Motherhood

What To Do When You’re Not Yourself

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

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