May 16, 2008

A beautiful mess...

Wow. It has been almost a week since I last posted.

I have thought about what I wanted to write so many times but the words just didn't come.

I didn't want to admit that I was having a hard time. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and guilty. Here I am, holding new life in my belly, the realization of all my hopes and prayers and instead of smiling all day and daydreaming about my future children, I am having anxiety attacks and visualizing going to our ultrasound only to find out that there is nothing there. Oh, and taking pregnancy tests so I can compulsively compare the darkness of the lines.

It's been a hard week. And I feel terrible about that.

I have been thinking about reasons for this a lot. I think the first culprit is my super-high hormone levels. Not only do I have the regular pregnancy hormones surging through my veins, but I am still on estrogen and progesterone supplements. I imagine this cocktail might make anyone a little frantic. So there's that. In fact, my counselor told me yesterday (and oh, it was SUCH a good counseling session - like a massage for my entire soul) - that most of the women who come to see her early in their pregnancies are sitting on her couch expressing similar anxieties and fears. So, maybe all this craziness is just a very definitive sign that I am most certainly pregnant. For real.

I think another factor feeding into all my fears and anxieties is my experience with infertility. First of all, it took so long to get here, and involved methods ultimately so foreign to me, that I feel this intense fragility surrounding this pregnancy, as if this pregnancy is somehow more delicate or uncertain because of its beginnings. It feels very hard to trust and believe everything will be ok. And secondly, though in the beginning - 2.5 years ago - I had complete faith in my body, I simply knew that I was meant to be a mother, meant to carry babies - over the years, that faith and trust in myself has been worn down quite a bit. And now, when I must trust that my body will know exactly how to do this, how to sustain life, how to nurture my child(ren) - some of that faith is missing. There is a little bit of a disconnect. And I hate that, because as far as I can tell, my body is doing a superb job of this, with or without my nagging and supervision.

Then there are always those internal issues: my own feelings of being unworthy to accept this incredible gift, my anxiety at being so ultimately out of control but still somehow feeling it is all up to me, my fears that I won't be a good mother, my guilt for going through all of this right now and not being able to protect my tiny innocent child(ren) from my emotions.

Obviously, there has been a perspective shift - and I am doing my best to ever so gently shift it back.

I prepared mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually for going through the IVF process - I knew it would be taxing and I knew that I wanted to keep a positive perspective throughout, and except for a couple freak-outs I managed pretty well.

But, I forgot to "prepare" to be pregnant. And well, even if I had, is there any way to be truly prepared? How do you prepare to be so happy, to feel so much love, and at the same time feel terrified that this happiness, this joy will be taken from you? How do you prepare for that kind of vulnerability?

Like I said, I am shifting my perspective, bit by bit. The good news is that it is not "all up to me" - the bad news is, "I am not in control". Such a fragile place to rest, indeed.

It's been a hard week. But, it is getting better. Much better.

I am going to close now with some words given to me yesterday by my dear and wonderful counselor that are borrowed from a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, entitled, "There is a time to be born, and it is now.":

Give us the power to be receptive,
to take the newness you give,
to move from womb warmth to real life....


s.e. said...

You are so insightful. I believe all your fears and emotions are truly normal. I am sure everything is heightened because of our IF history. The hormonal changes definitely take their toll. You are at a fragile place to rest but everything will turn out fine in the end.

Miriam said...

(((hugs))) I know it is hard to go from not trusting to trusting your body again. I went through it myself and a friend recently went through it (as in 19 weeks pregnant and finally believing it). The hormones don't help. Try to take some time just to reflect and relax and let your mind reach inside and tell you the truths that are there.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful mess you are! I won't be reading for a few days -- but trust Someone to watch over you (and your blog!) Adios.

annacyclopedia said...

You are normal in this, Spicy. I think it comes out in different ways with different people, but for someone as in touch with her heart as you are, I think the feelings of fragility and vulnerability are inevitable. The words that keep coming to me are going to sound harsh, probably, but I mean them in the most loving, gentle way: Welcome to motherhood. In the way that this is the journey of being a parent - a kind of vulnerability that quite goes away. It won't always be this intense, but what you're experiencing right now is your heart opening up and making even more room for this love that will rock your world. You couldn't prepare for what you're going through now, because what you're going through now IS the preparation. It's the prenatal vitamin for your heart and your spirit.

I am just so proud of you that you are meeting this all with such insight and wisdom. And I thank you so profoundly for sharing your journey with us here - when it's my turn, I have a feeling that I will go through many of the same emotions you are describing here, and it is such a gift to know I have a sister beating out a path ahead of me.

Anonymous said...

No worries. I could have written this post myself three months ago. Oh, I wrote you a long comment, but just lost it. Anyhoo, just wanted to let you know that it's ok to have all your emotions when you are pregnant. For those of us who went through IVF, I think we think that we'll just sail through pregnancy or that we'll take whatever pregnancy throws at us because we have wanted this for so long. But it's not that simple.

poppy.f.seed said...

"I forgot to "prepare" to be pregnant." that is so interesting to me. Being on one side of the TTC fence, for so long, we don't let ourselves think about the other side. Being aware of it all is the best thing, I think, to move through it and appreciate the process. I'm glad you're writing about it.

Kidlicious said...

I wish I had something more profound to say, but just know that your fears and emotions are normal.

My twins from IVF are 2 1/2 and I still have these fears of someone or something tragic taking them away from me. I think it's a part of motherhood. The intense love we feel for our children is so new and profound. It truly changes us.

Take care.

Jen said...

Just know I'm thinking of you. And I think you are justified to feel anxious, happy and everything in between.


Kim said...

I haven't commented in a while, but I wanted to take a moment to say congratulations! It's so wonderful that your cycle was successful!