Prenatal Depression & Creating During Pregnancy

While your body is busy creating a child and your hormones are driving you extremely insane it can be difficult to show up to your creative practice. The harsh reality and looming responsibility of having to create a future for you and your child can be paralyzing. Especially if you are self-employed or already working in the creative arts field.

The energy it takes to pursue my own work came to a complete dead end and I was fortunate enough that I wasn’t in the middle of a huge design project at work as I had no motivation to create anything. Projects that I excitedly began in the New Year fizzled out quicker than I could breathe life into them.

This was the only thing I had finished despite the fact that I had intentions in turning each image into a lino block.

Between the emotional spells I was also trying to navigate my trauma. Which who knew, things they don’t tell you about pregnancy, is that your past trauma can leave you knee deep in shit you thought: you forgot about, made peace with or just assumed you were over with. But that mess crept back in like a leak in a roof. Spreading mold and despair and sending me into a decent bout of prenatal depression.

Post Partum Depression is talked about a lot but Prenatal Depression seems to get you the stank eye as if you’re not grateful for the miracle taking place within you while others struggle to even get pregnant or have suffered a loss. Here I was navigating: all my past trauma, a relationship with the father (it’s complicated but we love each other), becoming a mother, letting go of my very independent single life, and honestly the relationship with my creativity.

While everyone was telling me how excited they were and are for me I was internally dreading all of it and questioning what the hell I was doing. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted this, I’m 36 and not getting any younger and the timing seemed more than perfect though my circumstances weren’t. But as all these feelings came bubbling to the surface I found my self questioning everything and relying on therapy to help me come to terms and validate what I had been through and feeling.

A few things that helped:

  1. Therapy! I can’t stress enough the importance of therapy. Luckily I had already had someone but please find someone you can speak too. It can be a lot of help to you to just have your feelings, concerns, & worries be acknowledged and validated. It takes the edge off as you come to grips with whatever you’re dealing with. And you can tell them things you may not tell your loved ones for fear of rejection or being further misunderstood.
  2. A trip: Now this may seem crazy and ridiculous especially if you’re already struggling and trying to save but I turned 36 while pregnant and I was going to cancel my birthday plans to take an overnight beach trip. In all honesty that tripped saved my life. Even if you can’t afford an overnight trip, a day trip to the beach or anywhere where nature can comfort your soul can be so nourishing.
    • At the time of this trip I was on the edge. I won’t explain why or what got me there but taking a solo trip to play in the ocean, journal, visit an art gallery and commune with the sun was exactly what I needed. I felt like myself again.
  3. Now things weren’t perfect when I got back as I still had a lot of work to do emotionally and spiritually but I had a therapist tell me to ground myself when things get hard or emotionally unstable.

Ground yourself through creativity.

Ground myself? I literally rolled my eyes. Like how the hell do I do that. What is this therapy garbage you are spitting at me and if it’s more foo foo self love bs I’m going to have another tantrum before we even hang up from this session.

Well duh, with creativity baby! 🙄 It seems so logical and self explanatory but my Dr. had a point. I mean creativity had always been a source of comfort for me throughout my life; I even say it’s saved my life. And here it was to do it all over again by grounding me.

And it had already been working. Though I wasn’t creating what I consider my main body of work, I found myself creating stuff for my baby. I made his name sign to hang over his crib, crocheted a blanket and several toys, made a sweater, and still working on completing my first quilt.

The sewing machine I had left sitting to collect dust ended up being a beacon of light as well as a new love for crocheting. I never expected crocheting to be my new hobby this year but the simplicity of repeating a stitch was comforting. I could mindlessly, to an extent, crochet and watch TV and processe emotions while I fervently single crocheted.

My artistic plans for the year definitely didn’t come to fruition but something else was born and will be born this month! Insert smiles. A whole new world of creativity opened its doors to me and I was able to explore a new hobby and even become inspired by crazy talented fiber artist.

I think as artist we’ve been told too often that we should stick to one trade, one form of art while the job industry expects the exact opposite (let’s not go there). But it was diving deep into crocheting which I had no monetary or career goal associated with it that got me out of my creative rut and gave me a new appreciation for it.

So pick up a camera, print your pictures, water color, collage, journal, paint your nails with copious amounts of glitter, do something new, crochet, knit, follow a recipe, doodle, buy the expensive markers and tons of glue sticks… just create and soon you’ll remember why you fell in love with it. Let it ground you as you navigate the new role of becoming a mother. Don’t give yourself crazy deadlines and project goals, create because you enjoy it and it’s comforting to your soul.

With much love, BEautifullyODD

Crocheting!? During my Pregnancy

Some years ago a coworker, Jasbir, taught me how to crochet. With one stitch at hand I attempted to make a few scarfs every now and then but honestly never had a passion like I do now for it. Even up till a few months ago when I crocheted the flowers to hang around my tree 🌳 it was an attempt to make it look less bald after they had cut it back and to distract myself from feeling feelings about the loss of my brother. And after that project I was done; Ready to return to my main art work.

But when I found out I was pregnant and wasn’t feeling well as a result, my creativity felt like it dried up and deserted me. You don’t feel like an artist unless your creating art. There I was again, doubting myself and all the work I’ve done just to get where I am now. Wondering if I’d have to give it up because now I’ll be a mother who doesn’t have time for such silly things. Dramatic, I know, but I felt like I was putting my dreams on hold again; Making more excuses to not push forward with goals I’ve had since learning animation in high-school.

As I got further along in my pregnancy I knew I wanted to crochet a baby blanket. I still have my first very colorful crocheted blanket and grew very attached to it and because of that, knew I wanted my baby boy to have his. Let me tell you… I’m always jumping into a deep end of a project and find myself bitting of more than I can chew. 10… yes 10 attempts later and it’s finally done and it’s honestly one of the best thing I ever created, other than the little bean I’m growing. I swear I was going to give up multiple times, frustrated that my edges were never straight and it honestly looked like bell bottoms

I say all this to say that after realizing that even though my current passion project (artistic endeavors) didn’t look like what I had planned for the year, I was still being creative. That I’m still an artist. It took a lesson from Lauren Hom to remember that and I know it seems silly. But I had full intentions and goals for my art this year and it definitely took a detour. But I’ve accepted that this is the phase I’m in, this is where my passion is right now and honestly I’m enjoying it immensely.

I even made my first amigurumi, a brown teddy bear for my little boy. Then I made a fox but I’m seriously contemplating redoing it’s body. But I have plans to do that, make a dinosaur and a lion for my little cousin. And I’m currently working on my first cardigan.

I even joined Annie’s crochet kit club to make a blanket, which to me is a little pricey but I found myself still purchasing it. It’s so pretty 🤦🏽‍♀️and figured after I finish my Christmas present projects I’ll have something to work on during the holidays. But as my list of projects grows longer as I also want to make a gray cardigan for myself and baby, I imagine I’ll be able to incorporate crochet in future projects and even purse designs (excited).

Anyway as you can see I’m overly excited but I’m having tons of fun learning more about crocheting at this point in my life and during my pregnancy and proud to add crochet artist to my repertoire.

BEautifullyODD