It is entirely normal to get bored during pregnancy, especially during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, when the novelty of being pregnant has worn off and the annoying physical symptoms of pregnancy usually kick in full-force. But, before discussing prenatal boredom, it's important to understand the difference between boredom and depression.
While post-partum depression receives a great deal of media attention, nearly 10% of women experience some kind of depression during their pregnancies. Depression is characterized by feelings of persistent sadness, inadequacy or anxiety. If you feel worthless, or display a complete loss of interest in every day life, or if you withdraw from your usual activities, you may be experiencing depression. If you feel depressed, it's important to contact a trusted health care provider and/or a therapist for help.
Prenatal boredom is usually referred to as the "pregnancy blahs" and is characterized primarily by a lack of interest or engagement in your current situation. Simply put, you may get tired of being pregnant. This is usually aggravated by the fact that everyone around you seems to focus more on your new baby than on you as a person. Complete strangers come up to you in the grocery store and rub your belly or hand out completely useless advice. Your family may give you baby clothes--for your birthday. You may feel like you are losing your identity, and this can contribute to boredom.
If you are experiencing the prenatal "blahs," it's important to break out of your rut by doing activities that reinforce your independence and your identity. Following are some ideas for reinforcing your identity and overcoming prenatal boredom:
See Your Friends
Once the baby arrives, you won't have as much time for socializing. Make seeing your friends a priority. You can host a girls' night out, meet friend for lunch, or have a date to see the latest movie.
You may feel awkward or ungainly while pregnant, so it's important to do the little things that make you feel pretty and pampered. Now's the time to get a really chic haircut, and get a mani/pedi. Treat yourself to a pregnancy massage. Buy cute maternity clothes so you still feel fashionable. Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you have to look dowdy.
Learn Something New
Use the nine months of pregnancy to learn a new skill. Take up a language you've always wanted to study. Learn to cook or decorate cakes. Take a few classes at your local community college. Staying engaged intellectually will make you feel more vibrant and alive.
Connect with Your Spouse
The first few months after you have the baby home can be really trying on your marriage. Use this time to really connect with your partner. Go out on date nights, or make a running date to see a movie every Friday night. If you're taking a class, take one with your husband or partner. Connect with him on a level that has nothing to do with the baby--but everything to do with being a couple.
Try to maintain some independence and find something that will engage your interests while you are pregnant, and you have a great chance of nipping prenatal boredom in the bud. Once your bring the baby home, you'll be glad you spent the previous 9 months having fun!
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.