Monday, April 9, 2007

One Foot in the Loony Bin (Wk 5 PREGNANCY)

May 30, 2005

"If I can just get pregnant, I will never worry about anything ever again. I will simply be grateful for the miracle of sperm meeting egg."

When I made that promise to myself, I truly meant it. Reall.y But what is my new promise?

"If I can just not miscarry, I will never worry about anything ever again. I will simply be grateful for the miracle of giving birth to a healthy baby."

I mean, who worries when her baby gets his first fever? Stays with a sitter for the first time? Goes on a first date? Moves out? Not me, surely!

Pandora's Box of Anxiety

I spent close to a year with the lingering fear that Tom and I would be unable to get pregnant. One minute I was certain that I had endometriosis. The next minute, it was a low thyroid. Or perhaps the abdominal surgery I had as an infant had led to scar tissue blocking my tubes. Better yet, hostile mucus-- a rare disorder that would lead to my cervical fluid taking up arms against Tom's sperm.

Hello, my name is Martha, and I am a worrier.

For real-- I 've been diagnosed and everything. Several years ago I went through a long phase of insomnia. Finally, I went to a therapist who told me I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Well, duh.

Actually, it was helpful to hear it from a professional. So my worry was beyond the pale. After six months of counseling-- getting to the root of the problem, learning some coping methods, having some Oprah moments-- I could lie down at night and fall asleep like an ordinary person.

When I began this journey toward motherhood, I should have realized that my anxiety would reawaken. Not from the time I became pregnant, mind you-- I mean that from the time I decided that I wanted a baby in my near future, my dearest desires have been on the line.

A Word from Yoda

After nights of tossing and turning, falling asleep only to dream of miscarriage, the time came for me to heed the advice of Yoda. "Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to the Dark Side. Mmmmmmmmm." (Well, I guess Jesus had a thing or two to say about that, but the recently released Star Wars is on my mind.)

Fear has been robbing from me the joy of being of pregnant. Conception is a miracle. Some couples will never experience it. Others will only after years of trying, still others only after medical intervention. . For me to spend this first trimest in fear would be squandering the gift I've been given. Whatever happens tomorrow, today I have a life growing inside of me. Today I am a mother. (Update: I might add that no one is fully a mother until the day her baby starts solids and she changes a diaper with real poo.)

And what would I gain from the worry? Would worry before a miscarriage make me any less devastated if one did happen?

So during this vulnerable time, my dreams on the line, I'll have to be vigilant. Capture those anxious thoughts as soon as they come! Journal. Pray. Share my struggles with Tom, whose own "Big M" fear is not miscarriage but money (I'm sure no other fathers-to-be worry about that.)

I'm spending more time on my knees than a cloistered nun.

Belly Pic, Week5:
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