I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve gotten to see that little pink line, followed by a second, fainter pink line, appear twice (Well, more like 8 times. You can’t be too sure!). Enough of my friends have struggled with getting pregnant that I know better than to take those twin lines for granted.
Now at the beginning of my second trimester, I can’t help comparing my experiences this time to those I had when I was pregnant with Little Darcy. Physically, it’s been the same–little to no morning sickness, tons of headaches, craving super cold things. Going to the bathroom every five seconds. Wishing away the spider veins as they continue to darken on my right leg.
Emotionally, however, it’s completely different. And I’m realizing that what I felt during my first pregnancy wasn’t normal new-mom jitters. It was full-blown anxiety.
I’m having a hard time explaining it. Each sentence I type makes me tear up and then I delete it. Because I just want to travel back in time and tell that version of myself that it was all going to be okay, that the things I was focusing on and worrying about didn’t matter. To give that girl a hug and make her slow down long enough to feel what she was feeling. That it was okay if she cried a little, let go. To take her to the doctor and get her help.
My Grandpa passed away the day after Christmas that year. The days just before and after his passing were some of the most difficult of my life, but I didn’t allow myself to fully feel what was happening. I cried a little, and then shut it down. I went through the motions, doing what I could to support my family and trying not to let my Grandpa’s death sink in. My sister, on the other hand, couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t let myself go, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to come back. That was the beginning of the numbness, sort of like a protective shield, that persisted for the next year and a half.
I wanted to do everything right. Take the baby-bump photos, make a cute announcement, read every book, take every class.
I also wanted the baby to stay in. My body seemed to know what it was doing, growing the baby–I didn’t trust my mind to take care of the baby once it came out. Even though I said I couldn’t wait to meet our baby, I was scared to death (and not about the delivery part, although that is something to be terrified of). I was scared I was going to fail.
This time is different. I’m still scared, but I’m able to talk about my fears rather than try to hide them. I’m scared that I’ll experience postpartum depression again, that it’ll be worse or even manifest itself as postpartum psychosis. I’m scared that I won’t be able to balance caring for Little Darcy and a newborn, as well as supporting my husband and trying to be a good teacher. I’m scared my Grandma will pass away before I have a chance to name my daughter after her.
The Engineer and I talk about that first fear, a lot. I’m optimistic that by staying on my medication, working closely with my doctors, and creating a plan we’ll be able to stave off PPD this time–or at least, find a way to overcome much more quickly. The odds of recurrence are scarily high.
The second fear, caring for two little ones simultaneously, is going to take practice. My goal is to be as patient with myself as I am with the babies. And that last one, losing my Grandma, I have no control over. I pray for her every day and I’m trying to trust God’s timing. Thy Will Be Done.
I am so grateful for this pregnancy and for the myriad of ways it’s been different. This time, I’m so excited to meet our little girl that it sometimes hurts to think about waiting another twenty weeks. I’ve let myself buy sweet little things and put them away in her drawers, instead of agonizing over finding the “perfect” outfits and googling the correct way to fold a onesie (yes, I did that. And then I called my Mom, because not everyone online agreed and I needed to know the RIGHT WAY.) I’m trying to savor this time with Little Darcy before he’s no longer an only child.
Instead of trying to create perfection, I’m choosing to be honest, ugly honest, at every opportunity.