Are You a Hormonal Mom?

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One minute you’re happy as a bee, and the next you’re bawling like a baby. Being pregnant certainly comes with a number of challenges, and having mood swings is but one of them. “My mood swings started in my third trimester,” says Val Chua-Sio, mom of baby Daniel.

“I start the day normal but the next thing I know, I’m very irritable or I cry instantly for no reason. Sometimes I feel that I don’t want to have the baby. Sometimes I’m excited for it to come out. This lasted until the first month after I gave birth.”

Mae Amedo-Manalo, who is eight months pregnant with her first child, recalls having mood swings on her first and second trimesters. “I get easily stressed by little things and I cry easily. As in, I’d cry over a simple video on Facebook. I’m always worrying about how my baby is doing in my tummy. There are days when I experience a sense of heightened emotions. I’ll be super happy, but just one word from my husband will get me so angry.”

“I was generally happy during my two pregnancies but there was a time that I would be so cheerful one day and all suplada the next,” recalls Cheng Guzman-Duran, mom of two.

Don’t be alarmed if you experience mood swings when you’re expecting. After all, you are going through some massive physical and emotional changes. Plus, you must be worrying about all sorts of stuff as well. You might be thinking about whether you’re capable enough to take care of your baby or what kind of a mother you want to be.

Mood swings are caused by different factors. It may be attributed to changes in your metabolism and hormone levels, stress, and fatigue. Cheng observes, “I had pre-eclampsia on both pregnancies which may have contributed to my mood swings. It also didn’t help that I had to watch my diet towards the second trimester.  I had to cut down my salt intake. When I realized that there is a compelling reason to watch my diet, it contributed a lot to my mood swings. I’m a hearty eater and I really enjoy eating. No holds barred!”

While Val, Mae, and Cheng knew that mood swings are to be expected during pregnancy, it soon took a toll on their lives as they tried to learn how to manage their condition.

“I did expect these mood swings because my mother told me about it. But knowing about something is different from actually experiencing it. I got stressed at work because I couldn’t function well. I got stressed over the physical changes because I couldn’t eat so well. It also caused stress in my relationship with my husband because we would end up fighting at times,” says Mae.

Cheng remembers being extra irritated over one colleague. “I remember during my second pregnancy, there was a male officemate who was temporarily assigned to our Manila office (he was a Filipino working in Singapore) and I absolutely didn’t want to work with him! Lucky for me (or for him), the project was finished ahead of time and he went back to our Singapore office.”

The mood swings greatly affected Val’s relationship with her husband. She says, “It came to a point where we were not talking for two days because I just didn’t feel like talking to him. This was during the eight month. When we talked about it, it seemed to him that I wasn’t happy at all even if I say that I’m excited.”

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Managing mood swings

Most women eventually manage their mood swings successfully. Some try relaxation techniques, yoga, and meditation. Others take really good care of themselves by eating well, sleeping soundly, and making sure they don’t expose themselves to potentially stressful situations. However, if your mood swings get too frequent and intense and you find yourself losing sleep over it, consult your doctor immediately.

Cheng says, “In the office, whenever I feel grumpy, I just look at my eldest son’s picture (I have lots on my desk and phone) and I feel a bit calmer. It also helped that my officemates adjusted to me. Being a first-time mom and then getting pregnant again six months post-partum was a lot to handle!”

She says, “At home, my mood swings were tempered by my eldest son. Whenever I come home from the office, I would play with him, breastfeed him, and take care of him.”

She also took long showers to relax her and clear her mind.

Val says, “My ObGyne told me to just relax and think that whatever I’m feeling, it’s because of the hormones. But that didn’t work. Instead what I did was to talk to my husband, and we decided that whenever my mood switches, he’d just cuddle me. We would just talk and talk and talk about it. Even if I began to cry, we just talk and he tries to be hilarious. I think that helped a lot.”

Talking to her husband helped Mae as well. She says, “I tell him all that I am experiencing, and I am grateful that he really listens and supports me. Most importantly, prayer is the key. When I pray to God, that’s when I know it’s going to be alright.”