By now, I should be a sleep-deprived zombie, barely functional and mostly incoherent. That’s typical of life with a newborn. This isn’t terribly far from reality; I am definitely not getting much consecutive sleep. But what has been the most surprising thing to me about this current postpartum experience is that I feel so much more myself than I did for the past nine months, making the sleep deprivation essentially irrelevant.
It’s a little embarrassing to look back at my months and months sour moods, even though I can now recognize that it was due to hormones and physical discomfort (did anyone else realize that at the time? I HOPE SO).
So, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, strangers, if I was less than pleasant to you, I apologize. Looking back at myself over the course of my pregnancy, I see how cantankerous I really was at times. Everything annoyed me. Everything overwhelmed me. I was kind of miserable, and, consequently, more miserable to be around. For some.
On the bright side, there are a few lessons I learned, now that I’m on the flip side of all that crankiness.
- You don’t always realize when you’re not yourself when you’re not yourself. I knew I was unhappy, that I was uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to say anything. In part, this was because I felt complaining about how I felt being pregnant after getting pregnant so soon after having a miscarriage was insensitive and ungrateful. Another part was the reality of life as a woman being full of various physical discomforts, so I just powered through the best I could. Which wasn’t very good, ha. Maybe if I had talked about it, been more open, I could have made the connection about why I felt so hostile all the time. It’s humbling to realize that I wasn’t so self-aware about that.
- Cut everyone some slack. I often forget to take it into account if my spouse or children are feeling less than stellar. I usually just get frustrated at them for whatever subpar behaviors they are exhibiting. Now, for at least the next week or so (lolsob), I will be able to remember to consider the possibility that my loved ones are not feeling themselves, and to have more compassion than usual.
- This too shall pass. It seemed like a very long time when I was not myself, physically or emotionally, but now that I’m feeling better again, I can remember that these things are temporary, though we can’t know how long any difficult phase will last. Sometimes they last a while, true. Sometimes they become the new normal. AH I have to stop this train of thought now.
So those are a few things that I’m able to realize now that I feel human again. Hopefully I will remember this experience and internalize these lessons. Hopefully all our difficult phases are short and easily recognizable.
Photo by Aleksandar Cvetanovic on Unsplash
2 thoughts on “What To Do When You’re Not Yourself”
It’s so hard to keep that “I’ve been cranky or spacey because I’ve been unwell/preoccupied/etc., so I should expect it from other people too,” mindset, but it really does smooth the path through life if I just assume that.
So true. I find that when I actually observe the mitzvos like giving the benefit of the doubt and v’ahavta l’reyecha kamocha, I am calmer and more content. Imagine that! Lol. Pity it’s so challenging to do!