Tuesday 19 March 2013

31 weeks - anxious, tense, stressed. Is this normal?

So... 31 weeks.  I suppose you could say I'm on the home run now.. At most it'll be 11 weeks until baby is here.  Could be sooner I suppose!

I want to write a little about how I'm feeling today.  When I first started this blog back in 2009 it was a mishmash of all sorts of things, day to day life, dealing with PND, the struggles and ups and downs of parenthood, fashion and style for Mum's and children.  These days I realise my blog is more focussed on fashion and style, both women's and children's and generally that's just fine, it's good to have a niche.  However, this is my blog and there will be times when actually, I don't want to write about what I'm wearing or what Ethan has been wearing.  Today is one of those days I'm afraid, so please, do bear with me!

There is a reason this blog is called Medicated Follower of Fashion.  If you don't know the history, shortly after Ethan was born I suffered from a great deal of anxiety and depression.  I wasn't coping and was diagnosed with PND.  I took medication for this on and off and only came off my anxiety medication when I became pregnant with baby 2.  So yes, Medicated Follower of Fashion - the medicated comes from anxiety medication and obviously it's a play on Dedicated Follower of Fashion, the song by The Kinks.

I've ummed and ahhhhed about posting this here, but it's the truth, this is how I'm feeling.  Brace yourself, this might be a bit of a brain dump.

I feel I'm struggling quite a bit. I'm getting myself all overwhelmed probably because I'm becoming more introverted. I don't know what to put it down to but in the last week I've felt more and more anxious. Generally, since coming off medication I've felt that I've been coping quite well. Yes, the odd anxious moment but nothing too out of control. Over the last week this has changed. Only two weeks ago I had a consultant appointment at the hospital to see how I was coping anxiety/depression wise and I was genuinely feeling good so that's what I said. I've definitely noticed a change though. I really don't know how to explain it.

It could just be the pregnancy hormones I suppose. I feel tense, irritable, stressed and anxious almost all the time now. The only time it truly abates is when I am entirely on my own doing something pleasant like reading a book. Or maybe if I'm with a group of friends (which isn't that often at the moment). Basically, any time when I feel absolved of responsibility to anyone or anything. As soon as Ethan is with me or Pete comes home from work I feel on edge. I don't want to be touched at all at the moment so when poor Pete comes home from work I feel on edge because I know I'll be touched and I don't want to be. He knows how I don't like being touched at the moment so bless him, he tries not to, but he's a good husband and he just wants to touch my bump, or give me a hug and a kiss. I know I'm pushing him away, and feeling bad about that makes me feel worse again.

As soon as I'm with Ethan I feel stressed and anxious. Everything just gets me all tense, like helping him get dressed, getting him ready for school, walking him to school, feeding him, the constant battles because he won't come when I call him, is really slow going to and from school, the fact he's stopped eating so many things, it all just seems like one battle after another. I know that's all completely normal but I'm finding it hard to cope with.

Then there's the fact that I'm 31+2 now and in only a matter of weeks there will be a newborn with us. I keep telling myself I can cope. It'll be OK. It won't be like last time. But still, just the thought of trying to get Ethan to preschool on time gets me stressed. We barely manage it at the moment!! How the hell am I going to do it with a newborn in tow?

I know my OCD type issues are getting worse. I constantly see things that are "imperfect" with the house, a speck on the floor, a messy sink, a fingerprint on a door handle and these are starting to weigh me down.  Maybe that's nesting in overdrive? I'm not sure!! It's hard not to get over analytical about these things!

I'm really not sure what to do. Is this all just because I'm pregnant? This hasn't been the easiest pregnancy, I've had so many symptoms and I know that physically not feeling my best is having a huge impact on my mood, so that could be a big part of it. I'm not getting much socialisation in these days. I think that's partly pregnancy and partly because Ethan is at preschool now. Last year we went to playgroups and other activities. I used to see my antenatal group friends several times each week, either there or for coffee or meeting up at each others houses and although we always had the children with us, we did get to chat a bit. These days I might see them for a few minutes in passing as we drop the children at preschool. We still meet when we can, mostly still on a Wednesday as before, but we don't have the car on a Wednesday, which used to be fine when I could walk no problem, but now I'm restricted with how much physical activity I can do in a day, so quite often we miss out on the Wednesday gathering. So, at the moment, it's not uncommon for me to go a whole week without really properly seeing anyone or chatting to anyone other than Pete and Ethan. I know that won't be helping things.

By far the most worrying thing, I think, is that people keep asking me if I'm excited now that baby is so close. Honestly? No. I'm fucking scared and worried I've made the worst decision of my life. That about sums up how I feel about his impending birth!  I feel terrible about that.  I know I will love this baby.  I love Ethan with my whole heart, I've never loved anything or anyone as much as I love that little boy and I know despite all my concerns I will love this new baby.  I know what a hard journey that was the first time though. The thought of facing it all again is scaring me.

I wanted to write a positive pregnancy post this week, I want to write about planning my home birth.. but this is how I am feeling at the moment, so I'm afraid this is what I need to write about.

Thanks for bearing with me, readers! x


  1. Oh Alex. So many thoughts. Firstly I think you're amazing for writing all of your feelings. I hope it helps a little to share. I know it gets better - everything - pregnancy, hormones, kiddos - everything at some point will get better. I don't have completely rose tinted glasses, as I've experienced similar things myself. I guess I just wanted you to know that I'm listening, and supporting in any way I can. And I'd love to meet up for a chat if you have the time?

  2. It is good to have a brain dump now again. I suspect it may be the hormones making you feel worse, I know that I am getting similar frustrations, especially with W, which isn't normally the case. Stay strong honey and you will manage when number two arrives, you are already a great mum, but feel free to vent in my direction whenever you fancy, Thinking of you xxx

  3. Do this now: breathe in deeply, fill your lungs (as much as you can with bump), and realise it slowly, let your shoulders sink, are they sinking? Are they?

    It's ok. All of what you've said, it's ok, you are 100% allowed to feel all of this. But you shouldn't allow yourself to feel guilty about feeling this way...so stop that now.
    The arrival of a second child is incredibly scary especially when the first was a bit rocky. But, perhaps the reason you feel a bit like this is because you do REALLY know what's coming. And it's not all bluebirds and butterflies like we think that first baby will be (well i did anyway). Don't worry at being late for preschool, or appointments or how you might cope getting out of the house. The 2nd one, I promise, just fits in. After those first few weeks, you won't remember life without them. Like life without the first is a distant memory.

    People say "how do you cope with 2?" - I really think "I'm still coping with the first, the 2nd was easy, thanks for reminding me I have two...now where did emily go?" You will be just fine.

    And yes, I should imagine if you go can go almost a week without company of anyone other than Ethan and Pete, no wonder you feel blue about it. I feel exactly the same when I'm stuck with my little family all the time. I go to work for the social if anything else. Maybe you can arrange some time out with friend(s), give yourself something to look forward too as well.

    And the feeling stressed out with Ethan, how old is he now? Olivia is 3.5yrs and my friends daughter is the same age, both of us reassure each-other that we find this age far more challenging than any newborn or small toddler (boddler). Like I said, I'm still coping with the 1st, the 2nd was easy.

    Allow yourself to feel like this but also be kind to yourself. Know that you are doing a fantastic job.

    p.s. my comments are only speaking from experience, i don't want to sound all high and mighty about it (so i hope i don't)

    Also, I read this on facebook earlier. I feel it's a little appropriate (sorry for writing a post size comment on your blog). xx

    "A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

    Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

    She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

    It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!"

  4. I had many brain dumps when pregnant last year, it was the only way I could properly vent my angry/frustrations/anxiety! Maybe mention to your midwife at your next appointment if it continues? Although to be honest I was very much like this in my pregnancy as I don't drive so had to miss out on a lot of meets with our old antenatal groups etc, it is hard isn't it, any chance your friends can meet somewhere nearer you on the Weds? I found looking after Alex when pregnant a massive strain and always felt really stressed, I'd be counting down the hours until his bedtime every day which sounds awful now! Take care x


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