Were you a slave to your hormones during pregnancy?

Roma Kojima battles the ups and downs of pregnancy hormones.

1PregnancyHormones-January2014-iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Roma Kojima is a soon-to-be mom of a tiny, wriggly girl. Aside from growing a human, she works in business development at Rogers Media, loves to travel and cook, and obsesses about leather purses she can’t afford. Follow along as she shares her pregnancy journey.

Hormones. Can’t live with ’em, would literally die without ’em. They warn you about pregnancy hormone changes. Chapter and verse has been written, sitcoms make fun of the crazy pregnant lady, men cackle nervously and try to sidle out of the room. Women trade war stories over glasses of wine.

Read more: Your guide to pregnancy hormones >

Those tiny, unpredictable biochemical doohickeys are the source of—and the scapegoat for—so much grief. I’ve always been wary and very, very aware of the “Big H”—even well before I really knew what they were (i.e.: before Wikipedia). As a longtime sufferer of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I’ve battled changes in body weight, acne, and all the other fun symptoms it can present.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve worked with a number of doctors and have more or less managed to get my estrogen/testosterone levels in check. I’ve fended off additional risks like diabetes and dealt with mild-to-moderate depression issues. In some ways, the decision to get pregnant was one of the scariest ones I’ve ever made—not just the responsibility of bringing forth a tiny human—but the risk of my hard-earned hormonal balance going all kinds of kablooey.

Maybe it was selfish, but part of me wanted to put off pregnancy for awhile because I was afraid to put my body through more physical upheaval. Depression is a frightening shadow of a thing—no matter how far behind you it is, the idea never stops lurking around every corner. Today, at 23 weeks, I’m petrified at the idea of postpartum depression, and whatever else the first few months post-delivery will bring.

Read more: Postpartum depression doesn’t care where you live >

Anyway, what’s done is done. Right now, I’m dealing with an interesting array of mood swings and a desperate need to be able to function through all these changes to my brain and body. I spent the better part of my first trimester wanting to punch everyone in the face. I kept waiting for some magical force from on high that would suddenly transform me into this paragon of zen motherhood—but so far, nada. Mostly I felt tired, bloated, angry and impatient with everyone—including myself.

I almost flung a frying pan at my husband’s face when he made a joke about how his (over-eating related) tummy ache was “just like being pregnant.” NO JERKFACE, EATING TOO MUCH PIE IS NOT LIKE BEING PREGNANT!

I’ve snapped at colleagues, yelled at my poor mother, and acted like a total jackass with various family members. I even self-righteously skipped a family dinner at a restaurant that received a “Conditional” food safety rating—this from a girl that regularly eats street food in India with nary a thought. I can’t even count how many times I’ve walked into a room or down a supermarket aisle with no idea what I’m doing there.

Read more: Pregnancy brain: It’s not all in your head >

Being inside my own head is interesting these days. As professionals and adults, we spend so many years honing our communication skills and reactions to as many situations as we can. We work on body language, self-soothing, reasoning, all the stuff we need to succeed in the workplace and in relationships. Just when I thought I was on track to being the kind of human I wanted to be, pregnancy came along and reminded me just how delicate all that balance is.

There are days now where I find myself seething over some tiny or imaginary slight. I question everything—”What did he MEAN?”, “How could she SAY that?” and my favourite, “‘NOBODY LIKES ME!.” I never used to bother about this stuff. In my totem of caring, whether or not most people liked me ranked somewhere between heavy metal music and goldfish.

If I were watching myself objectively, the change would be kind of hilarious to witness. Now, I have to actively tell myself to chill the hell out at least once a day—sometimes several times an hour. I can’t tell if it’s working or not, but so far people are still talking to me and I have decided to name my soon-to-be stress ulcer Bertrand.

I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot more insane before it gets better. Most people in my life should consider this fair warning and give me a wide berth, though if they actually do, of course I’ll be even more miserable and want all of the hugs. Hopefully in a few months, a relatively sane person will re-emerge from the ashes of hormonal insanity, but until then—hunker down.

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