Friday, May 18, 2012

Keeping Promises

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, 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?


  1. I was wondering what your response would be when I saw the Roundup.

    I think working for balance is a very reasonable goal. But instead waffling back and forth between the round-pregnant belly and the heartache, I think finding more of a middle ground is better. Am I telling you that going to the extremes in forbidden: No. There will be scary moments on this journey and there will be some incredibly happy ones. But I also know that worrying about not being positive when everyone tells you you should be can be incredibly stressful too. And yes, I completely understand the defense mechanism of bracing for the worse. But honestly, has that really helped?

    Lady, you've done everything humanly possible to get to this point. And I know you will continue to do everything you can for the next 9 months and beyond. And that is truly an amazing thing. So, focus on that. When the doubt creeps in, remember you are doing all you can.

    Hugs and love.

    1. Everything Cristy said. I think a middle ground is a good aim; you have great odds that you will have a baby in 8 months, and some chance of miscarriage, but there's room in there to be cautiously optimistic (I know, an IF cliche).

      I am so happy for your great u/s this week!

  2. I do the exact same thing, picturing the worst-case scenario. My husband is the opposite, but I keep telling him that if I expect only bad things to happen, I'll be pleasantly surprised if it turns out okay. I hope you can find your balance.

  3. I struggle with the same thoughts... I feel like painting the worst picture possible will protect me from future heartache.

    You deserve happiness. No matter what is going to happen in the days to come, today you are healthy, you are pregnant(!) and your baby is growing! It's going to happen for you. I know it!

    It's absolutely impossible to prepare for crises. So, if possible, don't even try. Not as easy as it sounds, I know.

    We are rooting for you and will be here every step of the way! Keep your chin up and enjoy the coming days. You're in our thoughts!

  4. I'm right there with you. I am working on my mindset right now. I am really and truly trying to imagine this pregnancy ending differently than the last time. We can do this together!

  5. It is so scary! But you can do this! I have the faith for you that everything is going to be just fine! Hang in there and celebrate everyday stacking up in your favor! Xo

  6. I totally get everything you've said in this post. Totally get it!

  7. I'm a worrier, too. Have you ever read this bit from Through the Looking Glass?

    Alice was just beginning to say 'There's a mistake somewhere —,' when the Queen began screaming, so loud that she had to leave the sentence unfinished. 'Oh, oh, oh!' shouted the Queen, shaking her hand about as if she wanted to shake it off. 'My finger's bleeding! Oh, oh, oh, oh!'

    Her screams were so exactly like the whistle of a steam-engine, that Alice had to hold both her hands over her ears.

    'What is the matter?' she said, as soon as there was a chance of making herself heard. 'Have you pricked your finger?'

    'I haven't pricked it yet,' the Queen said, 'but I soon shall — oh, oh, oh!'

    'When do you expect to do it?' Alice said, feeling very much inclined to laugh.

    'When I fasten my shawl again,' the poor Queen groaned out: 'the brooch will come undone directly. Oh, oh!' As she said the words the brooch flew open, and the Queen clutched wildly at it, and tried to clasp it again.

    'Take care!' cried Alice. 'You're holding it all crooked!' And she caught at the brooch; but it was too late: the pin had slipped, and the Queen had pricked her finger.

    'That accounts for the bleeding, you see,' she said to Alice with a smile. 'Now you understand the way things happen here.'

    'But why don't you scream now?' Alice asked, holding her hands ready to put over her ears again.

    'Why, I've done all the screaming already,' said the Queen. 'What would be the good of having it all over again?'


Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud!