More on the Blues

The pregnancy blues hit both of us at various times in different ways.

I sometimes feel a little selfish, annoyed at having to do a lot of the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, chores that have always been split between the two of us. Ultimately I get over it – no big deal. Not only do I like keeping house, but for the past couple of weeks my wife’s back to being an almost equal partner in this.

For S, the ever-changing physical symptoms of the pregnancy – last week the gas pains, then over the weekend a persistent headache – have to be a lot harder to handle than any perceived injustice in the housework. I can only relate by thinking of her as sick, which I know isn’t an apt comparison, but it’s the limit of my experience. I hate being sick. Even the slightest cold sinks me into a depression. I imagine that I’m going to die, or worse, be chronically ill like some Victorian character, forever wasting away in the bedroom, pale, shriveled, and coughing up blood. I would be an awful, mopey pregnant person. S is great at coping or at least hiding her discomfort behind a relatively upbeat exterior, but occasionally the pregnancy blues get the best even of her.

Yesterday morning, while walking her to work, I kept slipping crass jokes into our conversation. This isn’t out of the ordinary for me, though I might have been joking more than usual – I had a piece being critiqued last night in workshop and felt nervous. She got mad at me for joking too much about sex, thinking I was teasing her for having a low libido. We argued. She stormed off teary; I walked home fuming. It frustrated me that she got so upset over a few immature comments. Cleaning the kitchen calmed me down. I kicked myself for not noticing S’s mood over breakfast, when she snapped at me for criticized her banana smoothie as being too thick. Then on our walk she told me she felt headachy, and tired, and had a long day ahead of her – no wonder she was less than chipper. I should have toned myself down, though of course she could have told me to take it down a notch before starting an argument. Then she called and apologized for just that.

Into the foreseeable future I’m going to try to remember to tread more lightly, though I know that sometimes the pregnancy blues will flare up no matter what. How could they not? With so many changes to her body, and anxieties about the future, and hormones floating around, she’s going to be feeling taxed. And being a daddy-to-be brings along nerves and anxieties too. Am I providing the right amount of care? What more can I do? Why isn’t she paying more attention to me? We both need to go light, and be nicer to one another, and ourselves, and remember that this is all just temporary. Already our relationship is changing, as we go from being a couple to parents.

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