When Pregnancy Is Really Hard
CONTENT WARNING: This blog talks about pregnancy and some very uncomfortable emotions surrounding it.
I’m pregnant. Close to 17 weeks along now. I’ve started feeling waves of excitement for the first time this week. Until this point, things have been…difficult.
I found out I was pregnant on Wednesday, October 25th. I cried, screamed, and hated everything about it. When I say everything, I mean every. thing.
For a few days before this, I was feeling unusually bloated. I was supposed to start my period on Monday, Tuesday latest, but I was still waiting. This wasn’t too uncommon for me, but in my soul, I *knew* I was pregnant. I tried to distract from it, telling myself it was all the coconut milk caramels that I had been eating.
On Wednesday morning, I dropped my 2-year old off at her Dayhome for a few hours. I had a long list of work projects to complete, but I stopped at the drugstore on the way home to pick up a couple of pregnancy tests. I did a test as soon as I got home and the positive results were immediate.
It felt like I couldn’t escape a nightmare. A life I didn’t want to be living. I was so…sad. Angry. Frustrated. Annoyed. Terrified. Confused. Torn.
I did not want to be pregnant. I did not want to be here. We were not trying to get pregnant.
I had just weaned my daughter from breast-feeding 2 months earlier, and was feeling more and more like myself, for the first time in 3 years. The thought of going back into pregnancy and early postpartum life literally brought me to my knees.
My husband was out of town. I texted him. The message said, “OMG. FUCK.”, followed by a picture of a positive pregnancy test. This was not a joyful ‘we’re pregnant!’ moment.
Before our daughter, Steele, was born in August 2015, I thought we would likely try for another baby eventually. It felt right for our family when I pictured us in the future. Whenever people would ask if we planned to have more, while I was still pregnant with our first, I would respond with, “we’ll see how this one goes.”
Shortly after our daughter’s birth in August 2015, I asked my husband to stop talking about the possibility of having another baby. I couldn’t even think about it as an option, without feeling anxious.
REMINDER: please stop asking people *when* they are going to have a baby or another baby. Please stop telling people that they shouldn’t wait too long before having another baby. You do not know their journey.
Recovering from Steele’s birth was difficult for me, mentally and emotionally. We had attempted a home birth that led to a transfer to hospital and emergency C-section. I felt calm, supported, and cared for during the entire experience, but afterwards it shook me to my core.
I felt shame about that birth. I felt distrust in my instincts. For weeks (months?), I couldn’t stop thinking about specific moments during labor and they scared me. The ‘what-ifs’ were terrifying. I was having constant flashbacks to a few particular times before we moved to the OR whenever I tried to close my eyes or rest.
I have talked through this at length with a counsellor and will be working with someone prenatally who specifically counsels moms on birth trauma. I highly recommend it, if you can access someone who does similar work.
When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to escape my body. I didn’t want to relive any of this. I didn’t want to have to make decisions about how to birth and recover from another baby.
Being pregnant again feels like knowingly walking into a fire. Choosing to undergo more trauma. And, not just from birth, but potentially from pregnancy and postpartum life, too.
I had been so shut down to the idea of another pregnancy and baby because all I could imagine was the pain of choosing my route of trauma. Now, this was my reality.
My immediate reaction when I found out I was pregnant was abortion. I’m fully pro-choice. Your body is fully your business. Your reproductive rights are fully your business. I fully support abortion.
My husband, Randy, was completely on my side for whatever I chose. We had conversations about abortion before and we are both comfortable with it.
The decision was heavy and painful. I went to therapy. I talked to friends. Randy and I went around and around on it. I cried. Hard. Kicked. Screamed.
I just didn’t know. I JUST DIDN’T FUCKING KNOW what to do. For me, for us, for the future of our family. It felt like the weight of the world was on me.
I booked the procedure for Tuesday, November 9th. Monday night came and Randy and I stood in the kitchen, with him flipping a coin over and over and over again.
Heads. Heads. Heads.
Heads was what I chose to mean we are supposed to have another baby. I hated that coin.
By the time I cried myself to sleep Monday night, I still didn’t know what I was going to do. I set my alarm to have plenty of time to get myself ready and to the clinic on Tuesday morning. My alarm went off. I went downstairs. I cried. I didn’t get ready. I didn’t get in the car.
We had gotten to the point where we were almost certain that Steele was going to be our only baby. Over the summer, I had thoughts that maybe she wasn’t. Maybe there was supposed to be one more. I couldn’t even say it out loud. I pushed those thoughts away. It was too painful to go there. To think of everything it would mean to go through it all again.
Our life was just beginning to feel more free, with more ease. I was just beginning to have energy again for the first time in a few years. We love being a family of three. It is comfortable.
At the time I’m writing this (January 17th), I’ve known I am pregnant for 12 weeks now. I am just starting to feel more at ease with the idea of another birth and birth recovery.
Pregnancy is mentally difficult for me. I’ve been nauseous 24 hours a day since 5 days after I took that positive pregnancy test. I’ve hated all food in every minute of my awake time. I feel like I could lie in bed all day, which is not actually possible when you’re parenting a 2-year old.
I have not been SO EXCITED and overjoyed to be pregnant. I have a lot of waves of fear. Uncertainty. Resentment. Rage. Initially, I was feeling a ton of guilt for all the mamas and families who are trying desperately to be and stay pregnant.
At our first trimester screening ultrasound, in combination with bloodwork, baby was given the diagnosis of having a higher risk of Down’s syndrome. We were told we could do further blood testing, an amniocentesis, or wait until the 19-week ultrasound to get more detailed information.
While it was sad and stressful for us to get that news, I more so felt frustrated that I, again, felt in limbo. At that time, I was just starting to feel like I was setting into the idea of being pregnant and being a family of four. This felt like I was knocked back to the beginning again.
It’s been a month since we got that news. On Tuesday, we found out the results of our amniocentesis. It came back normal.
Tuesday was the first time I really felt joy. I felt excited. When I first told my To Pregnancy & Beyond mamas a couple months ago that I was pregnant – I talk through ALL the things with them – I didn’t want congratulations. I wasn’t excited, so I wasn’t ready for that.
Now, I feel hope.
I’m terrified for life with a 3-year old and a newborn. I’m scared for myself. Losing this version of me (again). Our marriage. For Steele. For the baby. I’m dreading postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, exhaustion, no breaks. And, more. I don’t need anyone to tell me that it will be fine. It will be hard. We will have struggles.
With all of that, somehow I feel like this is the path we are supposed to be on. I trust that, even when I am still uncomfortable. I have a sense of deep knowing that things are unfolding exactly as they are supposed to, even when it seems wildly confusing.
What is coming is exactly, always what I need to be the next version of myself.
Perhaps not the overjoyed pregnancy announcement we’re used to seeing on social media. That’s why I think it’s important to share. Pregnancy can indeed be hard. Highly emotional. Difficult. It is ok.
I have been allowing myself to feel exactly what I need to. I have been really honest in my discomfort. Not trying to pretend like it’s something it’s not, or force myself to feel differently.
I’ll continue to give myself permission in whatever I’m feeling as we move along through pregnancy and postpartum.
This blog is scraping the surface of what I’ve been feeling the last couple of months. I’ll be keeping you updated on how I’m doing in this pregnancy, how my exercise plan is changing, what my plans for baby’s birth will be (undecided at this time), and, of course, the pain and the heart bursting times.
I’ll be sharing the most real-time updates to my email friends. If you’re interested in staying up to date, you can subscribe to my free newsletter, with weekly updates going to your inbox, HERE.
As always, thank you for listening.