Sometimes when things get harder, they actually get easier.
The third trimester of pregnancy was the hardest for me. I got besieged by an unspeakable anxiety and inability to sleep. I thought I had August and September to work productively. My plans were all lined up, my tasks ready to go.
Instead, sleep worsened, energy slipped away, and I couldn’t focus. Many days I ambled about like a zombie. Some nights I slept for 2 hours, other nights nights for 4.
“Tell me, what do you have to be anxious about?”, my therapist asked.
”Not much, I think,” I’d reply at first.
“But I am worried about birth. It scares me. Also, being a mom of two. Taking care of my toddler. Getting enough help at home. Being an entrepreneur, and not making money while I take time off. Wanting to put more time into my business right now…” It would keep going.
“Well, it sounds like you have a lot you could be anxious about.” No kidding, I realized.
And before you comment with a bazillion things to recommend for how to fix anxiety, I am pretty confident that I tried everything. (Ev-er-y-thing.) I’ll write a blog post about it at some point.
The headaches got worse, the sleep stayed awful. So I decided, heck with it, while we’re trying all the things, let’s quit caffeine. Might as well try anything and everything. Because really, I couldn’t possibly have worse headaches or worse sleep.
So I stopped drinking coffee or tea. It didn’t help with the sleep at all, but an interesting thing resulted. Because I was already down in the dumps, worried and anxious—and sleep deprived—it didn’t matter. Caffeine withdrawal? Didn’t bother me.
Sometimes when shit is really hard, you realize the other stuff isn’t so hard.
I’ve been off caffeine for a few months now, and I’m kind of glad for it. I’m postpartum, still sleep deprived, but grabbing a chai roobois instead of a black tea chai. It’s sweeter.
And the anxiety? Cut by at least half now that my baby boy is in the world. My first birth experience was more traumatic. This second one was so much more empowering. So, it makes sense that I was scared. The second one was far more liberating in many ways, albeit difficult.
I appreciate your honesty here, sarah. In my experience, too, it’s taken exhausting all possible strategies I thought would take away the uncomfortable and unwanted to finally allow myself to open to it and lean into it and, then, move through it.
I love hearing this (even though I don’t wish the difficulties on anyone). Sometimes it takes everything, and then more, and then just experiencing your way through it, as it is.
[…] old now and, slowly, I’m forgetting that I had sciatica, regularly woke up at 3AM to write out my anxiety about motherhood, and felt a deep deep fear every time someone told me I didn’t look pregnant that, “OHMIGOD […]