Pregnancy Diary, 01
I thought I’d start a little diary to chronicle my thoughts about what will *probably* be my last pregnancy. To say my emotions have been all over the place recently is an understatement. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde are in a boxing match inside my brain and both refuse to admit defeat. Some days I’m positive, productive, and feel like I’m kicking ass. Others (like yesterday), I’m exhausted, nauseated and I amble around aimlessly blaming my husband for getting me into this mess.
In general, I find pregnancy to be very destabilizing. I feel like I’m in some sort of holding pattern, waiting, with no idea what the future looks like. Will my baby be healthy? Will I struggle with postpartum? How will I manage breastfeeding? How will my other children adjust? Will I lose myself? So many questions that I am unable to answer. I desperately want to be the earth mother who embraces the magic of the unknown, but it’s just not me. I like certainty. I like feeling in control of my body. I like knowing what will happen next week, next month, and even next year. Since it’s my third go around, everything is a little more familiar, and I have the added benefit of knowing the joy that follows on the other side. It just seems so. damn. far. away.
This also brings my old friend guilt to the party. ‘SHUT UP AND BE GRATEFUL, CLAIRE! So many people aren’t able to have children!! You don’t even have Hyperemesis! You don’t have to show up to an office and work a 70-hour week! What have you got to complain about?!’ (This voice, if you couldn’t tell, likes to yell.) And honestly, it’s got valid points. Aside from my first heartbreaking loss, I am extremely lucky as far as fertility goes. Sure, I had a rough first trimester, but I’m not throwing up daily for nine months straight. Yes, I work, but I can adjust my hours and workload depending on how I’m feeling. It makes the dark feelings much harder to process. I find it difficult to have grace for myself.
I know that I’m growing a bunch of organs right now, but for some reason I feel ‘less than.' My body can’t do all the things it normally does, and I’ve realized that my physicality is a big part of my identity. Instead of sitting back, relaxing, and letting Andy rub my feet, I get annoyed. ‘This time last year I was running 13 miles,’ I think to myself as I shove another cookie down my throat. Whyyyyy. It’s so unhelpful and yet I still get stuck in the mindtrap. I’m sure some of it has to do with hormones, as I’m usually pretty good at pulling myself out of a funk, but lately it seems to require so much more effort.
And don’t even get me started on the weight gain. A vitally important part of the development of a healthy child. Crucial. I know this, yet it still feels hard. I struggled with disordered eating in my late teens and early 20’s (I once had a director tell me that if I lost 5 lbs from each leg, I’d book more jobs), so it’s a fairly sensitive topic for me. I’ve done so much work on myself and feel that in general, I have an incredibly healthy mindset when it comes to body image. However, the negative thoughts still arise at times when I see my body expanding in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable. I’ve gained around 12 lbs so far (at 18 weeks), but 8 of them have been in the last month. If I keep this pace up I’m staring down the barrel of a lot more lbs than the recommended amount, which isn’t ideal. I’d probably struggle if my doctor told me to slow my roll. I try to stay positive and grateful that I’m able to carry a child, but it’s another part of pregnancy that feels like it requires a huge amount of mental effort.
Something that I’ve found to be helpful is training myself to think like my kids. Whenever they have to step on the scale for the doctor, they’re thrilled with whatever number they see. ‘I’m growing, Mama!!’ they screech with delight. How cool is that? They have no concept of being ‘fat’ or ‘thin.’ Too big or too small. They just know the importance of eating so that their brains, and little bodies can grow. I’m trying to live like that. ‘I’m growing,’ I tell myself as the number creeps higher. ‘My baby’s brain and little body is getting bigger and stronger,’ I repeat over and over.
I sound kind of doom and gloom, which is not at all how I want to be, but I think it’s important to share the honest side of this journey. Motherhood is by far the most spectacular thing that I’ve ever experienced, but that doesn’t mean that parts of it aren’t hard. I know that it will all be worth it. I know that when this little guy flies out I’ll sob with relief, gratitude, and jubilation. I know how lucky I am. I also know that if I stuff my feelings down in my guts and refuse to acknowledge them, they’ll erupt in some other way that is likely to be far more damaging. So here I am, spewing them out on the page to you guys. Thank you for all your comments of support and encouragement. You truly make me feel less alone.
Leave a comment
EEllery Foy | 11.02.2023 | 05:39PM
Really needed this. Thank you so much for sharing. 31 weeks now with my second and my hormones are all over the place. I’m so happy to have another baby and I prayed for it and then within minutes I’m so incredibly sad. Then I can’t explain something. I’m at work and feel like a failure because I can’t remember anything and I feel like I can’t do it all. Trying to be a good mom, not put too much on my husband who is incredible who cooks/cleans always. Who puts himself last so that I can workout and have time to myself. Whew this is hard.
TTiffany Mchowell | 09.28.2023 | 04:10PM
Gahhhh I needed this! At 30 weeks now and feel like I’ve been pregnant for 2 years & missing all of my running, having energy and just putting on my normal clothes. Thanks for the honesty, love your words ❤️
LLaura | 08.10.2023 | 06:51PM
Claire, thank you so much for sharing with raw honesty how you’re feeling and validating to an extent the way I think a lot of us feel. I’m early days into my first pregnancy and the emotional rollercoaster of feeling grateful and joyful while also being terrified and a bit of a grump is very very real. As someone who’s also struggled with disordered eating the weight gain puts me into a panic – your ’I’m growing’ story has really helped me put things into perspective and I’ll definitely be using it as my mantra for the foreseeable future!! Thankful for you!
RRachel | 08.10.2023 | 06:51PM
Sending so much love and light. As a fairly new mama, I find solidarity in your words. Along with all of the love and joy of a pregnancy and promise of new life to share, so many hard and sometimes dark feelings came as well. These thoughts have slowed me from jumping straight into another pregnancy.
I hope you are able to find or create sunshine and light in your little corner for the duration of pregnancy and postpartum. X
JJessie Butler | 08.10.2023 | 06:51PM
Beautifully written. Thank you for saying all of this. Reading posts like this, about the experiences of being a mother, a wife, a woman with a career trying to balance it all, help so many of us feel seen and heard and not so alone. You are an incredibly talented actor, funny as hell, a great writer and and you love those babies fiercely. They are so lucky to have you. 🔥❤️
LLucia | 08.10.2023 | 06:51PM
It’s such a relief reading other people are going through the same thing as me. I’m 14 weeks into my first pregnancy and it has been SO HARD accepting the way my body has changed. And on top of that the feeling of guilt! Can’t wait to read more of your pregnancy diaries x
KKsenia | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
Pregnancy is so wild. So many ups and downs. Everyone has such a different story and it is so hard to find validation. Thank you for sharing your story and for being so authentic. I wish you the most beautiful 3rd pregnancy and I hope that everything goes just the way you hope. Just don’t forget to be kind to yourself :)
VVicki | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
You absolutely deserve to give yourself grace…we all do! Yes, you’re a celebrity who might have a few advantages… but you’re also human! You’ve worked very hard to be where you are in life and all the feelings you have are 100%valid. Thank you for being frank, open, and honest regarding your struggles. With your platform you definitely help other women feel like they’re not alone.
I struggled with getting pregnant for 4 years before I was successful and had my twin daughters. The guilt after infertility is real too. My daughters are 6 now, but I feel guilty when I yell at them for not listening because ‘I should be so grateful I was able to get pregnant’…. and while I am grateful… some moments in life are just hard and trying. It’s ok to feel unsure, frustrated, tired, angry, happy…. just means you’re human! You got this mama…we all do!
LLeigh | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
Hey lady. Know that all these feelings are normal. Give yourself permission to feel them. Kudos to you for your bravery to share them. Much love. ❤️
EErin | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
Thank you for this! I am due with baby #2 in October. All of your feelings are completely valid and you are not alone. Looking forward to more entries.
JJessica Barker | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
Thank you for this entry. First time mommy-to-be here and I can relate with you on all levels. It is very comforting to know our feelings/emotions are validated and we are not alone. You got this, Mama!
KKim Sheffield | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
I relate to this so much. I have six beautiful boys and I’m a yoga teacher. I was so hard on myself to get straight back into shape. I truly only enjoyed the last pregnancy. I was 41 and knew it was the last. I lost a twin at 16 weeks which was devastating but really made me focus on giving the surviving baby the very best of me. It was the only pregnancy I let myself rest (easier as the elder five were at school). I had a great delivery. The only labour that my waters broke unassisted and two hours later birthed my peaceful, gentle son Noah. I realise know they were some of the best times of my life and wish I’d been more present instead of longing for it to be over. Make the time to wonder at what you and your body are creating. It really is so incredible. Lots of love xx
MMaia | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
I LOVE this.
“They have no concept of being ‘fat’ or ‘thin’. Too big or too small. They just know the importance of eating do that their brains and little bodies can grow”
You are such a kind, selfless soul claire! I love everything you do. I’ve never met you but I can tell you are a good person. Inside-out. I will forever remember this quote. Thank you.
NNavya Gillespie | 08.10.2023 | 06:54PM
Thank you for using your platform to make other mothers feel less isolated in their own journeys ❤️
AAngela | 08.10.2023 | 06:58PM
Hello! I’m so thankful for your writing as it is exactly what is in my brain. I’m 12 weeks along with my second and I hate that I hate being pregnant. I’ve lost so much of who I am/was with my first pregnancy and so far with the second. Hearing that I’m not the only one truly helps me feel like I’m part of a community of strong women.
JJennifer Harvey | 08.10.2023 | 06:58PM
Girl these are ALL valid feelings!!!!! All I’m gonna say is give yourself a little grace. Hang in there mama!!!!
MMolly | 08.10.2023 | 06:58PM
You’re doing great, Claire. I’m totally with you on this- had recently become super healthy, nearing my health and weight goals (probably why I finally got pregnant with my third after trying for a year and a half), and now I’m 6 weeks pregnant and seeing my healthy new habits unravel with nausea, exhaustion and cravings. I feel so lucky to have become pregnant- I actually had a fertility appointment booked for next month that I still need to cancel. And I have close friends who are having a much more difficult fertility journey than I’ve had. But the way that pregnancy completely takes the reigns of our lives is challenging for someone who craves some semblance of order… or is proud of the order she’s achieved in the chaos of normal life outside of pregnancy. We need to give ourselves grace, yes, but thanks for acknowledging how difficult that can be despite our luck/blessings/whatever you want to attribute the good fortune to. I don’t want you to have a hard time giving yourself grace, but I am made more content knowing I’m not alone in the challenge.
MMatilda | 08.10.2023 | 06:58PM
Thank you for sharing Claire, and so eloquently said. I felt the exact same when pregnant with my two kids (2 year old and 3 month old – I’m 37 and a fellow Brisbane-ite). What we put ourselves through mentally and physically is so extreme. I’m a retired track and field athlete, so fitness and performance is all I’ve ever known since I was 7. So I hear you with the ‘ I used to be able to run 13 miles’ and now I’m a couch potato.
Pregnancy and postpartum is incredibly difficult no matter your situation. It’s almost like we are meant to lose ourselves through this period, forget what and who we were, to survive and give in to the nature of pregnancy, birth, feeding a baby, sleep deprivation, and the list goes on. It’s survival. You find yourself in the haze somewhere on the other side, and come alive again. In the mean time, complain, feel rubbish, yell, cry, bounce back, and do it all again. You’re allowed. X
CCaitlin | 08.10.2023 | 06:56PM
I loved reading this. It gave me some peace. I’m 32 weeks along and the struggle is real. No one ever wants to talk about how hard pregnancy can be – mentally and physically.
AAmy | 08.10.2023 | 06:56PM
Oh Claire, THIS! All of this! I am also on baby #3, at 39 years old and in my final trimester (29 weeks). This pregnancy has been by far the healthiest but I have also gained the most weight and been the most debilitating on my body…trying to stay positive as well as I watch my body stretch to dimensions I’m not sure I’m totally comfortable with. As beautiful as this journey is, I too struggle with all kinds of feelings and look forward to the day I hold my baby (girl) and have left my last pregnancy behind and can focus on me and ny health again. Sending all the positive momma vibes your way. Thank you for sharing and making this fellow preggo’s feelings feel very validated. ♥️
SShelby | 08.10.2023 | 06:56PM
I’m currently 17 weeks with my third and I know exactly how you’re feeling. A roller coaster of emotions. I feel like a lot of time I’m just on the verge of tears. I have the same worries as you too and some moments it’s hard to find the good and positives.
Right now the only thing that truly helps is being outside and be with my kids. I think this is our last as well and I keep beating myself up about how I’m not making the best of it, but damn, being pregnant is hard and I forget about that each time haha! I know my future self will wish I would have been easier on myself.
I also tell myself, I deserve to be happy and if I gain 20 lbs then I guess that’s what the baby needs to be healthy. And after baby is here, do what is needed for me to be healthy. I noticed the second trimester I’ve started old habits of snacks which is daunting. But each time I say, oh, I guess baby needs calcium for her bones (as I pour a bowl of cereal) lol
Anyway! From all the way in Pennsylvania, this mama knows what you’re going through everyday. At least motherhood.
It’s hard. It’s challenging. It makes me want to cry and laugh. But looking back at my younger self I was so missing out on this and it makes me feel so grateful and so so lucky as I know this life could be so different.
Best of luck ❤️❤️
AAlisha | 08.10.2023 | 06:56PM
Thank you so much for sharing… so many people expect you to be a walking ray of sunshine and “glowing” when your pregnant and be grateful you have not got HG or you are even pregnant, this is my first pregnancy and I felt so guilty for feeling the same way! It helps to know other mums feel like this sometimes too x
AAlyssa | 08.10.2023 | 07:00PM
Thank you for this. 🙏 It brought me to tears to read somebody else’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions that so closely mirror my own. I’m 36, and currently 32 weeks pregnant with my third (and also likely last child). After two very easy pregnancies during which I felt genuinely great and “bounced back” fairly quickly from, I’m finding this pregnancy to be a roller coaster, both physically and emotionally. My feelings of guilt, anxiety, and inadequacy seem insurmountable most days, and all my usual tricks to pull myself out of my funk don’t seem to be working. I also have a history of disordered eating and am struggling with body image issues that I had thought were long ago left in the dust. I’m grateful for your willingness to be so open about your feelings and difficulties, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.
KKay | 08.10.2023 | 07:00PM
Currently 24 almost 25 weeks with my third and probably last pregnancy too, same pace of weight gain and literally SAME exact feelings in every aspect you talked about – so hard but also really helps to know I’m not alone because some days I feel like my mind is so INSANE there’s no way it’s normal and there has to be something wrong with me. Thank you for sharing!!
MMonica Odor | 08.10.2023 | 07:00PM
I am 31 weeks weeks pregnant and these are my feelings almost verbatim. Thank you for acknowledging them and being so truthful and honest. It’s so hard to be that honest and your post resonated with me a lot. Thank you! -Monica