Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It's all there is

"One of the things which danger does to you after a time is -, well, to kill emotion. I don't think I shall ever feel anything again except fear."
~Graham Greene - The Confidential Agent (1939)

Well here I am. Paralyzed with fear. My stomach hurts and my neck is tense...all the time. I find that I can't talk about being pregnant unless I'm outwardly happy and sugary sweet. But it's all an act.

I'm terrified to my very core. I spend time thinking about being pregnant and crying when nobody is watching.

I'm afraid to speak. If I say anything negative and something bad happens, I know the guilt I will feel. If I say anything positive and something bad happens, I know the disappointment I will feel. So I say nothing at all.

I joke about being in denial and try to dress it up as something funny or cute. But it's neither funny nor cute. It's well and truly sad. But what is left for me? I feel like I've gone ten rounds with fear and fear is kicking my ass. Fear has locked the door and left the two of us in a room all alone...and is kicking my ass.

My fear of losing this pregnancy (I can't even bring myself to say "baby" yet), is all mixed up with fear of losing people I love...and my own death. I had thought I was evolved beyond that. I had grown to accept that death is a part of life, as beautiful as birth. But I have to admit that I'm still afraid. Fear whispers in my ear, "What if it's not beautiful?"

I did a lot of thinking and preparing to get pregnant again. I waited until I thought I could handle the swirling emotions. I didn't have a freaking clue. Getting pregnant was easy. BEING pregnant...there just are no words.

You see, I never had a problem. I had a perfect pregnancy. I had a perfect little boy. And he died without ever taking a breath in this world.

So for me now, there is no peace in a perfect pregnancy. There is no peace in seeing or hearing a heartbeat. There is no peace in morning sickness or food cravings. There is only the fear. The fear that whispers in my ear, "You've been here before, what makes you think it will be different this time? Perfect only lasts so long."

I so desperately want to ignore the fear. But I'm just not strong enough. And there is nothing to take its place even if I could. I try my best to stay in the moment...the here and now. But that can only work for so long. Eventually I'm going to have to address the possibilities...all of them. But what happened to happiness and love and excitement and anticipation? Where did they go? Has fear really killed them?

(I know it's probably not healthy that I anthropomorphize fear and death and all things nasty in life...but it's the only way I have to describe their almost physical presence I feel in my life at the moment).


Sarah said...

I'm so sorry Catherine. I can only imagine (but i have a very active imagination!). I hate to say it... but it sounds normal. How can you not have fear, fear that will at times feel like it is going to drown you. “We” all know (more than most people) that there is no safe line to cross in pregnancy. So we don't get the luxury of ever knowing that it is going to be ok.

There is only hope and gritting out teeth to make it through another day without losing it. And hopefully reminders from everyone out here will help make it a little better for at least a few minutes. I think that’s all you can do.

Hugs hugs hugs.

AJW5403 said...

I understand your fear. The fear of losing another child. The fear of just being pregnant. I know it all to well.

I do hope for you that you will hit a point were it is not as scary. I have hit that point and feel so much better. Don't get me wrong though, I am still scared just not as bad. I can breathe now.

The one thing that did give me comfort was that this time they were watching things more closely. I hope that you can take some comfort in the fact that they will pay more attention to you and your baby this time.

I wish I had something else I could tell you that would make you fell better. But as you know everybody is different. Just remember I am wishing the best for you.

Anonymous said...

Catherine, you need to try to be calm. please. for this new baby's sake. you have to try to think positive thoughts. i lost a pregnancy in august. i'm pregnant again and i'm doing everything possible to enjoy this pregnancy. i already have 3 kids but we wanted another just as much as the 3 we already have. (i'm an only child. wanted a large family). but i digress....

during my previous pregnancies i never even bought maternity clothes. i would just try to wear bigger clothing. this time around i am spoiling myself rotten!! try it out. do fun stuff for yourself and your family. i know that it's b/s for me to say to try not to think about what happened, but at least try to stay positive for this new bundle of joy that will be entering your life.


Anonymous said...

I've been where you are but I fought my way out. You cannot control what happens even if you try. You are giving fear way too much credit. Fear comes from the devil and you are giving him more credit than you are giving the God who planted this beautiful baby in you. I know you are being honest, and I appreciate that, but you have to fight. And you have to remember that "perfect love casts out all fear." if you have perfect love for this BABY, then stand up and fight that fear. Do not let it win! Give God the glory for letting you carry another baby!

kate said...

To the anonymous commenters above, i say: Huh???!!! Whatever you're smoking, send some my way.

My subsequent pregnancy with Chloe was the longest 38 wks 4 days of my life. It was full of constant fear and anxiety. This is normal after what we have been through. It will also NOT hurt the baby (in fact some studies have indicated that maternal anxiety helps the baby's lungs develop faster...)

The love is there, hun -- that is why you fear. If you did not love this new baby, you would not have so much fear and anxiety. The happiness and excitement and anticipation, they just might have to wait. It is hard to anticipate with happiness when you don't trust your body to produce a living child. However, i predict you will find flashes of these emotions throught your pregnancy -- and you will enjoy them all the more knowing how ephemeral they are. And as you know very well -- all the fear is worth it, to have a living child in your arms at the end. I am thinking for you, and praying for you too....

Catherine said...

but at least try to stay positive for this new bundle of joy that will be entering your life.

Two things...
1. Stay positive? Is that all it takes? Sorry...but I was as positive as Mary-freaking-sunshine with Alex...and he died.
2. New bundle of joy entering my life? Like Alex did? The power of positive thinking just ain't gonna cut it here.

Fear comes from the devil and you are giving him more credit than you are giving the God who planted this beautiful baby in you.

You have got to be kidding me right? I'm afraid to walk into oncoming traffic...but I doubt that's the devil at work...in fact, I think that's a pretty good sense of self-preservation (perhaps even given to me by God). Your premise AND your analysis is faulty.

R said...

hmm...interesting post from anon. can you try and figure out who it is by using your sitemeter stats, catherine? i agree that excessive fear comes from the devil, but i also agree that a bit of fear is a self-preservation, if you will...like your traffic analogy, catherine. and why did this person post as anon? why not just come out and say it?

Jill said...

People say stupid things when they truly don't get it and are too self absorbed to think their opinions through logically. Example, a friend told me she would eat barley sugar to avoid PPD...if it were that easy everyone would do it.

What Kate said is right. You already love this child which is why you fear losing it. I never allowed ny attachment to my first sub pg. Never thought it was a baby, never imagined a future. It saved my sanity quite frankly because that one was lost as well.

As time passes you will have moments of caalm and happiness even if 'the knowledge' never goes away. When the baby is quiet for 5 minutes it seems like an hour and you will be reaching for the doppler (or coke and chocolate cake to get some action!) for reassurance.

It'll be a long pregnancy but there are people around who understand and who will speak to your fear rather than beat you over the head with God and utter misunderstanding.

deadbabymama said...

Good grief those anon comments are bizarre. Holy cats. Anyway.

There is a lot of fear, and you have a lot of very good reasons to be fearful. The only thing I'm going to call bullshit on in your post is when you say there is only fear - because that just isn't the case. There is lots of other stuff mixed up with the fear, some good and some almost as bad as the fear, and it will take you awhile to sort it all out and be able to grab on to the good bits and cope with the bad ones. Just keep breathing, keep being kind to yourself, keep writing, keep knitting and the bits of life you can't control will do what they do and you will live through it. You've come this far, hon, fear does not dominate the powerful person you are.

lauralu said...

holy cats, indeed. (is that a great exclamation or what? sheer genius, dbm!) i clicked on comments to say, "i feel you," and i do, but your commenters from pluto or whatever that new planet beyond pluto is that was just discovered threw me for a loop. i'm so, so proud of you for standing up to them, and relieved i didn't have to do some ass-kicking for you. i was prepared to do it, though, if need be. i would kick extra-planetary ass for you any day.