The things we’re not supposed to say

don't speak

I’m lucky enough to have grown up with a mom for a writer. I remember many years ago, talking to her about writer’s block and the horror of staring at a blank page/screen. How can it be that someone so creative, smart and/or interesting could be without any words? Her belief at the time was that it wasn’t that the person didn’t know what to say, but that they weren’t giving themselves permission to write what they were really thinking.

I don’t believe in censorship, although we all censor what we might choose to say on a regular basis. We do this to be diplomatic or tactful, to fit into societal norms, to keep people around us happy or a myriad other reasons. It’s normal and accepted and even encouraged. We’re supposed to be aware of our words and actions and the impact that they might have on others. This week has been filled with biting my tongue and not saying the things I’m thinking because I’m not supposed to say them. I suppose that’s why it’s been so hard to write this post today – I spent longer than I care to admit staring at the screen before I could get myself to start writing these words. So here are just a couple things I probably shouldn’t say.

I thought I was lucky so far in pregnancy. I didn’t have morning sickness, and after the first trimester or so, I had energy and appetite for life. Sure, I could live without the swollen ankles and carpal tunnel, and the heartburn has been rather less than fun, but if those were the worst symptoms, I figured that I was coming out ahead. Of course, it wasn’t meant to last. The hormones have descended and made each day feel like an emotional rollercoaster. Then again, I don’t think it’s just the hormones, I really don’t.

The last few days (week?) have been filled with self doubt. A lot of it stems from things at work, although it’s also coming from some personal stuff as well. I feel like I’m being forced to justify my thoughts, feelings and opinions, which isn’t really all that new a thing – that’s just part of my day to day life. I guess I’m just emotionally exhausted by it at this point. I don’t want to have to voice an opinion with valid reasoning, and then be second guessed for it by anyone and everyone.

I guess I am still censoring myself – wrote a bunch of explanation of what’s going on and deleted it all. The long and short of it is that some confusing and distressing stuff is happening at work. At the same time, I feel like my ideas of what I want for myself and for Harley are being ignored by some – I will explain what I want and essentially be told that I’m wrong or that other people know better. I know that I get the final say on this matter – it’s the joy of being the mother – but it’s making me feel like people either aren’t listening to me, or that my thoughts aren’t being taken seriously.

So, right now the things I shouldn’t be saying but screw it, I’ll say them anyway. I love my job and think I’m one of the luckiest people in the world to be able to do what I do, but right now it’s feeling like a drain on my sense of self worth. I absolutely adore the people in my life, but I don’t feel like some of them are listening to me. My husband and I are incredibly lucky to have found each other and I love him with my whole heart, but geez he will be lucky to survive this pregnancy with me killing him. I am so overjoyed and excited at the prospect of the new life growing inside me, but it’s also an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience mixed with feelings of absolute terror at what I’ve gotten myself into.

There, I said it. No more blank screen. I’m afraid, I’m angry, I’m worried that I’m doing everything wrong and by the way, it is ridiculously hot and all I want to do is get into the complex pool naked. I think I feel better now. Time for a cry and a non-alcoholic beer shandy so I can try to finish this day.


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  • Hey Zoe, don’t think you are being silly or that what your feeling isn’t right.

    Let me tell you something from a husbands point of view. The first trimester is exciting for us and we are so excited. After that however we become less so. Why? Because the wife goes through a drastic emotional change. I noticed it with my wife and what you are saying right now reminds me exactly of what we went through with our little one.

    Some of your words are making me remember things my wife would say to me. No one understands her. Everyone is against her. Everyone wants her to raise the kid their way. Everyone seems to think they know better. It was a tough time for me as I couldn’t even comfort her. She didn’t feel like I really cared at times too. What your feeling is not weird or different. The fact is you are dealing with it and you are dealing with it in your own way. I’m sure your hubby understands that and supports you. Don’t doubt that (Even though I bet at times you are going to feel different)

    I can tell you it gets better and that the overwhelming sense that no one really cares does go away. It did for my wife.

    Just hang in there. You’re doing a great job so far and I can tell just how excited you are for your little on to arrive.

    • Zoe

      *hugs* thank you so much for this! It’s so reassuring to know I’m not the only to go through this period of feeling this way, and that it does get better. Just want the little munchkin to hurry up and get here already. 🙂

  • Jeanww08

    I think everyone has those moments where we get tired of it, Where i work there is a political power struggle so if your friends with this person it limits your career.
    Im at the same point where im just going to say what I want and deal with the consequences.
    PS thanks for the articles they are rocking.

    • Zoe

      yeah, i think we can all be polite for only so long before we need to speak the truth and just deal with whatever fallout comes. Good luck with your consequences!

      thanks for the words of encouragement and for coming to read my words. 🙂

  • I don’t think there’s a person anywhere who doesn’t have self doubt. And for some of us that doubt is so big, and so loud it roars fear into us. All we can do is know that everyone has that, it’s just some are better at managing it than others.

  • naxie naxie

    as your mom and yep, as a writer – what i told you about writer’s block and what i continue to share with my writing students, is that when we are feeling blocked and unable to write, it’s because there are OTHER things that we don’t want to think about so the whole creative process shuts down. when we are dealing with STUFF or rather, trying to not deal with it or talk about it, when we sit down to write most anything, a lot of our creative energy goes into trying to keep our mouths shut about it and our words on any topic will just not flow.

    you have described here and as we’ve discussed in these last months, lots of fabulous ideas that you have with regard to how you want to raise your precious Princess Harley. for what it’s worth, i think that SOME people find it threatening, particularly if they’ve had kids and didn’t do any of the things that matter to you and the same goes for those who are not parents but also have ideas about what they would do if a baby were to fall into their laps.

    you don’t have to justify your child-rearing beliefs to anyone, sweet zoe… one gets to judge and if they are presumptuous enough to think they have that right, they are crossing a line. you and dean get to decide how you will raise harley and you both know what’s best for her and for the family you will become.

    i remember a friend from college who knew i was pregnant. she wanted to come visit and since she lived quite a distance away, she’d be staying at my apartment for a few days. she talked about how she wanted to do it before i had THE BABY since i wouldn’t be willing to just put the baby in another room so that we could visit and not be BOTHERED by the kid. she just didn’t get it and it didn’t matter what i said to explain my perspective. she was sure that she was right and that i was dead wrong.

    the pregnancy hormones are crazy-making – yikes, if there were an olympic event in this regard, i would have gotten the gold medal for crazy thoughts, irrational emotions and heightened sensitivity to anything that was said to me. this is when you need to do something extra-special lovely for yourself – every single day. and nope, this isn’t advice…….just love for you and for the princess.

    you are brilliant, researching all about pregnancy and the land of babies and beyond – and your ideas about how to raise your kid are spot-on. you will be a fabulous and totally loving mom…..f*** those people who think they know what’s best for YOUR baby.