Having Mixed Feelings while Pregnant

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    I’m sorry but this post is just going to be a bit jumbled and I will edit it later.

    I’m 17 weeks pregnant and I live abroad.  I’m 31 and my husband is 34, and we live in Japan.  I was working full-time as an ESL teacher last year.  Then I quit to live with my now husband and I got pregnant when I wasn’t in a good financial spot yet.  However, I started working part-time side jobs and the work as been inconsistent and I’ve been going through dry spells.  Plus, the places I work for aren’t supplying me with students and I’m kind of glad that I’m leaving at the end of December.  I’m also seeing this as a sign that I’m sooooo done with English teaching and I’m trying to find online work before the baby comes.  If I try to find office work, I know I’m not going to get hired because of the pregnancy.  This is one giant catch-22 that I can’t seem to get out of yet.

    Now, with my husband.  Sigh… He bought a house out in the country side that needs to be redone and properly aired out.  I’m also really allergic to mold and the house needs to be cleaned up to fix the mold issue.  He also is working really hard to get us out there and moved.  I feel like he has painted me into a corner because I don’t have any job prospects out there, I don’t have a car and I don’t have the money to buy one, and I’m away from most of his family and I don’t know anyone out there.  He was upset for me for not being able to enjoy the house when we went there last week and we had a discussion of things that we can do to help the air quality and mold spores.  However, it’s driving me crazy that he is trying to make all the financial stuff down to be 50/50 for every little thing.  Meanwhile, my family has had to send me money a few times to help me out and they’re caring for my brother who has a brain injury back in the states. This is causing so much unnecessary stress on me and it’s not good for the baby.

    My husband wants to create his own business and wants to work as a truck driver to get started.  However, I’m having issues with him not wanting to do a job that makes more money, and he has resentment towards me for not making enough money right now.  I want to be able to work, but I’m really frustrated that my options have kind of dwindled down a bit.  The Japanese part-time jobs don’t really pay a lot either.  So, I’m looking really hard for internet jobs and I decided that I want to play piano  again after years of not doing it since I came to Japan.  Maybe it was my own mental blocks or maybe the physical opportunities just didn’t arrive.  I felt like I was being constantly blocked from doing what I wanted to be all along, which is a performer. Yesterday he criticized me for not wanting to do harder work, ie, working at a cash register, jobs that involve manual labor while I’m pregnant.  I also tried applying for a Japanese transcription company and then their test of audio was all in Japanese and my Japanese isn’t up to do that level.  My husband was upset that I didn’t want to do it.  It would have taken me way longer than someone who is completely fluent and I would have to rely on him to edit things for me.

    After talking to my mother, she really thinks that I should consider going into piano teaching as soon as I move out there.  I’m not opposed to it, and after a couple of years of working under Japanese people, it’s starting to make more sense of being my own boss.  I’m feeling really guilty that I even have to talk to my mom at all about him, but I’m feeling really lost and depressed about the whole situation.  I was actually thinking of breaking up with him months ago over the whole house fiasco, but his parents encouraged us to stay together.  Then I found out I was pregnant and now we have to figure out how to make this more of a partnership.

    So, I’m feeling like my husband is being selfish in choosing this place in the first place.  I understand his reasonings, but it’s out in the middle of nowhere, it needs a lot of work, and Japanese houses are a loss in investment when you put money into the house.  He also didn’t include me in this entire process and went ahead and did everything himself.  He’s now upset that I don’t agree with all of his plans and it’s making me think that I might have to leave him to go back home and start over without him.  I guess my main issues are that I’m not going to get a lot of support when the baby arrives, I don’t know anyone out there, and my husband is making me feel guilty for having to rely on him when I feel like he put me in this position to begin with.


    I haven’t been perfect in all of this either but I want to feel like I can at least calm down about this.


    Dear Aim:

    I will start with a little summary of your June 2016 thread because it can help me understand your current situation better: when you were about 13 your suffered from Lyme Disease and were taking a medicine that damaged your digestive tract. This was a start of digestive problems, back pain, adrenal gland problems and elevated anxiety related to these health problems.

    As a child, you “always wanted to be a performer.. always playing violin or piano or singing in recitals.. loved it”. You were “a good student and worked hard in college.. majored in piano”, but you suffered from performance anxiety playing the piano, and when you graduated, you felt that you didn’t meet the expectations of most of your professors.

    Soon after graduating,  you left for Japan by yourself, but returned to the US about a year later, earlier than planned, because of worsening health problems. Back in the US, at the age of about 24, you lived with our parents for three years. You weren’t able to find a full time job, worked a few part time jobs, including one as a pet-sitter/dog walker, but wanted something “a lot more exciting”, and you were “constantly thinking about going back to Japan”. Sometime during those three years you violently vomited and diagnosed with a “severe case of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth” that caused you severe back pain and inability to sleep properly. You also found out that your “adrenal glands were shot” because of stress over the years.

    Back in June 2016, you wrote: “I felt like I have been held back and missed out on so many things because these anxieties and uncomfortable feelings that I haven’t been able to get over yet. I feel so close and yet so far away still to being my best self”.

    Three and a half years later, you are 31, living in Japan, married and 17 weeks pregnant. Last year, you worked full time as an ESL teacher in Japan, quit to live with your now husband, got pregnant, started working part time side jobs that don’t pay much, working inconsistently, “going through dry spells”.

    You currently feel that you are “soooo done with English teaching”, you know that as a pregnant woman you are not likely to find office work, and you are trying to find online work. You “tried applying for a Japanese transcription company” but (I figure) your old test anxiety was activated when you found out you would have to take “a test of audio (that) was all in Japanese”. Your mother thinks you should work as a piano teacher, be your own boss, once you move to the country.

    Your husband bought a house “out in the country side. You are very allergic to mold, and to make the house livable for you, it needs to “be cleaned up to fix the mold issue”. Last week you spent time there in the house, with your husband, and didn’t enjoy it, because of the “air quality and mold spores”. You are not looking forward to moving there because you “don’t have any job prospects out there.. don’t have a car.. don’t have money t buy one.. don’t know anyone out there”.

    Your husband “is trying to make all the financial stuff down to be 50/ 50 for every little thing”, and it is driving you crazy. Your parents who live in the US, caring for your brother who has a brain injury, sent you money a few times. Your husband plans to “create his own business” and wants to work as a truck driver to get started. You want him to take on a better paying job and he resents you for “not making enough money right now”, and he criticized you most recently for “not wanting to do harder work, ie., working at a cash register, jobs that involve manual labor”.

    Also recently, you decided that you “want to play piano again after years of not doing it… being constantly blocked from doing what I wanted to be all along, which is a performer”.

    You thought about breaking up with your husband “over the whole house fiasco”, but his parents encouraged you to stay with him (that happened before you got pregnant). Currently, you are still thinking about leaving him and going “back home and start over without him”.

    My current input: you can’t keep running away and starting over because you did just that before and ended in the same place repeatedly. It is time to start over where you will soon be -in that house in the middle of nowhere (once it’s cleared of mold and is safe for you and your baby to live in). This is your opportunity to experience the much needed calm you needed for so very long.

    At times you want excitement: when you did the pet sitter part time, you wanted to do something more exciting. You had many exciting ideas and plans, but none came to fruition. You recently got bored of teaching English, and so very done with it. And most recently you are back to your childhood dream of performing in front of an audience.

    You have been caught for many years between a childhood dream, a need for excitement and adventure and a Lyme disease, stomach distress, health problems, and elevated anxiety. Time to exit this in-between state of mind and life, and settle into a calm life experience for yourself, and for your baby.

    You can still play the piano, in that house in the country side, but time to let go of the dream of performing. The dream has that youthful energy in it, and it feels intense, doesn’t it. But from what you shared, you are not good enough with the piano to be a celebrity performer, and you are 31. Almost all of us have to let go of those old dreams fueled by that youthful magical thinking and imagining, so special to childhood.

    You seem to have your husband’s parents’ support, they wanted you to remain married to their son even before you got pregnant. Take advantage of that. I am guessing it means that your husband himself is motivated to stay married to you, it being that his parents support that.

    Work with him, work with your husband as a team. Lower your expectations of living that exciting life of youthful imagination, and live the life that is available to you. Live a life of calm- that will help your health. This is what you needed before, what you need now, being pregnant, and what you will need as you take on the most important job you will ever have, the most important job for any woman, that of being a good mother.






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    • This reply was modified 6 months ago by anita.

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for the response and thank you for referring back to my original post from a couple of years ago.  I was actually going to delete this post but I didn’t get to it in time.  Also, I’m not even sure that I can delete this after posting it.  I talked things over with my husband and we’re fine now.

    While I mostly agree with your response, I don’t agree that I should stop performing music altogether.  Your snap judgment of not being a good enough musician came across as kind of rude and insensitive to be perfectly honest since you don’t really know me or how I play.  The problem is I always ran away from it because I was constantly feared of being judged, and this a profession where people are always judged. I get that.

    I never said anything about being a celebrity performer.  When I was much younger, I pretty much wrecked my body and ignored everything outside the music bubble.   I’m extremely rusty now but I worked extremely hard and music is such a part of inner core and soul. It sounds extremely selfish to you but I’ve tried doing the typical 9-5 and I can’t give up on making music with people.  I’ve tried and my inner soul is so depressed that I can’t perform in front of people.  Yet, I’ve been terrified of it all this time that I’ve been frozen.  Those years I couldn’t do anything because I was sick I’m actually grateful for now because it has taught me that I don’t have to do things that others think I should do because they want me to do things according to their way.  And yes, if you’ve lived here for a while, I think you would be bored of teaching English as well.  It’s not a passion of mine and I don’t wish to continue doing it.  Now, my jobs haven’t been that great because people can tell that I’m not that into it and came here to teach music but the opportunity didn’t arise.

    My original dream was to be able to perform music in Japan and play use music as a cultural bridge.  The problem was I kept running into situations where those opportunities kept being lifted out from under me.  I wanted to teach kids music and suddenly I wasn’t allowed to do it.  I had performance opportunities but it didn’t lead to anywhere.  So, now I think it’s possibly because I need to do things for myself.  I’ve had mental blocks and a lack of confidence has been inside me for years because I didn’t play for me.  I was playing to fulfill other people’s expectations.  I now really just want to go back to that dream in ways that I can achieve it and face my own inadequacies.  I’m so used to being in a musical community to some capacity that I am finding things extremely difficult without having any of those things around me, and it’s frustrating the hell out of me.  So now, moving out to the country side, I still need a job because we’re financially not stable, but I’m seriously considering teaching piano because I think that’s where I’m being called to.  I am terrified of this whole process but I think I’m being directed in that way.

    And yes, I understand that you’re judging me because of the egotistical aspect of performing, but I really feel my soul’s purpose is to be a performer in some capacity, but I haven’t realized what that is yet.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be a performer.  I love being able to move people’s emotions.  However, when I was a student, I did have bad habits and was constantly stressed about not feeling good enough.  I still hold those emotions really tightly to the point where it has caused me to be stuck between stopping and going and letting people see my mistakes.  Now, I need to learn how to get over myself and just do it but I haven’t been able to.



    Hello Aim,

    Whats it like living in Japan? I have great interest in that. As far as the troubles you are dealing with…trouble with your partner will be a constant. How you handle it is a big part. I have experience in this department. It can be very challenging and learning how to sort things out with another person under the pressure of having child/children break most relationships apart if not handled correctly.

    Best of luck. I myself am currently putting in the good fight with my own marriage/family. There are highs and lows. Hang in there. I am always around to talk if you would like.


    Dear Aim,

    It sounds like you are going through some challenging times on multiple fronts (financial stress, a big lifestyle change, and wanting to feel empowered in your desires / dreams / decision-making processes in your marriage).

    I respect the views of everyone else here but my own view is that you should never feel like you have to settle down into any major life decision that isn’t right for you.  In any relationship / marriage it is important that you feel like you have a voice, and any needs / concerns can be heard.

    I appreciate marriages are complex, though.  For us males we are often culturally conditioned to be “providers” and a lot of males still, to this day and age, take great pride in being decision-makers and go-getters.  Your husband may just be following a path that he has been taught is the template for traditional marital success, to try to understand things through his eyes and his experience.  But we don’t have to adhere to tradition for tradition’s sake, especially not if it’s causing you anxiety or making you feel miserable or financially stressed.  We are all different, and some of us are free spirits like you.  I can hear that you really enjoy music and that it’s a central part of your life.  With things like this it’s important to carve out a space for us to self-actualise, so we can set up our lives in a way that makes us happy.

    It will be a tricky negotiation but I do think it’s important you discuss this fully and respectfully with your husband – especially if the decision to move to the country is the right one for you.  That isn’t to say you won’t be able to find a way to make things work in the country, but you need to decide on a way forward as a team – and particularly, on a pragmatic level, how you are both going to keep a viable income stream going for the sake of the baby.

    Have you and your husband considered going to a financial counsellor?  That may be beneficial and help you both feel more empowered in plotting a way forward.

    If your passion is for piano teaching and you can find a way to make that work financially, I say go for it – follow your dreams!  Life is too short for anything else, or to settle for something that makes you unhappy.  In this day and age it also may be worth considering getting a side hustle or two… some kind of work you can do from home to bring in a little extra money.

    Warmest wishes for a positive outcome as you navigate your way through these storms.  I will check up on your post over the coming week if you want to continue to correspond about this.


    Dear Aim:

    “I never said anything about being a celebrity performer.. I really feel my soul’s purpose is to be a performer in some capacity”- I misunderstood. I thought you were considering a lucrative career as a performing artist in front of paying audiences. But performing in the contexts of a school play, church, a local community event, a small charity event, that would be wonderful, I am sure you qualify to do that, as well as teaching piano.

    “I didn’t play for me. I was playing to fulfill other people’s expectations. I now really just want to go back to that dream in ways that I can achieve it.. I’m seriously considering teaching piano because I think that’s because I think that’s where I’m being called to do. I am terrified of this whole process… stressed about not feeling good enough… stuck between stopping and going”-

    – creativity is like the gas pedal in a car, and fear is like the brake pedal. Stuck between stopping and going is like sitting in a car pressing the gas pedal and the brake pedal, gas, brake.. it doesn’t get you anywhere and it runs down the car mechanism.

    Nothing rains heavier on the parade of Creativity than Fear.

    Not long ago, in the small town where I am closest to, there was an event and a group of musicians was on the stage. The singer, he was not great, his voice wasn’t strong or versatile, he had a limited capacity there, but as I watched him, I was enthralled, fascinated, uplifted. He was enjoying himself, he was creative, he let himself go. And this is what fascinated me, now I wish I could do that. So many of us people are afraid and we envy those who seem to be able to create in spite of fear, to push that gas pedal, to let go, to be and become… it is fascinating.

    There is another singer who performed in the local market a couple of years ago. She sounded like a celebrity singer, strong voice, very capable, I didn’t notice anything about her singing that was any less than any celebrity singer. I enjoyed hearing her, but got somewhat bored at one time  or another because there was something automatic, or repetitive about her singing, different than the singer I referred to later. She had a great voice, great singing, but she was pushing that brake pedal while singing.

    If you played the piano without fear, if I watched you play without fear, letting your hair down, so to speak, daring to defy fear and side with you, not with fear- that would be fascinating, exciting and uplifting to witness. Mistakes along the way, these will be part of the fascination, encouraging the audience to follow your lead and in whatever they do, to let go of that figurative brake pedal.


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