Monday, September 12, 2011

Fear


The last few days have been difficult for me.  I think that is why I have been staying away from my blog.  I feel like I should be in a constant state of overwhelming joy because of my pregnancy and that I am betraying my IF sisters when I am not able to keep up my level of happiness and excitement.  But, constant joy is just not my reality right now and I don’t think that bottling up my feelings, hiding them from even my blog, is helping matters.

Fear keeps sneaking in and stealing away my joy.  Over the last few weeks, I had been thrilled with the realization that my fear of losing the pregnancy had significantly dissipated.  I was happily telling friends who have “newer” pregnancies than mine that they just needed to hold out for a couple of months and the constant fear of loss that IF leaves in its wake would go away.  But mine is back.  I am hoping it is temporary, and to help matters along I am going to try to analyze where it is coming from so I can combat it and go back to enjoying myself.

I think there are a lot of factors that may be contributing to my “new” fear of losing this pregnancy.  The hormones, I’m certain, have something to do with it.  I get anxiety attacks now, every once in awhile, for no reason at all.  I’ve been assured it is just hormone fluctuations and that it will pass.  It only stands to reason that, if hormones can cause ridiculous anxiety, they can also cause ridiculous fear.  But I think there is more to it than just hormones.

My Josephine (my girl dog with cancer) has started having the occasional “bad day.”  It is nothing too severe yet.  She will miss the couch when she tries to jump on it sometimes.  She sits down when she is waiting for me, instead of running around like a crazy girl.  She gets a little grumpy and growly some mornings, which is very out of character for her.  Most of the time, she acts like there is absolutely nothing wrong.  But on her bad days, I am struck with the reality that she isn’t going to be with me forever…or maybe even for the next year.  Losing her is very much like losing a child for me.  She has been my surrogate baby for years and I love her so deeply, I can’t really picture life without her.  I think my fear of losing her may be getting transferred to the baby.

I also realized recently that my mother had a stillbirth years ago.  I don’t know why the memory of that loss escaped me for all of these years.  I’ve had friends go through this experience, and never once did the memory come up.  But all of the sudden, a few days ago, there it was.  I was 6 or 7 years old when it happened, and my mother was a little younger than I am now.  There was no funeral for the baby, but I remember the baby’s tiny white coffin and I remember my mother taking me to his grave a couple of times.  One time, people stole the toys she had attached to his headstone and I remember saying to her, as she wept, that the baby could have some of my toys.  I didn’t realize that her tears were about a violation…a ripping open of her emotional wounds…not about the toys.  The baby never was given a first name…just Baby Boy Welch.  Mom lost her boy at 5 ½ months.  I’m about 5 months pregnant right now.

My mother is mentally ill and I can’t really remember a time when she wasn’t.  But, by all accounts, she wasn’t as “bad” when I was a baby.  It was some point between having me and when I was able to start remembering events that she was “broken.”  I had always assumed my ex-step-father’s abuse was what sent my mother over the edge, but now I’m not so sure.  What if it was the loss?  She had six miscarriages in addition to the stillbirth.  I don’t remember her grieving any of the miscarriages, but until recently, I didn’t remember the stillbirth.  During IF, I remember feeling furious that my mother could have been so cavalier about getting pregnant and so unaffected by her losses.  But maybe she wasn’t unaffected.  How could she be?  And all of this makes me wonder…could I survive a loss at this stage of the pregnancy with my mental health intact?  I think not.  I still struggle with the loss of a twin that just barely made the cutoff of being considered a “miscarriage” rather than a “chemical pregnancy.”  I’ve bonded with the baby boy still inside of me…I don’t think I could handle losing him too.

Ultimately, none of my fears really matter.  What is going to happen will happen.  But I really want to enjoy this pregnancy.  I want to enjoy it for myself, for the baby, and for everyone still waiting for their little ones to come.  Perhaps the fear will never totally go away.  Perhaps it is part of being a “parent,” or perhaps it is part of being an infertile.  Whatever the reason I am in this mental space right now, I really wish that the clouds would part for a little while.  I could use some sunshine. 

4 comments:

Lindsey said...

I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. I think sometimes havign been through IF makes us a little crazier because we've met so many people along the way that had complications. If we were nieve pregnant fertiles life would be a lot easier, but alas we're PIFs and now we have one more thing to overcome, the fear. I wish I could take it away for you, for all of us, but at least we have each other to talk to. Keep bloggin, keep getting it out, it helps to speak your fears outloud.

New Year Mum @ newyearmum2.blogspot.com said...

There are so many fears along this nightmare of a journey... don't Worry about talking about them - least of all to us. You're a strong mum & your love for bub will get you through. It certainly would be easier for us all to be naive to all this but it will make us even better mums in the end :) Love to you always xoxo

Anonymous said...

I don't think the fear ever goes away. It's just something you learn to manage. I've had one live birth, and 3 miscarriages; and it seems my pregnancy fears have transfered to my daughter. I fear every day that something will happen to her, and she will be gone from my life forever.

The important thing is the love that you show your growing little boy, joy is hard to come by right now, but the love is overflowing.

I hope that soon your fears of loss subside, and you are able to to find your joy again

Anonymous said...

I also understand the fear; I have one child from DE, and am currently pregnant with another DE child after two miscarriages. I completely understand your desire to enjoy the pregnancy, but one thing I've done lately that's really helped is to let go of the pressure I was putting on myself to enjoy the pregnancy. The most important thing is the child that comes after (and you WILL enjoy that, without effort!), and if you're scared right now, you're scared. You can do your best to combat your fears for your own health in the moment, but don't beat yourself up for not enjoying the pregnancy. It's a scary thing after infertility, I think. From my new perspective, it's good enough to get through it. If there's some enjoyment in the end, it's icing on the cake. The best is yet to come; thee is nothing better than having a child in arms. I don't know if that will help you, too, but I wish you all the best!