Holding back

The other day I was in one of my prenatal exercise classes and I met a woman who was due the day after me. We got to chatting, and it turns out that not only has she chosen her stroller, she’s already bought it, and it’s currently sitting in a box in her basement.

I think I smiled and said something along the lines, “Wow, I wish I could figure out what stroller I want!”, but internally my response went something like this: “Are you crazy? What are you doing buying a stroller so early? We’re nowhere near viability and we haven’t even had the big ultrasound yet!”

So it turns out that even though you can sometimes get the infertile girl pregnant, getting rid of the infertility mindset isn’t as easy. Although I have tried to embrace this pregnancy, and have happily blogged about how I am feeling each and every week, the truth is, I still think I’m existing in this weird pregnancy purgatory, and I just can’t let myself out.

Case in point:

I have maternity clothes in my closet, but I won’t wear them (even though I think the belly is finally big enough to warrant a wardrobe change).

On my walk down to my most recent midwife appointment, I spent a good portion of the walk thinking through what I would do when (note that it was when, not if) she couldn’t find a heartbeat. First I would demand an ultrasound. And then, when that revealed the baby had died, I would try to figure out a way to lie to Q. when I talked to him that evening as he was going to be home in two days, and I didn’t want to tell him that the baby was dead over the phone. Yep. I had it all figured out. All except for the part where the baby turned out to be FINE.

I don’t talk to the baby. Sometimes I remember to rub my belly and chat to it a little bit, but for the most part I feel like I’m somehow ignoring the poor thing. I know not feeling movement yet plays a role in this, but I thought that I would be better about bonding by now.

I can’t bring myself to buy anything for the baby, or even make decisions about what we should buy at some future point.

I worry more about me (am I eating too much? exercising enough?) than I do about the baby.

And while I would love to say that all of this is related to anxiety over that 19w ultrasound, I think I know myself well enough to recognize that a good report isn’t going to change anything, any more than the good report at our 12w ultrasound did. Or the 14w ultrasound. Or the 17w midwife appointment. Because after the 19w ultrasound, you still have to reach viability. And then you have to reach term. And then you have to give birth and, you know, actually end up with a LIVE baby.

I’m not helping myself by staying in limbo. Let’s face it: if we did lose this pregnancy now, for whatever reason, I would be beyond devastated. I’m not protecting myself with this behaviour. There is clearly some part of me that is desperately, hopelessly, wildly attached to the IDEA of this baby.

But the REALITY?

Apparently that’s still a bit too much for me to handle.

And in some ways, that’s really disappointing. Because while I can’t complain that I’m having such an easy time right now that I actually do sometimes forget that I’m pregnant, at the same time I’m aware that I am going to be half-way through this pregnancy in two and bit weeks, and in a lot of ways I still haven’t even started to enjoy it.

And that, my friends, is just plain sad.

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7 Comments

Filed under Emotions, Pregnancy

7 responses to “Holding back

  1. I have obviously never been pregnant but this seems to be a running theme among infertiles. So sorry!

  2. T, everything you describe is so normal. It is exactly how I felt, and how everyone who has been through what you’ve been through feels. It’s hard to be pregnant after trying so hard, because you want it so much, you can taste victory and yet you’re afraid to trust it. Be gentle and forgiving of yourself for feeling this way — it’s only natural.

    You’re right — when you start feeling movement things will definitely seem more real and you’ll be able to better “relate” to the little one inside. You will naturally feel more connected and a little less worried every week.

    Until then, may I suggest a little “fake it ’til you make it?” Even if your heart is exploding more with anxiety than joy, try pretending you’re a normal pregnant person. I know this sounds stupid — stay with me. Just say screw you, infertility worries, I’m going to enjoy myself (I would even tell myself that even if it was going to end tomorrow I could still enjoy today). And then go out and buy yourself a fabulous new maternity top — and wear it. Get a prenatal massage or “preggy pedicure.” Go to a prenatal yoga class. Go to BabyGap and buy something adorable. Just immerse yourself in something normal-pregnancy related and fake it/go through the motions until you actually feel excited.

    But regarding the stroller? You’re doing the right thing to wait — anxiety aside. I still say get yourself a snap & go for the car seat until the baby’s a few months old and you actually have a practical sense of what you need! 🙂 This from a stroller junkie herself….

  3. I was reading a blog of one infertile who got pregnant, and she said that on her day of delivery she was still convinced they were going to tell her that it was all a big misunderstanding. It wasn’t until she looked down and saw a baby emerge from between her legs that she finally accepted that she had been pregnant.

    I second Good Egg Hatched. Go take some belly photos (and share them with us if you wish). Start writing letters to your baby. Maybe get a doppler from eBay?

    And be kind to yourself. You’ve gone through a lot, and you’re managing as best you can. Don’t blame yourself for feeling this way.

  4. smellymeli

    I think I was disconnected for a while… even to the point that I didn’t immediately SWOON in love the first time I laid eyes on my baby. I personally think that it is hard to grasp the whole concept of creating life, even for those who didn’t struggle as much as we did to get there! The whole pregnancy/birth experience is SO surreal.

    You’ll get there. Don’t beat yourself up for feelings of detachment. I found that the more milestones we met, the more “real” it became. From finding out the gender, picking a name, feeling her movements and hiccups and decorating her nursery… to seeing her face on a sonogram and watching her suck her thumb. Every step of the way will make it more real for you, I promise.

  5. Darling, you crack me up.

    I am sorry you have to be so cautious.

  6. Maybe it’s sad, but it’s completely normal. Honestly, I’m 32 weeks this week, and I’m DEFINITELY pregnant, but we didn’t even start thinking about putting things together until about two weeks ago. It’s important to bond, but I think it’s also important to take care of yourself. Hang in there … *hugs* to you!

  7. This seems completely normal to me. I’m only 9 weeks in, but I feel similarly, and I expect that I’ll always have a little bit of lingering IF-related anxiety. I’m rooting for you ❤

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