Pregnancy has been an interesting process to share with my clients. Normally my life is pretty private and separate. I remain veiled so that my clients may project whatever thoughts and feelings they have onto me to best process how they need to. That has changed a lot since being pregnant. I have a very personal and very big life event happening right in front of their eyes. Some are curious, naturally. Some are excited, I’ve been a weekly part of their life for years and they are happy for me and my husband. Some are annoyed. Some appear uncomfortable. And I understand all of it. I can’t say I love the comments from the people that feel inconvenienced by my current state, but I get it. So here are some of the things that are going through my head, or taking place behind the scenes as a pregnant therapist.
To my clients:
1) I nap between sessions. Or at least try to. I’m exhausted. Because I want to give you the best of me I try to catch little snoozes when I can. Or at least lay down to take the pressure off my back.
2) I want to share details with you. I LOVE that you are excited and happy for me! I care about you and it’s nice to know that sentiment is returned. I do still have to find the line of appropriateness. This is still your session and still about you.
3) I’m probably sitting on an ice pack. Again, my back hurts.
4) I get frustrated when you don’t understand schedule changes. I’m human, I experience frustration too. And right now I have a LOT of doctors’ appointments. And honestly I’m at the whim of my doctor’s schedule; I don’t get many choices for appointment times. I always give you plenty of notice (I’m talking weeks ahead), offer comparable alternative times, and apologize for the inconvenience. When you get angry with me it’s frankly frustrating. You’ve needed to reschedule, you’ve cancelled, and you’ve straight up no showed for appointments. This is probably the first time I’ve asked for any accommodation.
5) I feel super awkward when the baby kicks during sessions. And I wonder if you can see it.
6) I used to remember everything we talked about last session without effort. With this new pregnancy brain I have to scan my notes from last session before you come in.
7) I think about, and worry about, how my clients will be impacted when I’m out for delivery and postpartum.
8) Sometimes I feel like I am letting you down by taking time away to start my family.
9) I probably have to pee.
10) I spent DAYS thinking about, and seeking consultation from other therapists about, whether I should tell you about my pregnancy or wait for you to ask. If I tell you, am I making it about me? If I don’t, am I putting you in an awkward position to ask as you see my body change? I agonized over this. This is how much I care about making you feel comfortable and prioritized.
11) I feel less confident right now. I look less professional with my pregnancy shoes and round belly. Because of pregnancy brain I forget terms and falter my words. And it impacts my working self-esteem.
12) I feel vulnerable wearing something so personal in plain view.
13) I worry that my pregnancy is difficult for you. I know so many women have struggled through miscarriages and infertility. Some of your stories I know about, others I’m sure I don’t. I hope I am not hurting you.
14) I REALLY want to put my feet up during session. But I don’t want to lose any more professional credibility than I already have.
15) I’m terrified of the logistical nightmare of cancelling all my sessions when I go into labor. What in the world will that look like?
16) Sometimes it is hard for me to prioritize all of you when there are so many big changes happening in my life and to my body. Sometimes I want to focus on me.
17) Despite backaches, bladder issues, pregnancy brain, fluctuating emotions, and general discomfort, I’m trying my hardest every day to still be the best I can for you.