DEAR NATALIE: My wedding was last month and I have to say I feel seriously down now that it is over. I really miss all of the excitement. I know this sounds so bad, but I really miss the attention, too. My life really isn’t all that exciting and the wedding gave me something to look forward to. I’m in a bit of a slump. My husband keeps telling me to get over it and that we need to move on, but I’m having a hard time. He’s ready to start house hunting and planning for kids, but I just feel so sad that my wedding is over. Can you help me out of this funk? I know I sound ridiculous, but I still feel sad. --WEDDING BLUES
DEAR WEDDING BLUES: I have read that the most challenging year of marriage for many is the first year. The wedding excitement is over. The attention has moved on to the next engaged couple. The newly married couple are left to settle in. The settling part can definitely feel like a come down from all of that party planning and dress shopping and general giddiness that surrounds such a happy time. It is natural to feel a bit let down once it is all over. Part of that is society’s fault for creating such a ridiculous amount of energy around this one day. But, now that the wedding is over, it is a great time to think about what it is you want from your new life together. Take this energy lull and make it work for you. It is okay to feel depressed. It is okay to feel sad. It was a special moment in your life and now that it’s over, you may be wondering, “Is that all?” But, fear not. The adventure is really just beginning, a new page is being turned and that blank space is yours to fill however you choose. It seems as though your husband has already moved into this headspace and is looking forward to house hunting and family planning. It’s okay not to be there, but also allow yourself the mental freedom to start thinking about what you want the next phase to look like. What kind of home do you want to create together? What does that look like? Setting goals for yourself over the next six months to a year can begin to take you out of the past and bring you into the future. If your life doesn’t feel as exciting as you would like, what are some things you can interject into your world to uplift you? Perhaps you can learn another language, take cooking classes, focus on volunteer work or engage your friends more often and in meaningful ways. It only takes a few small shifts in our mind to make things line up in the physical world. But until then, just sit with your feelings. Allow yourself time to grieve the end of one chapter, but then give yourself permission to celebrate all of the amazing people that you have in your life, like your new husband!
DEAR NATALIE: We’ve been trying for a baby now for several months and nothing has happened yet. My family is being supportive but they just can’t seem to keep to themselves. Everyone keeps giving me advice on why I’m not pregnant yet and what I can fix to get pregnant. I’m so frustrated and embarrassed. I feel like I never should have mentioned that we were trying to have a baby. My husband says to just shrug it off, but it’s a direct attack on me, not him. What should I say to my well-meaning relatives who are continually hurting my feelings? --LEAVE ME ALONE
DEAR LEAVE ME ALONE: Well-meaning people are the worst. It always makes me think of this: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That quote from the twelfth century leads me to believe that humans have been well meaning and unintentionally hurtful since the beginning of time. Women’s bodies are always up for public debate and discussion, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that people feel as though they have the right to tell you exactly what you are doing wrong with your own body. Being in a vulnerable emotional state, it can be hard to stand up for yourself. And why should you have to? It’s nobody’s business when and how and if you are pregnant. You are allowed to be direct about how you feel. You can even keep it light by saying, “I’d rather not talk about it right now. I don’t want to jinx anything!” If someone pries further, you can try this: “I want to remain as relaxed as possible about it and talking about it causes unnecessary stress for me.” Your husband can also feel free to stand up for you at the next family gathering and reiterate that your body is not up for discussion. Creating a family takes time for some and there is no wrong way to have a family. Whether you become pregnant, use a surrogate, or adopt, a family grows in your heart, not just under it. Do not allow yourself to be limited by other people’s narrow-mindedness around the topic. There are lots of support groups out there if you find yourself needing to talk about it freely with other families going these issues. At the end of the day, get the support you need and allow yourself to create healthy boundaries with your well-meaning family.
Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Celebrate the people in your life. When someone gets promoted, when they get a new job, when they buy their first home or when they adopt that puppy from the shelter, celebrate them. We don’t have to wait for the traditional moments in life to tell people that they are worthy of love and support. Celebrate the big and small things. It will improve your relationships, too!
Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)