The unbearable crankiness of pregnancy

by DaniGirl on October 25, 2007 · 20 comments

in Postcards from my uterus

I once had a friend who was a self-confessed mean drunk. “I just don’t get it,” he said to me one day. “Whenever I drink, everybody else turns into an asshole.”

I can relate to this right now. I simply don’t understand why, every time I hit the third trimester of pregnancy, everybody and everything is suddenly so bloody irritating.

You certainly wouldn’t be thinking that it might just possibly be me, are you? ARE YOU?

Okay, so I admit it, it is me. I’m well aware of the fact, in some logical corner of my brain, that I seem to be lacking any sort of reserve of patience right now. Unfortunately, that small, lonely voice of intellectual acknowledgement gets drowned out when screaming banshee woman takes over and throws a temper tantrum because we’ve run out of mustard and nobody bothered to tell me.

The worst part is that if you were drawing a graph that delineates my relative irritability throughout the day, you’d see that it peaks in the same two places each day, which, coincidentally or not, usually match the times of greatest contact with my family: the hour between after-work and dinnertime, and the boys’ bedtime.

I try, I really do try, not to snap at the boys. I don’t want to be crazy-ranting-mother who goes off the deep end just because the kids have been asked to brush their teeth eleventy-hundred million times and instead are chasing the cat around the house. It’s not their fault I’m pregnant, and unlike their darling father who has learned to either do his best to placate me or get the hell out of the way when I’m in a mood, they don’t get why I’ve gone ’round the bend or that it’s (oh please, let it be) only temporary.

We were in the grocery store the other day, itself the font of much irritability, and I found myself being that woman, the one who speaks to her children in a barely controlled growl easily overheard by people standing nearby, who says incredibly helpful things like, “I brought you out here to get you a nice treat of cheese strings and you repay my kindness by goofing around and not listening to me and why can’t you just stand there and be good for two minutes because I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE!” What was actually pissing me off was the slow-moving self-scan line and the people who cut in front of me and the fact that I was tired at the end of a long day; the beneficiaries of this build-up and overflow of crankiness was, unforgivably, the boys.

I’ve apologized to both Beloved and the boys after particularly heinous displays of crank, and explained to the boys that everybody has bad days sometimes, but I want to work harder at preventing flare-ups of temper. What is it about this stage of pregnancy that makes my fuse so short anyway? You can only blame the hormones and the sleep-deprivation for so much, ya know? The good side, I suppose, is that while the periods of pique are sometimes intense and rather unpredictable, they are usually short-lived, rather like a summer storm.

I’d welcome your thoughts. Is this something common to all pregnant women, or just an amplification of my own occasional temper issues? What can I do to either amplify the tiny voice of reason that says, “Um, excuse me, you’ve just teetered off the edge of testy and into the abyss of ranting lunatic” or learn to step back from the cliff in the first place?

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara October 25, 2007 at 8:07 am

I was a illogical drama queen generally throughout my pregnancy. I remember sobbing because I couldn’t think of what to buy him for his birthday (2 weeks before Reid was born) because I didn’t *know* him, not really, and he just bought whatever he wanted anyway. So, I had no ideas and it was his fault and I cried so that he would comfort me. Since then, I’ve said that I wouldn’t want to be married to a pregnant woman.

This isn’t much help but sympathy.

2 Kathryn October 25, 2007 at 8:43 am

HA HA HA!!!!!
This post made me laugh out loud! I must admit that I am a fairly even keel preggers lady, but man, I could blow for no reason. The minute I found out I was pregnant, stuff (ok, the hubby) started ticking me off. He was chomping on his crackers SO LOUDLY I wanted to smack them out of his hand. Most of the time I could control my anger, but there were explosion, I’ll admit. The poor boys probably thought I was crazy. I think the older I get with my pregnancies the worse it gets. And ya know, it wasn’t much better after the baby was born, what with all the sleep deprevation. I’m just starting to be “chill” mommy againnow that I’m getting more sleep. I guess I’m not much help. At least you know it isn’t just you. šŸ˜‰

3 andrea from the fishbowl October 25, 2007 at 8:48 am

Do what I do. Pretend you’re being filmed for a reality show about parenting. šŸ˜‰

4 Kathleen in Ottawa October 25, 2007 at 9:11 am

Look, sleep deprivation is serious stuff. It IS a continuing excuse. But I appreciate that you still have to try to hold it together for the boys. What about making an extra effort to “chill” on the bus on the way home? It isn’t extra zzz’s, but it might help a little, since there’s no way to take that nap after work that would really help.
I firmly agree- you can’t really expect to really recover yourself till the sleep gets repaired, and that won’t be till baby gets into the swing of things.
Be kind to yourself, what you’re doing isn’t easy, and it doesn’t go on much longer.
By the by, take a look and send every pregnant and postpartum mom you know to

5 Loukia October 25, 2007 at 9:18 am

Hey at least you’re apologizing to those you’ve yelled at! I’m been nasty too. I’m sick of the clothes I have to wear, I’m scared of the whole lack of sleep thing again + a toddler to take care of, and I’m feeling uncomfortable and wobbling around everywhere. We have good reasons (sometimes!) to be bitchy. It’s not easy being pregnant! (As much as a blessing as it is…)

6 Cakes October 25, 2007 at 9:25 am

Your family is lucky! Only the third trimester? My family got to “enjoy” me through all three. (hugs) my friend. You’ll be back to your usual smart-fun self soon.

The end is so hard. It’s like when you’re coming home from vacation and you pass a familiar landmark and you think you’re almost there but you still have another hour.

7 urban pedestrian October 25, 2007 at 9:26 am

Perhaps the Victorians had it right for once – the pregant one was tucked away from friends and family during her “confinement” in a luxurious spa-like evironment, being waited on hand and foot by a legion of staff, buffed and cosseted, hand-fed peeled grapes and when the baby was born it was whisked away to the wet nurse while mom recovered. Then she emerged months later her usual bright and chipper self and no one was any the wiser. Er – I’m sure there were more than a few drawbacks to pregnancy and birthing back then, too, but I choose to look on the bright side

8 Fryman October 25, 2007 at 10:38 am

At least you are venting….The Divine Mrs F. tried so hard to be ‘nice’, especially at the end, that she would do the ‘Nothings wrong’/’I’m fine’/’It’s OK’ trifecta for at least 2 days and then the dam would burst over the fact I left the keys in the wrong spot on the hall table. I normally sought shelter in my car (amazingly soundproof for a Ford Escort) until the torrent had run its course. She would be back to normal within an hour or so, and the cycle would begin again.
So my advice…..let it out a little wee bit at a time….and on inanimate objects like your computer at work, the sidewalk, the check-out scanner at the grocery store.

9 Valerie October 25, 2007 at 11:37 am

Yeah, I was the same. Actually, I still have days like that, especially when sleep deprived (which is way too often). I’m also like that when I forget to take my B vitamins – who knows, they might help you, too?

10 nomotherearth October 25, 2007 at 11:55 am

I’m right there with you, so I’m not going to be much help. EVERYTHING is making me angry right now. Mr Earth is getting the worst of it because I have the most contact with him, so he is the person annoying me the most. I wish I could be more reasonable because I know it’s not his fault, it’s mine. I get so angry, though, that I don’t even want to apologize for my craziness. Maybe we should start a support group?

Number one thing ticking me off right now, though? People who say “Boy, you look tired!” Yeah, I’m 9 months pregnant, I have a toddler, and a full time job with no improvement on sleep coming up in the near future. YOU’D LOOK TIRED TOO!

11 Sue October 25, 2007 at 12:24 pm

You’re not on your own. I lose count of how many times I have to ‘ask’ for things to be done.

I’m not pregnant but being looked at for ‘hormones’ at the moment and I really think as one of your other readers points out it’s being tired that can really push the buttons.

On one day I can be really calm and patient, then another, the same irritation can make me feel very unreasonable!

12 kgirl October 25, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Oh, I could have written this – truly and seriously, I am being a heinous bitch to the person who loves me the most right now and is doing the most to make my life easier. I just can’t help it.
I reserve whatever shred of patience I have for Bee, who just doesn’t get what 37 weeks of pregnancy can do to a gal. Everyone else, watch out.

13 slouching mom October 25, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Oh, honey, I wouldn’t worry about it. Of COURSE you’re cranky. It’s tough gestating, y’know?

(They’ll forgive you. They already have.)

14 Caudette October 26, 2007 at 11:16 am

Having had a baby less than two weeks ago, I have to admit that the crankiness I experienced during the last trimester hasn’t completely disolved. I’m not feeling very blissful what with toddler challenging our every word, and the renovations all over the house, and the lack of sleep…don’t get me wrong, we’re thrilled Sonja is here with us, and finally OUT OF MY BODY, but I have to say the recuperation period isn’t exactly smooth sailing either. I cannot wait for my life to get back into some sense of control. And I wish for you the same. You WILL get it back together, and the boys and Beloved will survive without a scar on them. Blogging about it helps…maybe some day when you’re at your wits end, you can read about it and laugh…but not now. Now, you have our permission to be as cranky as you wish!

Good luck!

15 cinnamon gurl October 26, 2007 at 12:16 pm

I’m like this and I’m not even pregnant. So no advice here…

16 Liz October 26, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Can it be that you’re
Hungry at those times
Of day and
Could use a morsel
Of something
Tasty and

17 DaniGirl October 27, 2007 at 6:31 am

*laughing at Liz*

Very poetic, my friend. And yes, that’s always a good solution to just about any problem, isn’t it?

18 Trixie October 28, 2007 at 8:16 pm

I could swear somebody said “CHOCOLATE.” Got a wicked craving for a truffle just now. … Anyways, I was all sweetness & light through the pregnancy. In fact, drug-free witnesses report that I politely excused myself from conversation with med students so that I could scream into my pillow during contractions as I delivered the anvil that was my son. I had the right conditions to be pathologically nice, mind you. Wasn’t working or raising wee boys or holding a home together. I was reclined on the couch watching HBO and eating luscious and tasty and elegant truffles. Does wonders šŸ™‚

19 rosey November 2, 2007 at 2:42 pm

funny how u say that
as my husband says after going thru 5 pregnancies , he says i turn into the worst person on the planet and claims never to have sex with me again not!!!! men im telling you they all think with their penises and say shit when we get pregnant and bitchy well gee its not most fun being uncomfortable and sure every thing gets irratating with our raging hormones the best thing though of the pregnancy is feeling the mircle in our bellies moving and nudges thou some nudges tend to feel like those killer punching bag at times but we dont complain to that much but i can definately relate
i always joke baby no 6 is coming u should see him running lmao

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