The thing about being pregnant after a loss is dealing with anxiety. You’re always wondering ‘what if…?’ and you’re never quite comfortable being pregnant, no matter how far along you are. Unless you’ve had a late loss, unless you’ve had multiple miscarriages, unless you know the pain of pregnancy loss, you can’t relate. You can’t sympathize, you can’t empathize, you simply can’t. Being an angel mom is something no one wants to become and yet, only a few people have that title. It’s not a title we want to have yet we have to wear it.
We see how people act towards us – either being supportive or staying at a distance. We see people bring up another’s pregnancy without realizing that the news might be painful to hear. We see people boasting of their children’s accomplishments and are jealous we don’t have a child to boast of. We see people complain about how their kids are behaving and wonder if they could imagine the struggle we face each time we visit our babies’ graves and urns.
You become selective at what information you share, due to you don’t want anyone whispering. You find yourself alone and lonely because you don’t have anyone to talk to. You don’t want to burden your partner with your grief so there are times when you cry silently so it doesn’t wake him up.
It’s hell. I’m living in hell.
When you do become pregnant again, your reaction may be joyous but it’s very reserved. You have a set of milestones you have to pass before you become comfortable with the pregnancy, should you ever become comfortable with the pregnancy. You constantly check the toilet paper after you wipe. Any minute details is an immediate phone call to the OB and MFM, if you have one. You spend the majority of the pregnancy calming your mind and fighting your fears than you do enjoying it.
Again, unless you’ve had a late loss, unless you’ve had multiple losses, you simply can’t relate.
The other thing about anxiety while you’re PgAL is dealing with other people’s anxiety. It’s a double-edged sword – they want to make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed but they seem to go out of their way to worry for you, about you, even in some cases, to you. I understand many people close to me are concerned. After all, no one wants a repeat of what I went through with Ethan. But I also feel their anxiety isn’t helping my cause. I understand you get nervous when I walk for an extensive period. I understand you’re not comfortable with the fact I’ll be driving soon. I get the fact you don’t like the idea I’m at home alone, all day. At what point does one say, ‘I’ll comfortable with this as long as she’s comfortable with it?’
I don’t like talking about this pregnancy for that very reason. If something goes bad or is unexpected, the anxiety immediately goes to an 11. See the example below.
A part of me understands how people react but I wish people would get the fact that their worry does two things: 1) I have to spend energy trying to calm them down, when I shouldn’t, and 2) I have to spend energy in calming me down after I’ve tried to calm them down. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Case in point, my baby shower is in my hometown in a few days. Under two weeks from now, to be exact. Over the past several weeks, my hosts and I have spent a lot of time, money, and energy trying to get it going. M, his mother, and my mother have collectively decided because I’ll be so far along by the time the shower comes around (32 weeks), they’re not entirely comfortable with me traveling 200+ miles for a weekend trip and my mother actually suggested I skip out on the shower and do it via Skype, to which M’s mother, at some point, agreed.
I’m not sure where their thoughts are. If they think something might happen to me on the road, while I’m in my hometown, or what. I honestly believe that if something was going to happen, it’s going to happen regardless where I am. I went into labor with Ethan at 2:30 in the morning, sleeping at home. Come again? What if I go into pre-term labor and M is away at work? Oh, by the way, it’s a heavy traffic day and it’ll take him an additional 30 minutes to get home? That could happen anytime. Why is a shower in my hometown a primary reason for concern now? What really makes their anxiety laughable is that M’s mother lives 10 miles away and she’s seen me once this pregnancy. My mother lives over 100 miles away and she hasn’t seen me at all. I find it particularly hilarious that it was my mother who suggested a Skype baby shower, yet she doesn’t even use that to communicate with me. Now, if you know my situation and you’re “concerned” about it, why can’t you come visit?
I wish people would understand that I want your vocal support but your silent anxiety. I don’t care that you’re worried about my pregnancy. I don’t care that you’re worried I’ll be driving. Really, I don’t care. I’m more concerned about if my cerclage is going to hold. I’m more concerned about prepping the nursery. I’m more concerned about getting stuff done before Yoda gets here because I know I won’t have that time in a few months. I truly, truly, TRULY do not care about your open anxiety towards my pregnancy. How does that help me?
There is an old adage: If you’re going to say something, ask yourself is it going to hurt or help?