I Shall Overcome

Dear First Trimester,

Today marked the start of a new week and a new philosophy for me. It’s taken me two months, but I’ve decided I am done playing victim to your terrorism. You can try all you want to destroy me, but it ain’t gonna work anymore. Because I have armed myself with the tools to combat whatever you’ve got to throw at me.

You tried today. You hit me with the nausea first thing, but I ignored you and ate an egg and some toast. And no, I didn’t scramble the fucking egg like some overzealous American pregnancy books said to. I ate it RUNNY! You know why? ‘Cause I like it that way. And yeah, you tried to punish me, bringing the nausea back around on multiple occasions, before lunch, after lunch, in the evening. It’s so clever how you’ve never actually made me vomit, you passive-aggressive minx. You keep the nausea at such a low level that I swear sometimes it could be in my head, but something in my body feels so unsettled and nasty, like a fading hangover, that if I don’t eat some sort of carbohydrate every two hours, I fear death. runny-egg-yolks

But it’s my mind that is strong. You can do me dirty all day, First Trimester, because the only bad things that can truly happen to me are my own thoughts. So starting this week, I choose to think something new. I choose to fill my days with productive plans. (Yeah, I even bought a new planner!) And these plans are going to be things I enjoy, things that enrich me, things that connect me to others. So far, I’ve scheduled some volunteering, lunch with a friend, some pregilates (that’s pregnant pilates), and a date with my man. I also found some new opportunities for work.

I dare you try to foil my plans like you did with that headache when I was seeing a movie with my friend this evening! Because I have H20 and I’m not afraid to drink it! And remember when you hit me so bad with fatigue midday that I couldn’t stand up straight? You had claimed victory when I skipped yoga to take a nap, but guess what? I did my own yoga session when I woke up. Not only that, but I also got to cuddle with my hot man, who took a nap with me!

I’ll admit, you went hard. You took control of my mind and body to an extent that PMS had never been able to achieve, and I know she’s and you are business rivals, so good on ya. I spent stretches of time so depressed that I hardly recognized myself. But I’ve had it with that. I am back from the dead like Michael Myers.
And guess what, First Trimester? You are about to be history. You have one more week before there’s a new sheriff in town, and I hear Second Trimester is much fairer and less dramatic. I sincerely hope it’s a few years before we meet again.

Sincerely,
Crazy Pregnant Lady

 

Why I Didn’t Go to the Women’s March (Fear of Miscarriage)

I’m suffering from a case of FOMO today, looking at all these photos of friends who went to the women’s marches across the nation with their signs, in droves, standing for something. What did I do today? So far I woke up, talked with my man, sorting out some things we had been arguing about (because I’m fucking crazy thanks to these hormones), and ate some pancakes. I did not take a stand, other than “liking” the photos of my fellow revolutionaries.

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Statistics I’ve read say that anywhere from 10-25% of pregnancies don’t make it past the first trimester. And every single pregnancy book reminds you of that. So I have to wait until the stroke of Week 13 to even feel a little relieved.

As yet, I haven’t made it public knowledge yet that I’m pregnant. A lot of women tell no one until the first trimester is over. I’ve told my family and friends. I couldn’t keep it to myself. Not because I’m bubbling over with excitement, but because I feel isolated enough already, living as a tired-as-fuck, sicky, emotional basket case who can’t join in the party or go on the ski trip or stay up past 7:30 pm. If nobody even knew why I was acting this way and I couldn’t even get any sympathy, I’d die.

So I take the risk. I tell people when I feel like it. It one of the few exciting things in my life right now. I look at my man and say, “Should we tell them?” and then he nods, so I say, “We’re expecting a baby!” and wait for the mixed reactions. Some people squeal with delight and jump up and down and hug us and say, “You’re going to be the best parents!” and others  are like, “Oh wow. Congratulations,” then go back to whatever we were talking about before.

And I don’t want to have to tell any of those people that it isn’t to be. I don’t want to even type these miscarriage fears because I’m afraid I’ll manifest them. But I think of it every day. I feel my belly, which isn’t even showing, to see if it “feels” pregnant. I look for blood on the toilet paper and I have a fright every time I turn over in bed and feel a pain in my side. I worry myself into a frenzy about nonsense, thanks to the scary American pregnancy books that ban everything from runny eggs to a bite of brie. I worry about my relationship with the baby’s father because I’m acting like a complete alien and I’m afraid he will leave me. And what would be worse than losing the baby? Losing it and then losing him, too, because what if he’s actually only with me because he has no choice? Then after all my crying and terror, I worry that my body is going to be toxic to my baby. Or even crazier, I worry that all my complaints over the discomfort and loss of sanity of pregnancy is going to get me in trouble with the Universe. I’m afraid God is going to punish me for not running around glowing. I’m afraid it will be decided, “If you can’t even handle the first few months, you are not a worthy mother.”

I know that the majority of these lost baby cases are due to chromosomal problems and they’re out of my hands. I know all the previous paragraph’s worries are pretty much bullshit. But that’s me now. I rarely used to worry. Now it’s the first thought when I wake up.

Please God, Make It the 2nd Trimester

I am writing from inside a dark hole. The hole is my mind. I have been here for 11 Weeks, with a few escapes into the sunshine, thank God.

I’m 11 Weeks pregnant. And I want this baby. I’ve wanted to a baby for a while. My innermost desire had whispered the wish to the universe so many times that I know it heard me and sent me this gift. And I’m grateful, though it still doesn’t feel real to me. But the hormones that are pumping through my blood are not happy hormones.

I have worried. I have shaken with terror. I have cried bottomless toddler-style screams. I have lain in bed all day and all night on end. And what’s wrong with me? That’s what I want to know. I got what I asked for. I get into specifics–I didn’t say, “Universe, please send us a baby when we are financially doing great and feeling personally successful and at peace and everything is perfect.” I just quietly asked for a baby once in a while, indirectly, while writing in my journal or something. I’d just write how I wanted to have children, just sometime down the line, with this wonderful man who has changed my life for the better in so many ways.

So why do I find myself yelling “I hate you!” to this man?
Then directly after, why do I find myself yelling “I hate myself!!” Crying, begging, screaming, over and over, “I hate myself! Help me! Help me! Please just connect with me!” to a man who is standing here, not even looking at me. All I can think is He doesn’t love you. You’re not good enough. He regrets this pregnancy. He wishes he could find a way out. And none of this is true. I know none of it it true. But it comes and runs over me like a truck, and I am at its mercy, and I can’t save myself because my “self” is gone. Where has she gone?

First of all, who was she? I would describe that self as such:

I was a very active, energetic, ebullient gal. I smiled at everyone. I ran, surfed, hiked, skateboarded, biked, and loved the sunshine. I would try anything once. I meditated daily, did yoga often. I was loving. I was a writer and an actress. I wrote almost every day. Acted as much as I could in little films and sketches.  I was fearless. I left my small town and everything I knew to follow my dreams in California. I committed to things I loved and saw them through. I spent three years working on a novel and published it! I had tons of friends of all ages. Smoked weed once in a while or had some wine. Was kind and fun with kids, who loved me to be their babysitter. I was blunt and said what I was thinking, often with no filter.

And of course, like everyone, I had a darker side. It only surfaced about once a month when I was hormonal. This is what it looked like:

I had a temper that flared up, when I was being ignored or felt small. I needed to feel loved because I didn’t love myself enough, and when my needs weren’t met, I said things I didn’t mean–hurtful, cruel things to the man I love. And when I made these mistakes, I beat up on myself, punished myself for days, hated myself because I couldn’t control these outbursts. I felt like a child, and began to blame the overprotected way I was raised, or the fact I was adopted, or anything I could blame for my self-doubt, for my neediness and tantrums. I found it difficult to forgive myself, even though forgiving others came easily. I never felt like I was as good as others. I wasn’t as “worthy.” Something was “wrong” with me. None of my accomplishments were “real.” I felt like an awful, evil person, masquerading as someone kind, accomplished, and carefree.

But I was working on that. I was going to therapy weekly, getting acupuncture, doing yoga and meditation, journaling, talking, going deep to find why I somehow didn’t find myself as worthy as other people. And I was making progress, since the symptoms of my affliction only showed up around PMS time. The rest of the time I was the positive, active, happy version of me.

The problem is, when I became pregnant, my entire life became PMS time. On bath salts. I read somewhere, and I don’t know how accurate it is, that the first trimester of pregnancy is the hormonal equivalent of taking 40 birth control pills per day. Personally, I went off birth control years ago, because ONE pill per day was making me crazy. So where does that leave me now? Just multiply all my bad qualities by 15, and imagine being trapped inside that person’s mind 24 hours a day.

Self-hatred is my new M.O. Now, I’m hating for two! Because what’s worse than feeling like an unworthy piece of shit? The guilt I feel for feeling that way in the first place, for not being joyful and “glowing.” I’m now, as my brain sees it, an unfit mother in the making, heaping worry on top of worry. Not to mention, my body is stuck in an eternal hangover. In addition to sleeping an average of 12 hours per night, plus naps during the day, I wake up every morning not knowing if I’m going to feel able to eat anything, and what I can eat without feeling sick is mostly carbs which leave me feeling bloated and disgusting. My brain is a pile of mush. I have no drive anymore because I feel like I have the flu or something. So I can’t write, which is the one thing that brought me satisfaction. I can do about one thing per day. I take a walk and watch a movie and stuff my face with carbs, hoping to feel better.

My poor partner bends over backwards to try to make me feel better, to try to understand what he can never understand. I thank him and do what I can to show him my appreciation, but at least once a week, I go off the rails and begin freaking out, sobbing, and inevitably blaming him for something he didn’t do. Which adds to the guilt-shame cycle, which adds to my self-hatred and feelings of being less-than, which makes me feel temporarily suicidal since I see no way out, which makes me flare up even worse, since I feel guilty and shameful and sick and nasty all the time.

It’s the stuff of nightmares. Many new parents fear losing themselves. I fear I’ve already lost myself.