Mel called me out. She said, now that I promised to not waste my entire pregnancy being petrified, I have to follow through and keep my promise. I'm doing my best. I truly am.
At work, I had to teach a series of lessons to my students about child abuse prevention. The lessons cover the normal stuff: strangers, good touch/bad touch, assertiveness...you get the idea. We teach it every year. We asked them during the lessons, "What can you do to keep yourself safe?" They suggested ideas like not talking to strangers, saying "No!" if someone made them feel uncomfortable, and never telling someone you are home alone. Yes, you still have to explicitly teach this stuff.
But, when I think about that question and what my own answer would be, the response is quite different. I think I have a handle on physical safety. I lived in major urban areas my entire life: first Los Angeles, and now Boston. I know about eye contact, staying alert, and looking like you know exactly where you are going at all times. I'm not so worried about keeping my body safe. It's the brain that's really vulnerable.
Emotional safety and protection is a really tricky issue. There is no feeling quite like that of being vulnerable. You could be vulnerable to another person (in a relationship for instance) or you can be vulnerable to life circumstances (as in infertility and other life crises). Everyone tries to protect themselves from heartache at one point or another, and we all have different methods of doing this. What can I do to keep myself safe? For me, it feels safer to constantly imagine the worst case scenario - to visualize the most frightening thing I can imagine. Somehow, I have convinced myself that if I can imagine a truly awful outcome to a situation in which I feel completely exposed and vulnerable, it won't hurt as badly if it comes to fruition. I've prepared myself for it, see?
This pattern sounds really depressing and cynical. KG kids me about it all the time. But I don't know how to change it. This is a long-time habit, that has been perfected over the course of my life.
I think perhaps my goal shouldn't be to stop it, but to balance it with also focusing on the flip side. Along with picturing tears and heartache, I should picture a round belly and kicks in my ribs. If I can get to a 50/50 ratio, that's major progress.
Like I said before, it is ridiculous to waste this time, purely based on the possibility it might end tomorrow. The fact is that I have no idea what's going to happen. I have no control. I have to accept that. So, I might as well reap as much joy as I can.
Since seeing the heartbeat on Monday (was that really only a few days
ago? Longest. Week. Ever.), I feel better. I won't say I don't have
moments of heart stopping, stomach dropping fear that there won't be a
heartbeat at the next ultrasound. I do have my fair share of those
moments. But, I also have a lot of moments where this is starting to
feel a little more real. Where I relax a little. Where I smile knowingly. Hell, I even took a major step and unpacked some pregnancy
books I had hidden in the closet since my miscarriage. This was a
big thing for me, and I'm praying I didn't jinx myself.
Another accomplishment: I made an appointment with a
regular OB for the week after my last ultrasound at the RE's office. It
took me a few days to psych myself up to do it, but it's done. Of
course, I keep picturing myself having to cancel the appointment because
I've miscarried, but you can't expect me to have a complete emotional
overhaul in one week, right?