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Repost: I Forgot to Plan for Pregnancy

11/30/2012

Belle

Let me start by saying a HUGE thank you to all the ladies who went out on a limb and shared similar stories on my post about early pregnancy weight gain. It is HARD being in this position. We have fought for years for a child. We have spent thousands of dollars to grow our families. We have dreamed of the day we could announce our pregnancies. We have meticulously crafted our birth plans even though there was not a positive pee stick in sight.

And now, after so much struggle, we have arrived: pregnancy at last!  And what are we consumed by (in addition to sheer gratitude, of course)? The suffocating fear of change to our bodies. It’s bad enough we packed on 10 pounds or more from infertility treatment. Now we are just a few weeks into our new pregnancies and already we are using hair ties to button our pants or, worse, wandering into the Target maternity department and feeling like frauds. We stand shyly in checkout isles as a cashier rings up our stretchy pants and we panic – “What must this stranger think!?”

I have spent years dreaming of my child and preparing mentally for the trials and tribulations of parenthood. I have devoured parenting blogs learning tips and tricks from seasoned mothers of five or more. I am READY to parent. What I forgot about was the challenges pregnancy would bring. The uncertainty. The fear of changes to my body. The pains and smells. The fear of days when all feels right and, dare I say, normal.

In all my haste to have a baby I forgot to plan for pregnancy. Now here I am, standing alone, quaking in pants that are much too tight, worrying about the health of my body and the health of my baby. Fearful to take the leap into some comfy maternity clothes because SURELY such a bold action will “jinx” things.

Tomorrow I will be 10 weeks pregnant – something I never thought I would get to write. I’m terrified to purchase new clothing for fear that in a few more days Dr. B will gravely inform me that there is no longer a heartbeat. Then all I’d have were some stretchy pants, a bottle of Pinot Noir and a prescription for a D&C.

This entire pregnancy after infertility and loss is so fucking hard. I still don’t say “I’m pregnant.” Instead, when talking to the few that know, I say “my maybe pregnancy” or “if this pregnancy amounts to anything” or “I’m kind of pregnant.” Unlike my first pregnancy, I don’t talk to this baby. Every time the alarm sounds reminding me it is time for another dose of estrogen I don’t cheerfully think to myself, “Time to feed baby!” as I did with Pip. I only rub my belly when I’m massaging gas pains. I just don’t feel connected to this baby or the changes in my body.

It is like I finally get my navy blue El Camino (yeah, I dream of owning an El Camino, don’t judge) but I’m always the passenger and never the driver. It just does not feel like my body, or my baby, is mine. It’s weird and it is hard and I KNOW that to my fertile friends I look so harsh and ungrateful. But I’m not. I’m just scared shitless by the changes and the risks.

And so I guess I’ll continue on planning to embrace my “potential pregnancy” tomorrow.Tomorrow I’ll buy clothing that fits. Tomorrow I’ll talk to the Chicken. Tomorrow.

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18 Comments

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  1. November 30, 2012

    I haven’t been pregnant since my first loss, so I don’t have first hand experience. But, I often think to myself that there’s no way I will be able to connect with my next pregnancy until…. that’s where I stop. Until we hear a heartbeat? Until we’re far enough along to know the sex? Until I’m holding my baby in my arms? And I’m totally with you on the body issues. I’m already technically obese, up from overweight thanks to my miscarriage and subsequent infertility. I know I won’t handle it well when/if I gain even more. I’m just glad to know I’m not alone. Thank you, Belle.

  2. November 30, 2012

    Your car analogy is SO bang-on — that’s exactly what infertility is all about, being in the passenger seat and having no control, and just trying to enjoy the ride without throwing up, focusing on the destination. I think you will eventually connect more with the crazy thing growing inside of you, especially when it starts moving and you see more of its growth on the ultrasounds and everything. It just takes time, and the first trimester is a bit of a write-off for IFers, honestly… keep your eyes focused on the horizon!

  3. November 30, 2012

    This is really big stuff, and I think we all grapple with it in different ways (I just wrote a blog post in response to this post actually, coming from a slightly different angle). I think as someone who has steadfastly tried to ignore my body for the past 20 years that these changes are perhaps less jarring – like somehow for me as a more curvy lady it’s sort of easier to weather the changes because they mirror many changes I’ve gone through before? But at the same time I totally hear what you’re saying about not feeling physically connected to the pregnancy – I’m 12 weeks this week and I have literally had to try to force myself to ‘talk’ to the babies when actually I don’t feel like they’re real at all.

  4. jak #
    November 30, 2012

    hair ties! why didnt i think of that?!

    i used to own an el camino:) it was silver. 1979. i fear this blows my IFer anonymity on this blog since, like, most people dont own el caminos except for perverts in flannels with the sleeves cut-off who graduated high school (or dropped out) in the seventies. anyway, i hope your el camino dreams come true, but that you are able to retrofit it with a hybrid engine. or maybe just drive it on the weekends. or else you will go broke. when i owned mine, gas was 79 cents a gallon!!

    glad you’re back! would have missed the crap out of yer blog!

  5. November 30, 2012

    Your writing is amazing and there is so much truth in your words. I had those exact same thoughts during my pregnancy going over to the maternity section in Old Navy feeling like a complete fraud knowing that somehow I would get kicked out of there. I think I spent so much time fantasizing about what that would be like, buying maternity clothes, and what that would mean I just couldn’t believe that my dreams were coming true because I was so scared that at any moment it would be ripped away from me and I would be left looking like a dumbass who thought I would actually get to bring my baby home. But sometimes our dreams do come true. I’m holding my daughter while I type this and it did take me a long time to connect to my pregnancy with her but I did. I hope for you that you will be able to connect to this pregnancy but be easy on yourself if it takes time because it probably will. But also maybe just try saying the words “I’m pregnant” because you are 🙂 Today you are pregnant who knows about tomorrow but today you are and that’s so freakin awesome!!!

    • November 30, 2012

      “But sometimes our dreams do come true. I’m holding my daughter while I type this…” Tears of joy and hope! Thank you Robin.

  6. November 30, 2012

    So hard. It’s so hard to let ourselves believe. We try to keep ourselves from being to attached just in case, but the truth is that we are already attached.

  7. Romy #
    November 30, 2012

    I completely understand. I feel like something is wrong with me because I feel detached from the whole pregnancy. I’ve had 2 ultrasounds, both of which showed the heartbeat, and I just stare at the screen without any emotion. Friends of mine who didn’t go through infertility told me they were so overwhelmed with emotion when they saw their baby’s heartbeat that they cried and stuck the picture on the fridge. I just can’t do it. It doesn’t feel real and I’m terrified of having it taken away from me at the next ultrasound. I’m very scared that I won’t be able to enjoy my pregnancy at all. I just hope that a good 12 week nuchal translucency ultrasound will make it ok for me to enjoy being pregnant and to start buying things for the baby.

    • jak #
      November 30, 2012

      hey romy – i am exactly where you are. tuesday is nuchal. was going to paint the bedroom (i wont even call it nursery because i’m afraid it wont be that) this weekend but decided i’d better not because the nuchal test might come back awful.

  8. Cammy #
    November 30, 2012

    Glad you are back Belle. Everyone’s posts have made me cry at work today, thanks. :)I haven’t been through as much as others (although I spent 10 years trying to get pregnant, even once), but I really do see this blog helping so many like myself and those whose journeys have been more difficult than mine.

  9. November 30, 2012

    It is very comforting to know that there is someone else out there who also dreams of owning an El Camino!

  10. November 30, 2012

    I was like that for a long time, “I’m pregnant but…it’s early.” I started showing around 8-9 weeks and gained quickly early, then it leveled off a bit. I was always stressed about it and comparing myself to the people who didn’t start to show until mid 20. The best thing I did though was buy myself a pair of maternity jeans (I splurged which made it even more fun). Being uncomfortable makes everything seem worse! When I was TTC, I didn’t read one thing about pregnancy. So when I finally was pregnant, it was all new. For me though, weight gain was definitely the hardest part mentally.

  11. November 30, 2012

    Yes to everything about this post! I get so mad at myself for getting upset about a little stretch mark. I hated that I was so bloated at 10 weeks that I looked pregnant because I didn’t want to talk about it with others. I’ve even talked to my husband about how we’ve spent so much time and energy trying to get pregnant that I never thought past that. This was glaringly obvious at our first childbirth class when everyone else seemed to already have a birth plan and we were asking the most basic questions. Hang in there…things will hopefully get easier.

  12. December 1, 2012

    I’m so sorry you’ve had a hard time. Of course you’re scared and worried about the weight gain it is still early days. I don’t get why anyone would post anything nasty. At this time you need support and a virtual hug not stress. Take care hun xxx

  13. Arbrefleur #
    December 1, 2012

    Once again, I just want to say that I totally relate to this post 100%. This is particularly noteworthy, I think, because I am someone still in the trenches after years and years, never been pregnant. So I just want to reiterate that your writing is already inherently sensitive and genuine that even though I’m someone who has never actually been in your position, I can totally relate to everything you say. It makes absolute sense to me and I applaud your writing and your sharing as always. And on a side note, I’m no psychologist (or mom), but we all know how deeply you care, Belle, and I suspect the connection to your little one already completely and strongly exists inside you, and will be ready to spring forward to greet you the moment you are ready to connect with it. Hang in there and again, very glad you’re back!

  14. December 2, 2012

    Belle, you inspire me. http://wp.me/p2w6mF-ms

  15. December 3, 2012

    So true! at almost 7 weeks pg i still feel like a fraud and not sure where i fit into the IF world now that i’m pg. We are there with you!!

  16. December 3, 2012

    Being pregnant after a loss (or several) is HARD. I was much the same way during the early part of my pregnancy with the twins. Even thinking about them was enough to send me into a panic attack. So i did my best to carry on as normal. I regret that every.single.day. I wish like hell I could go back and enjoy the time I got to spend protecting and growing them. There’s no right or wrong way to endure something that could be the best or worst thing to ever happen to you. Just know that you are not alone. You are normal.

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