OK so I’m struggling.
I’m experiencing “normal” pregnancy stuff – nausea, exhaustion, food aversions and cravings. Although it is pretty much like my previous pregnancies, it is also completely different. It is hauntingly similarly different…if that makes any sense.
Last year, I was pregnant with Manav at the same time of year, and I suffered through these classic symptoms of pregnancy and it was fucking hard. Caring for a toddler and puking and bitching and puking some more – way too hard. But, I comforted myself with thoughts like “you’ll never have to do this again” or “it is worth it because you’ll have your baby with you this time next year”. I said those very words to myself and I gritted my teeth and got through the brutal first trimester. This time around I’m finding it super hard to convince myself that I’m a rockstar and that I can do it. I don’t feel excited. I don’t feel hopeful. I don’t imagine cuddling a squishy newborn or even feeling kicks one day. Sometimes, I don’t feel any kind of emotion.
At first, I thought I was angry at this little baby inside me. How dare you just show up before I was mentally prepared and make me suffer through completely normal pregnancy symptoms during the one week I have off this summer to spend time with Avi? How dare you rob Avi of his mother’s attention, energy and motivation? Avi already had a crappy week off with me last August when I was expecting Manav; this summer was supposed to be so different. How dare this new baby ruin my plans! I’m so pathetic.
Today I am realizing I’m not really angry at this baby (I’m not totally in love or anything yet either) but I do know that I’m not blaming the baby. I think I’m finally facing my anger at my body. I’m angry at my uterus, and my placenta. I’m angry at my shitty pancreas that let me down last time and made me get gestational diabetes. I’m pissed that my damn body can’t retain iron and that maybe it was partly to blame for Manav not surviving. I’m angry that I am not a glowy, happy pregnant girl who doesn’t feel completely exhausted all.the.time. I’m so mad. I feel so betrayed by this body that took me forever to finally love. I no longer celebrate the little changes I notice as my pregnancy moves forward. Instead, I am irritated by it, I’m offended by it, and resist them with a fiery passion.
Maybe it is because I never really got really fucking angry when Manav died. I mean, I got angry at things…but I didn’t really feel angry the way I thought I would after holding his lifeless body against my cheek, letting him drown in my tears of grief. I silently avoided thinking about who I could blame for this death. I remained neutral when my period returned, but deep down I felt annoyance that my body was like “hey look at me! I’m ready for another pregnancy since it has been only 6 weeks since we lost the last kid! I’m awesome!”. I tried to celebrate the signs that I can move forward to bring another child into my life. I was happy that my fertility tests were all good and that there were no issues. But looking back, I realize now that I had no internal dialogue during those blood tests and ultrasounds. I wasn’t cheering myself on, or encouraging positive thoughts. I was like, whatever man, let’s just get this done. I guess I naively thought I could just not talk about it.
But it’s there. I’m pissed. I’m hurt. More than anything, I’m scared to trust my body. I can no longer feel comforted by “normal” symptoms. Nothing comforts me now. I am frozen for 34 more weeks (hopefully) before I can trust this body again. It is like your best friend cheating on your spouse; it is unforgivable and yet you love them both so much. It is a bloody mess.
This body gave me my Avinash – I am so grateful for that. I was frustrated that he didn’t have the space he needed to be head down though. I’m frustrated that despite all of my running around and intense advocacy to get clearance for a vaginal breech birth, my body failed to go into labour, resulting in an unavoidable cesarean section. I’m frustrated that after that surgery, my milk took its sweet time to come in, and I lost all my confidence as a mother because my newborn would wail every time I tried to get him to latch, which made me feel like a huge failure.
I’m angry that I was so naive to believe it would be so easy the second time around. I got pregnant on my first frozen embryo transfer and had no bleeding, no drama. I was sick, I was tired, but I was pregnant for what I thought would be the last time. But then I was covered in uncontrollable itching that made me scar my body with scratches in the night and had to use all sorts of products to soothe my raw skin. My feet widened so much I had to buy new boots to get through the winter months. I got diabetes because my sugar levels were 0.3 over the limit. I had lots of movement from Manav, I felt that he was safe inside me. I would whisper to him as I hustled from work to daycare, to home to appointments, in between cooking dinner and blood tests, and tossing and turning in the middle of the night. I would tell him that I was sorry for not having time to read to him, or rub my belly the way I did with Avi. I told him that he’s safe inside me and that once he’s born, I will really relish those newborn days that I was too fucked up to enjoy with Avi when he was born. I gritted my teeth and got through the diabetes. I never missed an appointment, I packed 10 snacks a day for work, and tested my blood constantly. I went to the chiropractor to address the threat of a breech position and listened to my hypnobaby CD in the car on my way to work. I did my part. I let my body take care of Manav while I worked miracles to get things done in time for his arrival. But then he stopped moving. He stopped living. He left me without warning, without reason, without a goodbye.
I am forced to work with my worst enemy now to bring forth another child – dead or alive. I need to take the damn vitamins and eat healthy so my body has no excuse to fail at its ultimate responsibility as a woman – to bring my baby into this world alive and healthy.
There are no positive thoughts. There is no safe point. I am treading a dangerous path with a murderer handcuffed to me with my child’s life on the line. There is no comfort in that.