We’re Having a Boy! (Plus Depression During Pregnancy)

we're-having-a-boy

It’s a boy!!! We are beyond excited to learn that our little kalamata olive, who’s now the length of a banana, is a little Eric Jr.  In fact that announcement from our midwife was just what I needed to pull me out of weeks of hidden depression.

Thursday started out as an absolutely horrible day. I was majorly depressed, accidentally hurt myself at work, feeling completely overwhelmed by some situations out of my control, and still sick from the cold I got in Atlanta.  I started crying the moment I got into my car to leave work, all the way home, and then all the way to the midwife appointment with Eric.

When we got there and she asked how I was doing, I started crying again.  Especially when she asked if I felt the baby moving yet.  I shared with her that not only had I not felt the baby move yet, but I also hadn’t felt any emotions about the baby or being a parent.  I told her how I’ve only been excited intellectually ever since finding out we were pregnant; I knew we were going to have a baby, I knew we were going to be parents, and I wanted those things, but I didn’t feel an emotional connection.

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It’s been especially hard because so many other women I know and love are pregnant with me, and crying tears of joy for their pregnancy, which left me feeling like a horrible mother for not being able to do the same.  It also left me feeling very alone and afraid to talk about my pregnancy with anyone, especially other pregnant women.

Our midwife was so understanding and asked me the evaluating questions that Eric and I had already been asking, basically if the depression has kept me from being able to get out of bed or function normally, to which the answer was no.  We told her that we’d decided to give it to the end of September to let me get over this awful cold and let all the changes at work get settled.  I should also be feeling the baby move by then so we were hoping that by October first the depression would have lifted. If not we’d try counseling before medication.

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She told us that sounded like a wise plan and said illness during pregnancy is enough to make anyone depressed, especially in addition to stress at work and a messy house because we’ve both been too sick to do any cleaning.  Plus don’t forget the hormones on overload! She also told me that she suspected feeling the baby move will make a big difference in my emotional connection.  Then she asked if I wanted to take a look at the baby.

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Our big ultrasound at a clinic isn’t scheduled until September 18, but she has a smaller machine and said we could take a look.  As soon as she saw the baby, she knew the gender and asked if we wanted to know.  We eagerly said yes and she showed us an angle from the bottom up where we could see the hip bones and what she called “the little flag” sticking up between them.  “It’s definitely a boy.”  She announced.

I started crying again, only this time tears of joy.  While we would have been happy and equally in love with a girl, we really wanted a boy and were so thrilled to learn that’s what we were having.  As we watched our baby (who actually looked like a baby with hands and feet and not a tiny white blob) jump and kick and swim, I finally felt the emotions rushing in.

It finally felt real.  HE finally felt real.

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The rest of the day I was on cloud nine as I called parents and siblings to tell them the good news.  That night I lay in bed concentrating on my belly and could actually feel the baby moving. I began planning our photo shoot for the next day, and realized that now Thursday felt like the best day ever!

So Friday (after doing some much needed housework) we went to a consignment shop to buy our first pair of little boy shoes, then a party store to get some balloons.

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At a nearby park we set up the camera on a tripod and I used the timer function to take the photos.  We got some great ones, and even had a nice stranger who was there with an infrared camera offer to take some pictures! That’s one hot baby in my belly :)

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After that we  had a celebratory dinner of sushi with a gift card Eric had won right before he caught my cold. Once we had our fill of sushi (which baby loved so much he started doing a sushi dance), we went to Costco because we’d been too sick to buy toilet paper the past couple days. Paper towels just aren’t the same.

As soon as we stepped outside, the moon was so full and so beautiful that it nearly slapped us in the face with its brilliance.  Eric reminded me that we had the photo equipment in the trunk and I set up my tripod again to capture my first moon photo. Turns out it was a blue moon, so appropriate for the day we announced to all our friends and relatives that we were having a boy!

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I give you this recap, not to bore you with every detail of our past two days, but because I suspect I’m not the only mom to be out there who has struggled with or will struggle with depression during pregnancy, or not feeling an emotional bond as soon as expected.  While I’m sure that with all the hormones coursing through me I’ll still have my days of unexplained tears, I absolutely feel that knowing the gender, seeing the baby on the ultrasound and feeling the baby move has somehow flipped a switch for my emotions.  I think it was really hard to have to be halfway through the pregnancy before that happened, but I’m so thankful that it has.

I’ve also heard some moms don’t feel that emotional connection until they’ve given birth and are holding their child in their arms.  Guess what, that’s normal too!  Everyone’s normal is different, and this has been a good reminder to me that comparing yourself or your feelings to others is not the way to go.  So to some mom, someday, you’re not alone.

Now, let’s celebrate, we’re having a BOY!!!!!

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12 Responses to “We’re Having a Boy! (Plus Depression During Pregnancy)”

  1. Rachael Marion
    September 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Well Diana, this was such a joy to read. I’m not pregnant nor plan on having any more. God has blessed me with two wonderful kiddos. But to share in your joys and struggles of your pregnancy, takes a strong woman. Just remember, EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT! Thanks for sharing. The pictures were soooooo adorable. I had to share the picture of the shoes with my mother-in-law. May God continue to bless you, Eric, and Eric Jr.. ???    :-)  God bless, Rachael

    • Diana
      September 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Thanks Rachael! We’re keeping baby’s name a secret until he’s born, but Eric Jr. works for now :)

  2. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction
    September 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    First, congrats to you and Eric… It’s so exciting to find out that you’re having a boy!

    I can also say that I absolutely can relate to the feeling of not connecting with the pregnancy and feeling kind of depressed… I was sick for the first 4 1/2 months (really sick) and was just kind of miserable. In fact, we weren’t going to find out the gender of the baby, and I knew that I had to find out to get some motivation to start getting excited and preparing for the baby. And, when we found out we were having a girl, I finally started to feel good about everything. I am still quite emotional about it all, but it has certainly been getting easier as I have been feeling the baby moving around a lot. I hope and pray that things will start to go more smoothly for you, as well. And, I am sure that once you start feeling the baby kick that you will start to feel more of a connection.

    • Diana
      September 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Jen! I didn’t know you were pregnant too! When are you due? Thanks for letting me know about your experience. I just started feeling the baby move a little, which has been really exciting. Congrats on your girl!

  3. Damaris @Kitchen Corners
    September 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Congratulations! I’m biased towards baby boys, maybe because my first was a baby boy and I think they’re just wonderful.

    Motherhood is hard. Pregnancy is a good way to start preparing for many future challenges, including emotional connection with your child. I didn’t feel an emotional connection to my son until about 2 month after he was born. I felt horrible and mean, but I was actually really attentive and nice and so I focused on that. I focused on taking care of him, and then I would run to the bathroom and cry. Why didn’t I love my child? Why wasn’t I just filled with that feeling of love? For one thing I was exhausted. Love is learned. And the wonderful thing about being a parent is that you have to serve your children and when you do service for someone you start loving them.

    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

    • Diana
      September 2, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      I know what you mean about feeling horrible and mean even though you’re being quite wonderful. It’s so incredible how our emotions can get twisted up. Eric really helped me in focusing on what I KNEW to be true rather than what I FELT to be true. I think that saved me from a much deeper depression. Thanks for sharing your experience Damaris. I can tell from conversations we’ve had what a wonderful mother you are, so it helps to hear someone whose parenting I respect has had similar struggles.

  4. Kim Johnson
    September 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I don’t remember feeling particularly depressed during my first pregnancy, just very sick, and we were poor and ate a lot of ramen, but I remember vividly, a few days after Erica was born, it was dark,although I can’t remember if it was early in the morning or late at night, and it was raining. As it rained, my breast milk “let down” and began to rain milk. And then my tear ducts burst and the tears streamed down my face. There was no thought process that made me sad, really, except maybe a sense that I was not up to this responsibility and I missed having the baby safely inside me. But this just to say, that crying in itself is not depression, it is just a release of emotion, and maybe a kind of fear, so don’t worry too much about depression not seeming to validate what you expect should cause happiness. Bringing a child into the world is an awesome and sometimes overwhelming experience, and it’s going to cause an emotional rollercoaster. My thoughts go out to all you pregnant “cousins”; I am sure you are not alone, because apprehension is a very motherly emotion. I’m almost 55, and I still feel it daily!!

    • Diana
      September 2, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      Oh yes, I was incredibly sick the whole first trimester, definitely didn’t help. I completely agree that crying is a release of emotion, and an important one. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers Kim! Are we up to five Johnson cousins expecting now?

  5. heather
    September 2, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Diana thanks for being so open and vulnerable to share something so hard to share with people. Often feelings of depression are so hard to admit and share with people for so many reasons. I’m SO GLAD to know that you are finally feeling like a MOM! and so excited about it :-) You 2 are going to completely love on this child now and for the rest of HIS life. I hope you don’t have any of those feelings/emotions again. Love you sistah’ How has Eric felt about this whole life changing process?

    • Diana
      September 2, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks Heather. Even if some of those emotions come back, I know the joy I’ve been feeling the past few days will really give me confidence that the bad feelings are temporary. Eric has been thrilled to death from the beginning! Now he’s talking to our son, planning out father son hikes and trying to figure out how he can play video games with him while still teaching him to be an active kid. It’s really fun how knowing we’re having a boy has changed our conversations. I’m excited to teach him to cook and farm and the right way to throw a spiral football!

  6. Lauri Battista
    September 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    Diana, thank you for sharing your experience of your first months of pregnancy. Brings me back to when I too was pregnant with nausea. In case you haven’t considered it, Acupunture was a “life-saver” for me. On a scale of 1 to 10, my normal energy level being an 8, I dropped down to an energy level of “3″ and could barely function (and was working full-time at the time!) The acupuncture lifted my energy level to between a 5 and 6; I was not high energy, but was able to function and it lifted the nausea. Hope this helps.

    If you are having depression now, consider too making contact with a therapist who has experience with pre- and post-partum depression. Pre-and Post-partum depression are very real. Our hormones and who we are affect our mood and it is so important that you have that support system in place now and for after you have your baby. Your body flushes with hormones to sustain the pregnancy for the nine months you carry your baby and then it takes time for your body to flush those hormones from your body once you have your baby e.g. the “crying for no reason” or “sadness that you just can’t shake.” Been there, got help (e.g professional counseling), worked through it, things got better.

    Having a baby is such a life-changing event. Be gentle with yourself and know if there is anything that sets you off, a smell, an image, nausea, depression, whatever it might be, it is totally normal – your own personal experience of pregnancy. No pregnancy is alike and I found that pregnancies actually have a “personality.”

    Congratulations and best wishes as you enter the wonderful, mysterious, terrifying, yet exhilerating world of becoming a Mother. God bless you, Eric, and your new baby son.
    Best,
    Lauri Battista

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