.

But - you and every other woman who's ever been pregnant will go through the ups and downs of hormone changes and all sorts of other changes in your body and chemistry because that's what has to happen to make a nice healthy baby, so the best way to deal with it is just to relax and figure it's all in the game. And, absolutely, you will get through the whole thing just fine, believe it or not. Your biggest problem is the sudden cut-off of your antidepressants, which might be the right thing to do, but you need to discuss it with your doctor very, very soon.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I remember some nurse telling me 45 years ago when I was pregnant that I could be having the same misery from a ruptured appendix or something similar and when the whole thing was over, I'd simply be missing my stupid appendix. At least with the pregnancy, you get to go home with that sweet child.

Keep your chin up.
posted by aryma at 3:38 AM on September 6, 2014

Thank you everyone for your kind words and encouragement. I did go to the doc. He's old school so nixed the idea of going on meds, but I'm OK with this. I have committed myself to walking daily. I'm not going to fuss about my weight-I try to eat healthy and take it easy (I have an almost insatiable craving for grapes and orange juice right now). I'm giving myself permission to nap with impunity (I don't really have a choice, but at least I'm not guilty about it). Hubs is still helping me out! My anxiety is a lot better. I have come to terms with the fact that this is normal and temporary!!!! Thanks and hugs to everyone!
posted by neanderloid at 11:20 PM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

That's great!
With my second pregnancy I ate instant ramen twice a day for a whole month, and garlic stuffed olives for breakfast. Eat whatever your body tells you to, you can't possibly eat worse than me. Good luck and yay to you and your future baby!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:15 AM on September 15, 2014

So glad to hear that things are going more smoothly for you.

It's important to be comfortable with your doctor, but please remember that YOU are in charge of what you feel is best. So if you feel like meds would help you, and you feel resistance from your "old school" doctor (or a nurse, or any other clinician), don't be afraid to push back or even get a new clinician. You can change doctors up to and including when you're in labor, if you feel like it's warranted. I had a nurse who was incapable of communicating in a human way, so I made sure I checked in with other nurses if I had to deal with her.

Good luck!
posted by Madamina at 9:56 PM on September 15, 2014

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