Monday, 20 February 2012

Brain Dump - Introspection

Bump at 20 weeks, with giganta-arm

The bump, 20 weeks.

I've ummed and ahhed about writing this post for some hours. Most of the pregnancy blogs I read are witty, or wise or are infused with a sense of wistfulness, even rage. However, looking back at the path I have travelled, this blog has, at all times, been honest about my feelings. I don't see any good reason to change.

I'm 20 weeks and 2 days pregnant. My scan is on Friday. Hopefully we will then find our whether our baby is a boy or a girl.

I'm very excited about the scan, but I feel very introspective and emotional too. I can feel little Boris wiggling around inside me; last night he woke me up with his kicks for the first time. It was an amazing, joyful feeling, lying alone in the dark and the silence feeling the warm life moving within me, to the sound track of his father's deep, slumbersome breaths. But at the same time I feel a bit anxious, a bit fragile, a bit vulnerable.

Feelings are very hard to pin down. I'm not worried about anything in particular, I just feel naked somehow. I'm a bit worried about whether there will be anything wrong at the scan. Also, I've known 3 people in recent years who have had seriously disabled children and their baby's conditions were not picked up at the anomaly scan. That frightens me too. It makes me feel as though the plans that I make are tempting fate somehow. I feel as though I am holding off because part of me is sure that we will be facing a loss of some sort. I just want to get it over and done with. Then again, I know that the chances of this happening are tiny - about 2% - and that the baby is growing and kicking, and my bump is growing every day. We've not had problems in past pregnancies and there aren't any nasty conditions in our families. Statistically, I'm worrying about nothing. But it has to happen to someone. 

I've been thinking a lot about the birth too. I'm now half way through the pregnancy - which seems to have been very quick and years at the same time. I've been watching lots of episodes of One Born Every Minute and I am struck by what a leveller birth and babies are. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, young or old, there's no easy way out. At the same time, I'm hoping to have a relaxed water birth, ideally at home. I am listening to Hypnobirthing MP3s and we hope to go to a Natal Hypnotherapy class. I hope that I am able to deal with birth, and with my lovely baby, with grace and patience. I hope, beyond all else, that I can cope. I want it to be a happy experience for us all; I am trepidatious.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I was rather worried about having Dom at the birth. It's not because of anything he would or would not do, it was because I knew I would lose control and I didn't want him to see me in such an undignified state. I wanted him to still find me attractive afterwards. I've been thinking recently how differently I feel now; how much more of myself I have revealed to him over the last 7 years. Its not as though we were newly weds when Charlie was born; we'd been together for 4 years. I didn't realise how much I was holding back. He was (of course) brilliant at the birth, and our shared experience bound us together in a way that is immeasurable. However, this time, there's no-one else I want there. If it could just be the two of us, that would be perfect. The shape of his hands, the sound of his voice, his touch, all bring a sense of love and security that can't be replicated or replaced. Since Charlie was born, I have broken down into my component parts, and that loving man hasn't left, and I haven't melted away. I am OK - and I am loved - even when I feel vulnerable. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel similarly broken down emotionally, right now, as though anyone could reach in and poke that painful place. And some people have. I have, most probably, completely overreacted to tiny things. Like the big, fat, generous tears that come several times a day for the most insignificant of reasons. I am not quite myself, not quite in charge of my emotions. Not depressed, but raw.

When I had Charlie, I was in control of my life. I just knew I would cope. I didn't. I was dogged with horrendous post natal depression and Charlie did nothing but cry. How will I do any better when I am that much more vulnerable to start with? I am about to be a mother of 3, and I feel like a little girl for whom the world's too much.

Then again, there is a side of me that says, OK, so I feel more vulnerable this time. But I have confronted my depression, and the life-long reasons that lie behind it, in therapy and with medication. I've had an emotional clear out. I've developed stronger and more secure relationships and weeded a few unhealthy ones out. Maybe - just maybe - I'm in a stronger place than I was before because I know my demons. I am not depressed, I am pregnant. It's OK to have wobbly emotions. And I know the signs of depression. At the first hint, I can go back to the doctors and ask for the anti-depressants and not battle with the dark shame of having a mental illness. I am past that.

They say love heals all - it will, won't it? Because as sure as night follows day, I love my dear husband, and Jonny and Charlie and this squirmy thing in my belly. The whole world could shut tomorrow and as long as I had my family, I would be OK. And this is just more love, right? I'm not anxious or depressed in a bad way, just a little unsure. This all feels like serious shit, and I want to get it right.

I don't know whether these feelings are normal in pregnancy. They are interspersed with thoughts about the colour of the nursery paint, wondering whether its a boy or a girl, getting Dom to feel my bump, looking at baby clothes etc etc. There's enough love and frivolity and joy. But if I'm not honest about my darker feelings, then who will be?

I just want it to be right. Tell me it's all working out the way its supposed to?

Claire x


  1. I think your feelings are absolutely normal - I remember the worry that something might be wrong and wondering how I would cope, even though statistically it was highly unlikely. Whether it's your first or your fifth baby it is a life-changing experience, bound to be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and also, you may have had a baby before but you haven't had THIS baby before, with all the attendant adjustments in family dynamics etc - it is still a leap into the unknown for all that it is a welcome leap!

  2. Thanks for posting Terri, how lovely of you to take the time to reassure me. I am very grateful X