You know that moment when you think your entire world is going to end, and you are a complete failure? I felt that way every single day for about...9 months.
I wrote this article about 6-10 different ways, and they all pointed out my fears. All of the negativity I felt during my pregnancy was displayed before me, and it was a mountain that my therapist will have to sift through for years.
I decided to just be honest. I hated it, but I did take notes along the way, so here are some glimpses, unfiltered, into my pregnancy as a DMA clarinetist, and some knowledge I gained.
I was always sick; from about the 6th week until I gave birth, I was somewhere throwing up.
It was horrible. They said, “It will go away after X months”. Well, my friends, it did NOT. It was like being seasick every second. I got nauseous at the smell of garlic! Garlic is my love.. second only to freshly baked french bread! I sat down in band rehearsals, and the baton made me sick to watch. So I stopped looking directly at Dr. Heidel, and I used my peripherals.
I was short of breath more than I had ever been (what even are 8-bar phrases??), and playing my fabulous wind instrument made me nauseous from taking and expelling so much air, fun stuff! I honestly feel that after giving birth I play so much better. I learned to listen to my body. If I even think I have an ache when I am practicing, I stretch, I stop, I check on myself. My body is where my music comes from, so it is my most expensive instrument. But I do not recommend this as a way to improve your playing lol go do some long tones instead ;) Also, that human in your body moves around so much... Imagine for a moment what it might be like to be playing a piece that you have worked to learn and as you are performing you get kicked in an organ from inside your OWN body by a real-life little human. Rude. And ow.
I was so petrified that my professors and colleagues would think less of me that I never asked for extensions or help. My biggest regret. I wish I had asked my friends to take notes for me on days I literally should not have been in class. I wish I had asked my professor for extensions instead of staying up late because I was so tired from being sick that I could only do small amounts of work at a time.
I now prioritize my students' physical and mental health more than ever. People come first. Some professors think they believe this, but their syllabus and teaching don't reflect this. There are tight unmovable deadlines because that is #reallife. No, that is a construct that they are still holding on to. Flexibility is needed to create a more respectful and uplifting environment in academia. We also need to talk about when, how, and why we should be taking breaks during our practicing, during the school year, and in life.
I was scared I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a pregnant woman. I have learned to speak with a period at the end of my sentences, rather than pretend to question myself so that others wouldn’t view me as abrasive. If you know the answer, try to stop including phrases like, “Does that make sense?”
I was scared that I would lose myself and lose the motivation to achieve the dreams that I had before the pregnancy. I achieved things that were beyond my wildest dreams. I have a little human now that is watching how I treat myself and how I treat others. And because of that, others’ achievements are now things to be celebrated, not losses for myself. I realized those dreams were too small for the person I was becoming. I realized we aren't butterflies that undergo metamorphosis once. We should be like the Phoenix and let the old go as we grow and continue to learn.
Postpartum depression is real and it sucks. When will it end?? Or did it end, and this is just my life (things I wonder)? For reals, have a therapist before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after.
My advice: be flexible, be patient, and love yourself.
If you have more questions please ask in the comment section or dm me!