Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fear and Guilt

Holy cow. It's like I blinked and another two months have gone by. I'm now headed into week 26 of my pregnancy, with my eye on the third trimester, just around the corner.  As I get further into my pregnancy I feel myself settling in and enjoying it more and more but I have still noticed feelings of fear and worry come and go. The fears range from telling people the news (STILL), to buying a crib, or anything associated with going all in with the pregnancy, planning and preparing for it to go all the way to term. 
A few weeks ago we made the official announcement that we're expecting on social media; a step that my husband and I were hesitant to even take at all this time around. In the end I felt strongly that this baby deserves as much praise and excitement as any other, and I wouldn't want to look back later with regret.  But still, I sat there with the post typed and photo ready to go, with my finger lingering over the share button, while several things crossed my mind.  Crazy thoughts like if we put it out there that may somehow jinx it or make something go wrong; not-so-crazy thoughts like maybe we were just better keeping things the way they were...everyone close to us knew, and that was all that mattered to us. I had sort of enjoyed that the news had mostly stayed within our inner circle, and I was feeling as if putting it out there for everyone would make any potential wound hit deeper since we wouldn't be able to hide from it.
 Then there have been the times I've gotten nervous and worried to myself over things happening in the present. Like the time I was doing exercises with weights and I started to feel a couple weird sensations in my abdomen...or another day I freaked out when a large dog jumped up on me and pounced right on my belly with all its weight. I felt the baby push back and I worried the next several days the dog may have hurt her. Just last night I woke up in the middle of the night to find the right side of my upper body (which I had been sleeping on )felt numb, with that feeling like it had fallen asleep. My mind quickly raced to an headline article I remember skimming past about "the one thing to watch out for when sleeping on your right side", that I now was cursing myself for not reading so I could know if I should be worried.  All these things I fear because I'm worried at any time of the worst happening--losing the baby again. A loss I'm not sure I could endure.
Fear can be a crippling thing. It can weaken our ability to enjoy and appreciate the happy moments, especially if you let it grab hold and take over. These feelings of fear often make me feel guilty for not being more excited and more present in the moment. An old habit I'm all too familiar with. 
I can remember feeling this same way back when Jason and I were in our first few months of dating. I was so incredibly happy that I feared something was bound to go wrong. I thought 'How could I possibly deserve to have so much going for me?' Surely it would be taken away or it was only a matter of time before it came to an end. But that's not a healthy way to live. I've had to accept that just because I've worried something bad can happen doesn't mean it will, and even if something does, there likely isn't anything worrying can do to stop it from happening. Instead it takes away from the happy moments. And those are the ones you should let linger as long as you can, and appreciation them.

Guilt has also played a different role in this pregnancy at times. There's guilt that stems from the loss of our first, feeling as though she's being overlooked or forgotten when sharing news of this current pregnancy. I often get the question, "Is this your first?" from many acquaintances and strangers who engage me in conversation. My first thought is always of Elle Jay, since she'll always be my firstborn, but since she's not with us and to avoid making things uncomfortable or get into detail with people I don't know well, I'm quick to respond "Yes, our first." 
Until we found out the sex, I had hoped for a boy this time around; mostly because I felt like it would make more of a distinction between this pregnancy and my last. That way I wouldn't feel as guilty being excited, as if I was still honoring our girl we lost and this wouldn't overshadow her place in our hearts. Guilt also creeps up when I'm thinking about the many women I know who are trying to conceive or have been for so many months, even years, without success. I can relate to those feelings of despair from wanting nothing more than to be pregnant and become a mom and feeling as though everyone else around you, except you, is. I'll always feel for those struggling and wish with all my being that they'll find the way to getting their bundle of joy.

What I've come to conclude is it's only natural to have these feelings, especially after experiencing a pregnancy loss. Maybe part of it comes from the maternal instinct we don't even realize starts forming the moment we realize there's another life growing inside our wombs. By acknowledging how I'm feeling, I'm able to process and usually dismiss the fear, guilt, worry, etc. I still wish there was an easier way to overcome the hard parts but as with most things in life, there's no shortcut or detour that will get you to any place worth going. Only lessons to be learned and work to be done. And never let a bad day stop you from getting to where you want to be.

Love to all on this cold and rainy day...hope you enjoy the approaching Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones!

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