Monday, February 23, 2015

Pregnancy, Miscarriages, and Elusive Joy

I think one of the things I've been having trouble with is being comfortable when my friends and family acknowledge and express joy over my pregnancy. This has nothing to do with unsolicited advice, but with people being excited about my baby. And it's a really hard and complicated emotional thing for me to explain. So bear with me as I attempt to show you what I mean.

I started to realize something was wrong when two weeks ago I started feeling the baby move. Instead of feeling happy, I mostly felt afraid. I texted my husband that I was feeling our baby move, knowing it would make him smile at work. But when he came home the first thing he asked was if the baby was still moving, and then he put his hand on my belly. He was smiling and he looked so happy. I was immediately upset and angry at him (I don't think he noticed) and I brushed him off and went to finish dinner. I was also annoyed because I couldn't understand why I was upset. My husband did nothing wrong. Why did it hurt me?

It took me two weeks to figure out where all these weird reactions are coming from. I started mulling over what I've been feeling and trying to analyze it. As some of you guys know, I've had three miscarriages. I finally realized I keep thinking I should ignore my pregnancy and try not to call attention to it or create memories about it because, just like all the others, it might not last. I hope this is the reason, because I really dislike not knowing why I feel a certain way. Experiencing emotions that are totally alien to the emotions I should (or that I think I should) be having during pregnancy.

I finally realized that I am having a hard time feeling much about the baby. I mean, I am happy to be pregnant. I am! I really want to meet this baby. But I can't shake the feeling that something is going to go wrong and that I need to protect myself in case it does. I noticed this at my first ultrasound. My mom was with me (because I had to get blood work, and I am terrified of blood work) and when the little bean came on the monitor she started squealing and talking excitedly. I, on the other hand, was trying not to cry in terror. And I felt nothing but fear. I remember feeling very alienated from the little swimming gummy bear on the screen and wondering if it was, in fact, actually inside me and there wasn't some mistake.

Not many of my emotions have been on what I would consider a "normal" trajectory. (like, happy) Now that I'm thinking about it, I can remember many times where I've either had no emotion or an opposite emotion from what is normal-- and I don't know why. When my mom bought some little blue and yellow baby clothes for me near the end of my first trimester, I also reacted in an odd way. I really liked what she bought--but I felt worried that she might have wasted her money. I mean, what if this pregnancy doesn't last like all the others?  I mentioned this to her, and she hugged me and stated that if that happened she would give the clothes to someone else who needed them. I felt relived that I wasn't going to cost her money for nothing. Then I went home and cried because none of my other babies had ever been around long enough to buy anything for.

I think part of me is afraid to feel because I'll feel to much. Hmm, I don't know. Mostly I've been reacting and living in these moments. Now that I know I am having this response I want to see if I can actively praise the time I have had with those babies and try not to fear for this one.

I'm trying now to live every day and cherish the baby I have. To celebrate his or her life in the moments that I've been given. Every day is a gift, and every moment is worth smiling over.  I just wish it came easier for me--that I could have a heart full of unshadowed joy like I didn't know the fear and heartache over losing something so desperately wanted. 

I know I can't be the only one who has felt this way. But these feelings sure are strange and difficult to work through.


Charlotte Wood said...

I've never had a miscarriage, and I don't know if it's the same thing, but I always had fears when I was pregnant. Sometimes it would seem like the baby hadn't moved in a long time, and I would worry. After my children were born, sometimes they would sleep longer than normal, and I would have to peak and make sure they were still breathing. Now my kids are in school and I worry that they'll be molested or mistreated or killed by the flu like a nine-year-old was last week at my son's school. I think it's normal to worry, but I don't think you'll stop when your baby is born. That probably isn't reassuring. I'm sorry. :)

Rachel G said...

I think the way you're feeling is very understandable given the circumstances--as the weeks tick by, though, you'll be growing ever closer to getting to meet this little one, and hopefully it'll start to feel more real and hopeful.

Sonya said...

Completely normal feelings!!! A little cognitive behavioral therapy might be just the trick. You can google CBT, or thought blocking, or cognitive distortions and it won't take but 10 minutes to do a thought log on some of the fears you are having. You are normal and these thoughts are completely normal and expected, but they are also not true. This baby IS healthy and is going to survive and thrive. And you don't have to suffer through this, as there is quick and effective treatment.

Carolynn said...

I have never heard of this but I am totally going to research it! Thank you so much.

Sonya said...

You're welcome and best wishes with it!!