16 weeks, totally insane and no end in sight!

by Janelle Hanchett

Hi. It’s been awhile.

I haven’t written in nearly 3 weeks. That’s the longest I’ve ever gone in the 3 years I’ve been writing this blog.

I wanted to. I mean, I tried. But I’ve been in a spot, you know, one of those dead zones where you just kind of wake up and do your thing and go to bed and that feels like enough, like all you can handle, and everything additional is too heavy.

I was already in that spot, but when one of my best friends faced a personal tragedy that rocked her to her core, I hit some mental state of feeling totally and completely lost.

Does that ever happen to you? It happens to me on a semi-regular basis. I’m going along minding my own business when all of a sudden I’m just not interested in anything. It’s like a fog descends over my eyes and into my brain. It all feels blurred and unclear, gray and, well, foggy.

Part of it is moving in with my mom. These transitions are never easy.

Part of it is that I now have to drive an hour each morning to get my 3 kids to school, and 1.5 hours to get them home. I spend at least 2.5 hours a day driving kids around. It’s not exactly an inspiring situation.

Part of it is that we don’t know where we’ll be living in a couple months, though I would like to joyfully report that I got a job teaching English at a community college about an hour away – two sections of first-year composition. Yes. So lucky. (That was not sarcasm. I am LUCKY as hell to get that job. And I am grateful and excited.)

My insomnia has reached new levels, but at least it’s consistent. I sleep from 11pm til 2:30am. Then I’m awake until 3:30. My husband’s alarm goes off at 4am. I go back to sleep at 4:30 and sleep til 6am. So I average maybe 5.5 hours a night. I wake feeling like I didn’t sleep a wink. I’m groggy and irritated and it’s like my body weighs a thousand pounds.

Do you know that feeling? The body is not rested; it’s only heavy. It’s all so heavy.

I eat crap to make myself feel better, which makes me feel worse, of course.

I regularly wake up with headaches because there’s so much tension in my neck and back and shoulders, none of which is getting released during those you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me nights.

So I’m sleeping like crap which makes me feel like crap which makes me eat crap which makes me feel worse so I sleep worse and fail to do the things that make me feel better.

(If anybody wants to hire me for a life coach, I’m totally available.)

I realize I am in control of this. I realize it’s my responsibility to change it. I realize I am in this spot because of my own rather apparent inability to snap the fuck out of a crap pattern and take care of myself.

But sometimes I just like to ride my misery as long as I can. You know, really draw it out. I like to just hold on to the inaction and insanity of doing the same damn thing each day expecting different results, which is only slightly crazier than doing the same damn thing each day expecting the same crap results.

Today I hit the end, I guess, after yelling at my husband (again) over something infinitely stupid (again).

Today I went to the gym. It took me a solid hour to drag myself into gym clothes and onto the treadmill, and I only spent 25 minutes on it. I spent 15 minutes stretching.

It was all very impressive I assure you.

But I felt better than I have in days.

In unrelated news, I’m 16 weeks pregnant, which blows me away (feels like I was just 9 weeks). I’m gonna level with you, I’m so in love with this baby I can’t quite handle it. I don’t know why. I don’t remember feeling so in love so early – maybe it’s because I know he or she is my last, or maybe it’s because I’m older, but my whole heart is with the tiny beating one in my womb, and this manifests in a warmth beyond words but also a profound fear. I haven’t felt the baby move yet, so other than the fact that I feel like crap I really don’t know I’m pregnant.

The thought keeps running through my brain “Maybe he’s gone. Maybe you’re not pregnant anymore.”

I told you. Crazy. Also, I keep feeling like this baby is a boy, but I don’t know that, and I’m probably going to be one of those assholes who doesn’t find out (which is going to have crippling consequences for my sister-in-law who’s dying to plan my ironic gender reveal party (because we all know how I feel about those fuckers.)

Incidentally, I’ve also gained like 15 pounds. UNCOOL JANELLE, uncool. I’m gonna need to nip that shit in the bud. Of course it doesn’t help that I have these super badass midwives who are like “Whatever. If you’re eating right don’t worry about it.”

Of course I haven’t been eating right. NOBODY EATS RIGHT IN THIS CONDITION. So as much as I want to use their supportive words to justify my fat ass, I know it’s actually the cookies. Winning!

You know life is pretty strange sometimes, the way it corners you in these new ways, backs you into feelings you’ve never quite felt before. I haven’t felt these before. It’s like I’m disconnected from myself. It’s like my physical and mental bodies are not unified. My body feels weak and incapable and generally shitty and my head feels lost.

All the faculties that normally pull me through are all “Fuck you, you’re on your own, bitch.”

I get angry a lot. My irritability is profound. I’ve been spending too much time on my phone, scouring social media and engaging in arguments with egotistical assholes who I really shouldn’t be wasting my time with (acting, on occasion, like an egotistical asshole myself, because let’s be honest, flame wars don’t always bring out our most mature side.)

I think I’ve been escaping through the bright lights of my iPhone.

And the worst part is the tears. I’ve never been a crier. Not that I’m too tough or have some problem with it, I’m just not super prone to tears. Now, oh lord, I cry all the time. It’s pregnancy hormones, I get it. But I feel raw and exposed and like the protection I’ve always had is gone. Now, when my feelings get hurt, I cry.

I cry from hurt feelings! Fuck me.

This is new domain.

Maybe this baby is making me softer. Maybe he’s demanding a new side of me.


It’s just the hormones. And they can BITE ME.

One of the worst parts about these mental blank spots and periods of malaise is that I feel like I’m letting you guys down. Not that this blog is like food or air or whatever, but you know, I feel like I should say something entertaining or insightful or whatever, and when I can’t think of anything and I’m unmotivated and tired, each day that goes by leaves me feeling more stressed like I’m NEVER GONNA WRITE AGAIN.

(I told you. CRAZY.)

And I explore every crevice of my brain for a something funny, something amusing at least, and all I get is “Oh my god I’m so tired.” Every crevice says “tired. Unmotivated. I gotta go to bed.”

But then I realize I can just tell you the truth. Normally life amuses me and gives me all kinds of things to write about, it sends me blog posts like pouring rain – it just dumps on my head. I don’t have to think about it. I don’t have to work at it or try or worry or even think. I sit down and the words come like water, just flowing. I laugh as I write them and I cry too sometimes, like really big ass tears (but I’m not a crier!) and I hit publish and that’s that (which is why there’s often typos).

I realize I can tell you the truth because maybe it happens to you, too, maybe not with writing but with life. I don’t know, whatever your thing is that makes you feel more alive and like you’re contributing something. Maybe work or art or cooking or singing or sewing or teaching or coaching or mothering. Whatever it is that makes you feel like you’ve got something inside that might help others, and make you unique.

And all of a sudden the energy driving that creation halts, and life sends you nothing but fog. Those days when the motivation leaves you, the inspiration slips away like your naked toddler as you try to dress her.

But then you get tired of the fog, too, and the silence, and you’re all “Well I guess I’ll have to force the issue, motherfucker,” and you move your pen and feet and hands and just start going again, forward, cause there’s no place else to go.

And you realize the blank spots must balance the vivid ones, or maybe in the end they’re one and the same anyway, and all that worry was for nothing, cause here I am, writing, even though I’ve got nothing to write.

And here I am pregnant. 16 weeks and crazy, and no end in sight. This was right before the gym. Please enjoy the hair. Yes, I went out in public like this.

Hot. Hot is the word you’re looking for.

16 weeks

  • Sarah Maren

    I love you! You’re cute and you need not worry about feeling brain dead – you are not alone there friend. 🙂 xoxo!

  • Carlisle

    Oooh. I started doing a blanket… and it’s really time-consuming and a little overwhelming (“oh, shit, it’s a project. I’ve never finished a project before. when I finish this, I will have moved towards maturity! THIS IS IT, GUYS. my moment. I will feel way better about myself. no longer will I be the slacker lazy loser. I will finally have finished something…. it’s just a fucking blanket, no big woop and your stitches suck anyway, and wouldn’t you rather look at GOOD blankets on pinterest and fantasize about what yours is going to look like and google all sorts of fabrics? because this thing will probably fall apart the moment the toddler gets her hands on it, or gets sick all over it, and then you will never wash it because it must be hand washed, that’s right, again, your stitches suck. and you will never handwash it because you don’t even have time to wash your self. it will end up either torn to shreds and covered in nasty shit and in the dumpster, a perfect symbol of your life and everything you touch, by the way. and all those months you spent sewing and cutting and perfecting? wasted. and all that time you could have spent looking at funny cat pictures. fuck it.”)

    I’m taking this blanket way too seriously. I haven’t touched it in weeks.

  • Shayla

    That is spelled hawt. You are a HAWT MAMA! And I love your face and all that fancy shit. I just touched your baby bump….awwww…..sweet widdle baby in there. Hello baby. Ok, I have dorked enough here thankyouverymuch.


    The end.

  • Renee Roncelli

    Winning!! I love it. Thank you for so eloquently and effortlessly sharing my thoughts, feelings and general meh, of life right now, too. I totally commiserate. I have been feeling so unimpressed with my own existence….. just one foot in front of the other and try to be gentle on myself. Holla!

  • Carlisle

    I really wanted to say that i just come to this blog for, well, you. you could write WHATEVER “buh buh buh, fuck this and you and that, baby toes are cute! I’m so bored, fuck you candy crush buh buh buh. the end.” and I would read it and love it. you’re awesome and real. I don’t really come here for the inspiration and the feels (oh, the feels). (even though I do LOVE that shit.) I just come here to listen to your mind. you know?

    wow, I sound like a creep. I like your writing. the end.

  • Erica / Northwest Edible Life

    Congratulations! God, pregnancy is freaking weird. I love that you love your baby already. Sorry you’re leaking from weird places (like your eyeballs). I’m sure it will get better eventually. XOXO.

  • Kat

    Loved this post, you are most definitely not alone! This reminded me of this post that I wrote a while back (Addicted to Distractions? | The Awakened Momma
    http://theawakenedmomma.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/addicted-to-distractions/) I call the fog the “freeze” because like you said you just feel so stuck. For quite a while I was frozen more often than not and I could just feel it creeping up and it was horrible. I found a way out though, I still have my shitty days and I might have several shorty days in a row but lately I don’t feel as frozen anymore so I hope that gives you some hope that you can make it out without being pulled back in.

  • Jess

    Thanks for your honesty. Sometimes that’s all i have to offer .

  • shauna

    Sweet honey in the rock. When i was in my 1st trimester w no 2 i was as crazy and sobbed everyday. Ugly whiney crying. Id watch those soldier come home youtube videos and loudly bawl so my poor 2 y/o would hear me start to cry and beg me to stop. Eat drink and do whatever you need to to get through the current hell on wheels youre on. I f d ways to keep it super simple. I gave my fishtank to the neighbors so i wouldnt have to clean or feed them. I let my kid watch tv. I brought a tray to the couch so he could build blocks w nomore than 4 blocks bcuz lord knows i couldnt lift my arm any higher than that. It is insane that somehow its all worth it but it so so is. My babyturns 4 today and i dont hve to tell you what it all means!

  • emma

    Oh man! All I can say is things will get better. Well that’s the crap I’m saying to myself a sort of mantra as I’m having a shit moment, week, month, year, life. .. you get the idea. No restful sleep is a killer and makes ya bonkers. Thanks for the post :ox

  • SL

    Please, watch this and tell me that my one good deed for the day is to have made you smile. Lie if you have to, because I’m a fellow prego at 36 weeks and a 2.5 yo toddler – I deserve to have made somebody smile ;):*

  • Sue

    I can feel the heavy feeling that you went through Rene. I think all people went through something that is almost impossible to bear. It will just matter on how you handle them. Maybe you need to go through some meditation to learn how to focus. You don’t get a deep sleep because you’re always worried. You need to free your mind from stress.

  • Julie

    I needed this. We’re moving to Maryland. From Seattle. In January. And we’re doing it all ourselves. My house is littered with boxes and newspaper for packing and my mom’s coming for Christmas (what was I thinking?). I just want to escape under the covers and never come out most days, just wishing I could snap my fingers and our entire household would be moved. But I get up and do the things on my to-do list that day and just exist. This is the way it will be for a while until mid-January when I might be able to relax and quit acting like a robot. So I get it, and it actually made me tear up a little. But congrats on the new job! I haven’t done any blog writing in months, but you’ve inspired me. Now if I could just remember where I put my laptop charger.

  • dina boyling

    I have never posted a comment anywhere online however your blog is wonderful. Thanks for having the courage and the ability to describe what I have thought and felt so long. It is almost like you have read my mind and put it into words. I am fortunate that I have a stable job and home however everything else feels like you are describing me. It is great that by laughing at your descriptions I end up laughing at myself too.

  • GG

    I have had your same freakout, insanity, insomnia over many different things in my life – learning how to take care of yourself even when the chips are all the way down is one of life’s biggest lessons and is a constant work in progress. Here’s a tip for neck, back, shoulder tension – to release it get yourself a tennis ball and put it in the triangular space between your spine and shoulder blade and lie down on it, putting pressure on it (as much as you can take), lift that side arm and draw circles on the ceiling either w your hand or elbow. If you’re anything like me you will either see a blinding light or hear a bunch of crunching/popping of the breaking up of concrete like hardened tissue (or both). This helped me with headaches and TMJ issues too. Godspeed, my friend. If anyone can rock this life, it’s you!!!!

  • Kim

    You’re great. Thanks for sharing your struggles and making the rest of us feel better for ours. I recommend prenatal yoga and acupuncture to balance you out. If you can find the time/money. Also, have you read ‘Shitty Mom’? Soooo funny and will make u feel better. Lots of love

  • MomtoThree

    Hi J,
    Stay with it. You *can* do this. In a very short time you’ll be feeling the butterfly caresses inside as baby starts to kick. That will ease your fears and doubts about baby’s well-being. And you will truly connect, place your hand on that bump as an elbow or heel chases across your tum. I send you peace and calmness vibes. If you visualize this baby in your arms, still pink and crumpled from the delivery, it will make you smile. And laughter and smiles, my friend, are the best medicine.
    Besides, your writing still kicks ass! Believe …

  • Savanna

    Sometimes you just need a break from blogging because the world around you is so chaotic, but also draining. I totally get it and understand and I hope that things start looking up more. I think this baby might just make you softer…. those last babies have some special f’n powers. Keep your chin up! Those fucking pregnancy hormones do a number, it sucks!

    Just so you know, I think that you are awesome 😉

  • peggy miller

    Hello. I was getting kind of worried about you since you didn’t say anything for three weeks. I’m glad you’re still there. It seems like everyone’s having a rough stretch right now. My mom’s in the ICU at the Cleveland Clinic and it’s really wrecking me. So here’s what I want to say to you and all the other pregnant Mom’s and hard working parents out there having a rough time: be easy on yourself. It is legitimately *hard* right now. Take care of yourself. And take care of each other as best you can. Every tiny ounce of help I get right now from friends and strangers means the world to me so I’m doing my best to be as nice as I can be to other people when I can. That being said, I wished some Jehovah’s Witnesses a Merry Christmas last week. Take care, Janelle. If you were around, I’d share my Christmas cookies with you.

  • Stephanie

    You’ll be feeling that baby move very soon. Hell, I can feel that baby moving from here!

  • heidi

    I feel the urge to coddle you as if to comfort myself retrospectively from the past two months. I am 12 weeks and was not prepared for how I felt during this pregnancy. The complete exhaustion and fog and lack of will to do ANYTHING blindsided me. I felt like a failure, a leech, worthless. So depressed. Hating myself. I would sit my son in front of tv for hours during the day because I was too exhausted to leave bed or the couch. All the while living in a house we bought in August that has a kitchen that is falling apart. That I tiptoe in and out of because it disgusts me so much. We have barely done anything to it since moving in. Then, the last week, I felt the baby move. I had a couple days without nausea, a couple days where my energy came back, and things have been.coming back to balance. I am making my way back to human. Eat less shit, poop more, move a little, you’ll be brand new. It WILL pass!

  • jackie

    Glad to know i’m in good company (10 weeks)….the whole not wanting to do anything, and it’s days before christmas and we work everyday and there won’t be time to shop so i’ll just not buy anyone anything….shit. Also the whole “maybe the baby is gone and I’m not pregnant” feelings. Yes!
    I’m proud of you for 25 minutes plus 15 stretching. THe stretching is just as good for you as the treadmill, don’t kid yourself. you were doing something other than being a lump on the couch, plus you were WORKING on yourself. Reducing stress, all that stuff. Try stretching 15 minutes a day, no treadmill and maybe your insomnia will go away. I think you’re a goddess for it!
    Congrats on the job, this is a good direction.

  • Virginia

    Wow so much going on and not enough energy for it all! I feel ya minus the pregnancy part! I’d love to write more natter but my babies are demanding my attention (yep, babies, two under two, who’s crazy?). Congrats, Janelle!

  • Heather

    SO SO HOT!!!! <3 You know, I believe that these times are necessary for evolving. I know that sounds all deep and stupid all at the same time. But we all have those times. The times when you are just TIRED, and don't want to. That's it….you just don't want to. I think those times are as important as the ones when we are flying easily. They help us to recharge ourselves, and get us ready for the next step. Maybe I am full of shit….okay, I am most definitely full of shit. I look back on the times when I was just literally gliding along through the hours of the day, waiting for some kind of inspiration of life to hit me. Then one day, I felt different. I don;t know…I think it's all important. Every bit of what we feel, and go through. It's just helping you to the next phase. You know….almost every weak when I sit down to write a new post, I think…Oh shit….what if I have nothing to say. what if it's really stupid and no one laughs. I haven't yet reached the place where I feel it all flows really easily yet. Maybe someday. 😉 You my friend are GORGEOUS!!! In every possible way!!

  • Heather

    So I meant every *week! Not every weak…..but yeah! See…full of shit!!!!

  • Julie S

    Go easy on yourself. With so many changes, inside and outside of yourself, it’s a fucking accomplishment to get out of bed each morning. I’ve been having the same issues (so much fog) with writing, but I have nothing like your excuse. One foot in front of the other. *hug* And congratulations, mama.

  • lisaeggs

    I had my last baby a year ago. I was 34. I felt exactly the same way. It was so much harder than my pregnancies in my 20’s. I’m so glad I did it because now we have this hilarious little baby boy who we’re all so crazy about. Sometimes I think, what if I didn’t do it? We wouldn’t have him! And congrats on the job!!! I wish I could sign up for that class! But I’m in New England and buried in a foot of ice and snow. Also I have to go clean out the tub because yup, he pooped in the tub yet again and he’s finally asleep so now I can scrub it. See what you have to look forward to?! 😉 So glad you wrote this but never feel bad if you just can’t write, you’re making a baby and that’s no small shakes! xoxox

    • Heather

      Lisa…..my daughter pooped in the tub EVERY damn time I gave her a bath for like a year! I was cleaning poop soup every freakin day it felt like!!! I invested in bleach and exam gloves like what my Gynecologist uses to give me a pap smear. It was the only way I could handle cleaning up wet shit out of the tub was with gloves. YUCK! haha….Oh the joys of motherhood….

      • lisaeggs

        Heather, my daughter did the same thing! After a while got really good at scooping her out of the tub right before she would do it 🙂

        And Janelle, I never felt my babies move until the middle of my pregnancies, much later than you’re “supposed” to feel them. I know how you feel because it always stressed me out. But here they all are, all fine and moving around and everything 🙂 xoxoxo

  • Kateri Von Steal

    🙂 Oh dear… you are not alone.

    And, perhaps going to the gym now and then will help keep you elevated from this funk.

    Which, you are right, is probably 99% hormonal.

    If you think he’s a boy.. then HE IS A BOY.. trust your instincts.

    You will get through this.

    Congrats on the job LADY!

  • Laurel

    I read this whole thing and I was right there with you and the heaviness and inertia and eating/feeling like crap (except I’m not pregnant!) and even though I might be one of those egotistical assholes, I wanted to pet your hair and tell you it’s all going to be okay. And then I got to the picture and the expression on your face made me pee an little laughing. Not only are you HOT, you have a sense of humor that always helps put it all into perspective. Hang in there, mama. xo

  • Doris

    I suffer from depression horribly during the holidays. I don’t feel quite so alone now! Thank you for sharing what you’re going through! Chin up honey! This too shall pass as they say.

  • Sara

    You are amazing. I’m 8 weeks along with number 2 and feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I can barely get through reading a blog post let alone write one. Peace and love. Big hugs.

  • Annette MacKay

    Hot! Yes, hot!

    I love the way you tell it like it is. So glad I am not living your life today. 😉 You’ll get no platitudes from me. I remember that time. So god damn tired. And with other kids to mother and all that driving, it’s remarkable that you can still sling a reasonable sentence together.

    The good part is this too shall pass.

    Much love

  • Roxanna Smith

    I love you. You make me laugh and feel compassion and empathy at once. You are growing a being…take it easy on yourself. And yes, I enjoyed the hair. haha.

  • Bridgette

    Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love you more you write this. Yep. I have those periods of things feeling heavy all the time — and I am not pregnant. Be loving and patient with yourself. You are awesome. Obviously. Love ya.

  • Kristi

    Add me to the list that thinks you’re AWESOME & HOT! The fact that you are still putting one foot in front of the other with everything you have going on, is really amazing! When I was pregnant, I read a book that made a statement that when you are pregnant, GROWING A HUMAN BEING!, that it is basically the equivalent of someone climbing Mt. Everest. So, even on those days you sit and watch TV, don’t forget, you still climbed Mt. fucking Everest that day! So, give yourself a break. Be good to you. Don’t worry even for a second about us. We’ll be here when/if you post something. ((HUG))

  • Liz Horton

    I love it. Feeling that way right now and I am not even pregnant! Thanks for speaking your truth so the rest of us don’t feel like we are struggling alone. Hang in there- little baby kicks might give you that little boost of energy you need. Or, they might just make you pee your pants.

  • Sarina

    Hot. Smokin hot.

  • Sara

    I feel like that all the time and I don’t have a reason for feeling like that! Not pregnant, no friend who got sick, only one child, a man who loves me and is there for me… I could go on! Thank you for putting it into words! I feel better just reading your post! Catharsis!

    P.S. So HOT!

  • Lizzeth

    I like your blog a lot! This is the first time I enjoy a blog so much. I usually get bored of those “perfect parenting” blogs out there but yours is inspiring, touching, sarcastic and extremely funny. I can’t wait to read more.. By the way it is 2:22am and I can’t sleep. Yeah a working mother of two lil ones.. A 3 and a 2 yo and I have to work tomorrow.. But your blog doesn’t let me go back to sleep. Thank you Janelle.. Lol ( yes being sarcastic)

  • Kelly

    Aaaah that just brought me back to being 16 weeks. Actually, I felt that way like 70% of my pregnancy. Thanks for writing this. Everyone else was always like, “Aren’t you so EXCITED and HAPPY how do you FEEEEEEL” and I just always said, “Yeah, so excited, so great, listen are you going to finish that ice cream?”