Thursday, September 18, 2014

A different type of pregnancy brain

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve struggled with pregnancy brain. Not just being forgetful, but getting my brain around the whole concept. I’ve never been a baby person before. I can count on one hand how many babies I’ve held, or even been around personally. I’m not the person to stop a lady in the store and coo over her pink or blue bundle in the stroller. I don’t really notice them and, truth be told, the crying and fussing would annoy me that they took them in public like that.  In fact, before a couple years ago, babies weren’t in my mind whatsoever as a possibility. I am the oldest in my family and I don’t remember my mom being pregnant with my sister. I have not even had cousins having babies. After marriage, a cousin-in-law had a couple kids, but we’re not that close and I didn’t see them often enough for the image of bouncing baby, round-momma joy to stick with me and seem like a fun idea. Actually, she’s not a good example of momma-joy so we’ll skip that example altogether.  Last year, my best friend from college was pregnant and turned out with a super cute baby boy, but she did all of this in San Diego … roughly 3000 miles from my house. He is 15 months old now and I think I’ve held him for a total of 45 minutes. My brother-in-law and his wife had a baby in June…in England. I’ll meet that baby next year. I spent two days with that pregnant lady when she was only 12 weeks. We didn’t have much to say on the topic at that point.
The bottom line is:  I’m the first pregnant person I’ve really known.
It’s rough. I think of the phrase, “it takes a village”. What do you do when you’re a recluse and have no village? Don’t get me wrong, I have my mother and my mother-in-law and the countless acquaintances who love offering unsolicited advice, but the problem is, I have had no one close enough to the experience with a similar mindset to really talk to. My friend in California had 3 older sisters and grew up watching them become pregnant and pop out nieces and nephews for her, also she worked as a nanny to a 1 year old before becoming pregnant. How am I supposed to express my unease about it all to someone so comfortable? A lady I work with who I’m pretty close to just had a baby, but we’re not close enough that I can bare my soul about the messy bits of this experience. Plus, she has a twin sister with kids so she’s used to it also.
Basically, I just had children in my mind as an abstract idea. I knew I wanted to have a family, but neglected to think about the slightly involved process about getting there.
Now that I’m 23 weeks pregnant (finally), I am really feeling the joy of being a mom-to-be. The day I saw that positive on the stick I was FILLED with joy. So much that I thought I was having divine inspiration to name my child Joy if it was a girl (she is, but changed my mind). I had about a week of being ecstatic to be pregnant (weeks 4-5) and then we told our parents. That shit suddenly got REAL.
The fear and the uncertainty that I experienced during my first pregnancy came flooding back. Suddenly I was the center of attention, but it wasn’t actually me; it was this kid I didn’t know who had suddenly taken over my body and everyone’s brain. I’m not ready for this. I’m not sure if this was smart… The  negativity took over. I didn’t want these feelings. I wanted my joy back.  I had to work through the first couple of months of my pregnancy slowly with one thought at a time. I had to take it day by day. I just couldn’t imagine myself as a mom. It’s not something that had been tangible until it was taken away. Now I was terrified that any negative thoughts were going to take this one away too. I was too scared to get close to this baby and really let go and love it.
This went against all my principles. I couldn't believe how negative I felt. Fear is a bitch. It is usually irrational in my case and once a seed of thought is planted, it sprouts into an angry weed that takes over. I wouldn’t tell anyone I was pregnant and told my mother and parents- in- law to keep it quiet also. I told my co-workers during my moment of elation, but luckily we were out for summer so I just mulled the information quietly. When we went to the beach for my birthday weekend, I had a bit of a revelation. I was 12 weeks pregnant and I hadn’t lost the baby. It was time to stop letting myself get deeper and deeper into fear of something I can’t control. It seemed to happen instantly. I cried with my husband and confessed the fear that had been making it seems like I wasn’t happy to be pregnant. He had actually been a little angry with how I had been acting and I couldn’t adequately explain it. How do you explain the depth of love for a baby growing inside you, and the chest-crushing weight of the responsibility of growing it?
I got back in my groove and now I’m over the moon with ever gurgle. The fear is still there, but I believe now it is more of an apprehension of the unknown and my desire for this little girl to be healthy and full term. But I just wonder what other people feel in the very beginning. I see so many people bubbling with pregnancy joy that they are excited to be vomiting multiple times per day. Why is my reaction such a negative one when I’m such a positive and easy-going person. Has anyone else ever felt the fear I’m talking about?

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