Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Standard Issue Blues

If anyone happened to be hanging around an elementary school in the greater Salt Lake area around eleven yesterday morning they would've witnessed a very pregnant woman slip into full-on nervous breakdown mode.

Loud, pathetic sobs over the seemingly innocuous. 

After a morning filled with sameness.  Breakfast for Violet, picking up toys, cleaning, unloading the dishwasher, picking up toys... Did I mention picking up toys?

Later.  Violet, freshly bathed, teeth brushed and finally wrestled into clean clothes.  At this very pregnant juncture I require a rest after clothing my own enormous body (putting on socks?  a fucking marathon!)  let alone a squirming, busy toddler with shit to do

Dogs need to be walked.  Milo never stops barking.  Throwing the frisbee over and over again to tire Milo out and there's Violet, a few yards away, standing victoriously atop a muddy embankment.  I see what's about to happen and begin lumbering toward her as the scene unfolds, slow-motion, before I can stop her.

She plops happily down in the mud at the top of the little hill and shouts WEEEEEE!  She's mimicking all the sledding she does with her papa, see?  But there's no snow.  No sled.  Only mud.  All over my baby.  Panting and heaving I finally reach her but it's too late. 

She is covered in mud. 

I pluck her up and the mud smears all over the brand new tent/shirt I'd put on this morning to cover my ever-expanding body.  I had planned on dropping the dogs at home and heading straight to work where I'd meet Serge for The Violet Shuffle in the parking lot.

And then a full day of work.  Home at eleven for another night of achy non-sleep only to begin it all again the next day.

It seem so stupid now, but the mud, Milo's incessant barking and the need to go home and change clothes... I lost it, man.  Loud sobbing, drowned out by Milo's demands I throw the frisbee again and again and again and again and again.  I feel bullied by my own dogs.  Enraged at their constant demands but guilty if I don't comply. 

Sobbing so hard I can't catch my breath as I drive home to the tune of Milo, still barking.  But I can't really cry, even though, dammit, sometimes a good cry is all you need.  Because I don't want to scare my child who, angry at being torn away from the muddy hillside, is doing a pretty good job at dominating my cries, anyway.  Me sobbing, Violet screaming, Milo barking.  What a scene.

I guess the little things add up and pretty soon you've got a storm on your hands. 

I could chalk it up to hormones.  It might be.  But I feel depression settling in.  It's been building the whole of December.  A while back Serge wrote about the blues:  "My blues come on like a lot of people's probably. Slow. Like cars poking around Christmas lots, far from the store doors, just looking for any damn spot they can find. Eventually they find one and park and that's when I have to just deal with it all."

And that's it really.  Standard issue blues.  We all endure it at one time or another, yeah?  No special depression that deserves extra attention.  No  wrist cutting over here.  No thoughts of suicide.  No hitting the bottle excessively (unfortunately).  No violent outburts to warrant concern from friends and family.  Just a subtle sinking into a black hole after days and days and days of the same shit over and over again.  An intense melancholy, the kind that everyone goes through, which makes me feel like an asshole for even mentioning it... you know?

Reader Comments (25)

Yes. I know. I'm feeling them, too; the standard issue blues. But maybe just knowing you're not the only one makes them a little less miserable. It did for me, anyway.


December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

I'm 39 weeks pregnant with my second and was totally there not too long ago. Stressed about preparing for baby/holidays/maternity leave along with regular every day hassles of work, motherhood and being a wife. And people (husband/boss) don't seem to be as sympathetic the second time around, when in reality it's harder.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Me too, man. Everyday is such a grind - get up, get self and baby ready, go to work, come home, make/eat dinner, put baby to bed, put self to bed, get up with baby in the middle of night, get up in morning and do it all over again in pretty much the exact same way. No life, very little fun. It feels so relentless. Although you definitely get extra sympathy for being in the final stretch of pregnancy. The sobbing freak-out is perfectly understandable.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLK

Y'all are describing exactly how I feel, man. And it really does feel like the second pregnancy around, you don't get as much sympathy when really, it's SO much harder lugging a toddler plus fifty extra pounds around.

I want sympathy dammit! And also back rubs. And alcohol. Any kind'll do.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

Awww, wish I'd been there with a big soft hanky, a fresh shirt for you, cleaned up your baby, threw the ball for the dogs, and handed you a warm cheesy burrito that you ate while I drive you home.

Hang in there sweetie. It's a terribly blah time of year and being the heavily pregnant working mom of a toddler and two big needy dogs is no joke, as you well know.

Thinking of you and hoping you get a little respite from the blues. Your beautiful new son will surely bring some sunshine!

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeekyToe

Sometimes it's okay to retreat in your little cavern. Just make sure you are surrounded by loved ones who will tell you when it's getting scary. You are still just a cool writer.
Miss A.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss A.

Hi Monica,
I totally feel you. I go through the same fog. I know it sounds silly, but a friend recommended one of those UV lights (totally safe) that is actually prescribed for depression that worsens in the winter and HOT DAMN it works. You just sit in front of it about 30 min. a day -- you can be eating, reading, watching tv, whatever. They are expensive but come in a range of choices. I like the verilux happy light. I felt like a new person almost right away. Hope the clouds part soon for you soon.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

At a time like this, foot rubs are really nice ( to give but mostly to have). See if he'll give you a nice foot rub.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

You need a bath, and a grow light...And 6 oz of your favorite beer. And then some rubbing of something - whatever you prefer at that time, back, feet, ahem. But tomorrow Serge gets the same treatment. Seriously the grow light really helps! I started using mine while cooking dinner each night and just that extra 30-60 minutes each day of bright light helped my mood so much. You have ALL my sympathy b/c after 1 baby I swore I'd never do it again lest I go completley insane. The baby was lovely (still is 6 years later). But the pregnant alien body and the puking. NO thanks! I have no suggestions on the dog - I'd have killed mine or left it or something. And good for you for not sobbing louder than V! That right there shows you still have your wits about you even in the midst of chaos. And kudos for not just plopping her in a stroller but letting her explore. Doesn't happen often enough these days. Not much longer now and Baby B will be here and it will be all floppy tummy and funky boobs and no more puking!! Woo!

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMrsK

You need to know that you're really doing a good job at everything. You are tackling a lot of stuff all at once here and just getting through it is an amazing thing that you deserve a lot of credit for. Also, just pause and thank God for the good things: good job, healthy awsome kid, good husband, healthy pregnancy, etc. A lot of people would kill for some of that stuff. Don't know if that helps, but I hope it does. Best wishes for an awesome new year.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMCQ

check this out....the dog actually reloads this automatic fetching device with tennis balls...only $149!

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

I'm so sorry the funk has taken over. Here's the good news, the days are finally starting to get a little bit longer. Please keep us posted on any and all tips you have for mothering TWO babies, a husband and two wild dogs. I'm a few months behind you but with a similar situation. I hope the world gets a little brighter. Some days are just super sucky, though. Sounds like you found one of those days.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatyE

I'm going through the same intense melancholy that I can't seem to shake. It hit me big time the day after Christmas. I go through this every winter though, so I guess I just have to ride it out.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

Mud wash jeans! All the kids are wearin' em!|72471_baby%20boy|outfits_babyboys

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

I'll no doubt attract all sorts of wraath for this but.....go to the vet and get some sort of transquilisers for the dogs. Personally when mine used to get out of control (or when a really bad thunderstorm approaches which is all too often in the tropics) I just drop half a valium each down their throats (about 2.5mg each) just chills them out a bit so you can instill a bit of normality back into the household.

I'm not by any means suggesting you dope them up for the foreseeable future but in your current state - mid winter, late pregnancy and clearly exhausted it is one of the few things you can direct some control over.

Betters still - can your mother take the dogs for a couple of weeks?

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

This won't calm the dogs outdoors, but I swear it works inside the house....Mozart. It doesn't matter whether it's a sonata, a concerto, chamber music, a symphony, etc.....just Mozart. And the music will help you too. I promise.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

They may be all "little things" individually, but sometimes they just converge to create chaos. There are times I've fallen apart over less (like a peanut butter covered knife in the sink, for God's sake). You probably already know this, but sometimes it helps for someone else to say it's okay to giive yourself permission to be as human (and pregnant) as you need to be. Hang in there!

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

I agree with the posts that the winter/lack of light is probably a contributing factor. I feel very similar and I'm not pregnant with a toddler! Hang in there.

December 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSaffoula

Can't Serge create an artistic, super duper pan creation for you to smile at! Might change the perspective on things!

Happy New Year btw, I'm sticking around for the excitement next year!

December 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBluedan

Monica, there is a pillow out there called a Lechee. Its HUGE and its shaped sort of like a horseshoe. I know its a little late in the game but it was the saving grace for my pregnancy. Totally worth every penny. And there so didn't pay me for that plug ;)

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

I am not pregnant, have never been. But I totally understand that feeling.

And Serge's parking lot simile is so right on. It sneaks up, then one tiny little thing, something would normally be close to benign, just pushes you right over the edge.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSadie

You guys okay? Being you're so regular at posting - your doting audience gets a little nervous that something might be wrong when nothings been said for a few days. I sincerely hope all is well!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

Nevermind.... I found you on Babble. Sorry to panic, and I'm sorry too for your complete uncomfortableness (is that a word?) and Violet's cold. Let me know if you need those reinforcements sent. :)

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

ok. wow.

I so feel like this.



Only, I have no reason to. I'm fortunate enough that I don't have to work (for now). I get to live my dream and stay home with my little guy. And I'm not pregnant, but that's why I'm drunk at 2:00 in the afternoon and about to have a panick attack because my husband wants to spend the weekend away... I'm sorry.

p.s. PeekyToe, although overly perky sounds like an amazing friend, she wants to bring you a freaking warm cheesy burrito when you're sad, damn, I could use a friend like that.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFable`

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