When I was pregnant with my first child, I developed a rather, shall we say "intense" relationship with Dove bars. Not just chocolate covered ice cream bars, DOVE BARS. They had to be Dove bars and Dove bars only. There was something about the thickness of the chocolate coating combined with the quality of vanilla ice cream that just did it for me and I really needed them in my life in a serious and meaningful way. Now, my favorite grocery store was always fully stocked with Dove bars and we had easily avoided any issues up until one fateful day when I happily pushed my cart to the frozen treats aisle only to find no Dove bars. No Dove bars? The rage already was welling up inside me as I hunted through the freezer case, tossing aside boxes of, ugh, yogurt bars and those real fruit bars that are always so thick and have seeds and just no thanks, only to find NO DOVE BARS. I whipped my cart around and steered it rather quickly toward the customer service desk and actually asked for a manager. Something I have NEVER DONE IN MY LIFE. (This entire thing really made sense to me at the time, I cannot stress that enough). Once the manager was in front of me, polite, smiling, ready to be helpful, I unloaded what can only be described as a "barrage" of complaints and near profanities as I tried to ask him WHY THEY WERE OUT OF DOVE BARS and how it could possibly come to pass that they would run out. Now, this poor guy's survival instinct must have kicked in, or he must have noticed that my shopping basket was stocked with two different kinds of Tums, cheese danish, jalapeno cheese and Little Debbie Zebra Cakes and combined that info with the fact that I was hugely pregnant and decided to save himself. He calmly wrote down my complaint about the Dove bars and assured me that they would have them in stock as soon as possible, even going as far as giving me a coupon to use toward a box of Dove bars the next time I came in. After my little outburst I left feeling embarrassed and out of control, and wound up crying in my car in the parking lot, mostly because I felt totally foolish and a little concerned with how easily I flipped out over a chocolate ice cream bar, but also because I just couldn't help it, I was a hormonal pregnant lady and there was no rhyme or reason to what might happen with my emotions.
The scary part about it was that in my everyday non-pregnant life, I really wasn't too overly "emotional", at least not in the stereotypical sense. I never cried at movies (okay I cried during La Bamba once and always when the horse dies in the Swamp of Sadness during The Neverending Story) and it usually had to be something pretty meaningful to drive me to actual tears, especially in public. But when I was pregnant the floodgates opened and I turned into a completely different person emotionally. The littlest thing set me off, either positive or negative. One time a stranger tracked me down on the sidewalk after we left the bookstore to return Levy's hair bow that she accidentally left there, and the kindness and effort of the person moved me to tears for a second (thankfully after they had left or else I probably would have REALLY weirded them out). Another time someone almost slammed into my car by not following the signs going into the mall and I flipped out, delusions of following the person and telling them off filling my head until I finally calmed myself down enough to not go completely insane (helped by those cookie dough brownie things they sell at Healthy Living Market and Cafe).
The other thing that got out of control was the completely irrational rage over truly unimportant things. This was also very uncharacteristic for me, as I usually can keep my composure and tend to avoid any sort of public displays of anger or emotion. The rage is almost always married to irrationality, and that combo seems to for some reason fuel the fire of my rage even more. On a day not too long ago (okay it was Sunday) I was all ready to get dressed for our Easter Brunch. Everyone had their little outfits all ready down to what socks they were going to wear and I even had two (TWO!!) dressed that still fit me that I thought would look cute for Easter. I tried the first dress on and no dice. Sean very gingerly tried to zip it up and I could almost sense his apprehension as he most likely weighed in his mind what to do: Should I continue to try to zip the dress up and possibly rip the dress or should I say something nicely about this not fitting and hopefully Jenny won't flip out? I feel bad for him now, because I didn't give him the chance to do either. I knew it wasn't going to fit (not only do I already look VERY pregnant at 5 months I also already went from an A to a D cup, so my dresses are pretty much out at this point) and I along with throwing the dress off over my head I threw an unholy temper tantrum, raging against the fact that I had nothing to wear and zero desire to buy any overpriced maternity dresses with some rather choice words about pantyhose thrown in for good measure. This quickly dissolved into a rant about how unfair it is that it is only the women that have to put on weight/have their bodies change/give birth/etc. and Sean, literally cornered by the fact that I was blocking his way out of the bedroom while flailing around throwing dresses and Belly Bands all over the place, had to just sit there and attempt to make me feel better, which was futile anyway.
After Sean somehow coaxed me into the idea of trying on the other dress (oh this tantrum was only after trying on ONE dress) and it fit I sat down and tried to collect myself, smoothing my hair back out and taking deep breaths, all the while wishing I could justify my out of nowhere freak out and somehow explain it to myself and to Sean, who didn't deserve to be at the epicenter of my meltdown. But I couldn't. It had to be chalked up to pregnancy hormones, and I had to just move on and roll with it, which I did, and our Sunday wound up being pretty nice.
Even though I'm in my fourth pregnancy, there is still a lot about pregnancy that catches me off guard (like the Dove bar rage), and a lot that I feel like I should be prepared for but I'm not, and in a lot of ways, I sort of love that. Even though a lot of it is tough to handle, I cherish the fact that it makes each pregnancy seem new to me, not like it's old hat this time around. Each pregnancy and each child has changed me, and although I am not one of those women who glow and rub their bellies throughout pregnancy with a calm, Zen-like wholeness, in my more clear, rage free moments I am grateful to have the opportunity to grow as a person (both literally and figuratively as this point) by learning how to deal with this kind of stuff.
In a lot of ways, the hormonal roller coaster I'm on feels a lot like how parenting feels in general, out of my control. I'm not a complete control freak, instead I prefer to say I have control freak tendencies and learning how to deal with my own completely irrational behavior helps me to understand out of control toddlers or sullen seven year olds who don't get their way. It also helps me to learn to cut everyone, including myself, some slack. We all have bad days, we all have days when the Dove bars run out, and sometimes we handle them in not the best of ways, but you've gotta just get up off the floor, brush yourself off and move on.