Embracing my pregnancy ambivalence

8 Jan

My 150th post!

We’ve made it to 18 1/2 weeks already. Yeah!  Despite this huge milestone I find myself struggling to talk about the pregnancy.    I am dragging my feet about telling people because I still don’t feel ready.  I keep giving myself milestones to look forward to.    This time it was the advanced ultrasound where they scan all the organs.  I had heard so much about it.  I told myself if it went ok, then we’d be on solid ground.  Sure enough the scan came and went and I still find myself nervous.  Just last night we were doing introductions in a new class I am taking and two people mentioned their pregnancies.  Meanwhile I managed to clam up and skip that in my introduction.

For a while I told myself I’d wait until I was showing.  Well, now I find myself being more and more creative with my clothes because I want to hide the bump and delay telling even more.  I think that’s a sign that I should spill the beans and just come out already.  I’ve told my inner circle, but I stil haven’t told the majority of our friends and I haven’t mentioned anything at work.  I am a contractor and not an employee so I don’t get an official maternity leave, but I still should say something.   Since I work from home I’ve enjoyed so much privacy, not worrying about showing.  Tomorrow night we actually have a work event at the local bowling and arcade place.  Since I rarely see most of these people it’s a great opportunity to socialize face to face, but I find myself obsessing about what to wear to hide the bump.  When I have my 1-on-1 with my director in a week, maybe that will be a good time to tell.  So far 1-on-1 is working out the best, big groups make me freeze.

Lately I’ve been fantasizing about 20 weeks.  It’s the half way point, so that sounds safe, right?  I think I am just fooling myself that some safe appropriate milestone will come up.  As far as I know this is it.  This is as safe as it gets, so I should just relax.  But somehow I still struggle to make the transition.  I cling to my infertility podcasts, more comfortable hearing about miscarriage and baby loss and more familiar with the emotions that go along with that.  I feel excited, but almost detached from this pregnancy.  I feel like I should have been crying tears of joy at our last exam seeing all those images of the baby and getting the official confirmation, It’s a girl!  Instead I was focused on what is the next thing to worry about, in our case it is a fetal echo in 4 weeks to confirm a healthy heart (recommended for pregnancies from IVF).

I want to be able to enjoy the pregnancy and share it with others, but I am not there yet and I am not sure exactly why.  Up until now we’ve told people that I am comfortable “untelling” (if it came to that) because of our good relationships.  Now that I am going to the outer circles I am anxious about the questions and the expectations.  I told someone last night who knew about  my losses and he asked if we had a name already.  Wow, that is SO not on my mind right now.  It should be but it isn’t.

I am taking this mindfulness/stress reduction class as part of my Counseling Psychology degree and I think I need to just take some of that to heart.  This is what we learned to say to ourselves: Be aware of and embrace your anxiety.  Acknowledge it and let it go.  It’s there and it will likely be there when you or someone else talks about pregnancy.  It’s part of how you feel right now and that’s ok.  It’s totally ok to be anxious.  You don’t have to be this perfect happy pregnant person.  You don’t have to be glowing with joy.  Where you are is just fine.  Embrace it.


7 Responses to “Embracing my pregnancy ambivalence”

  1. Another Dreamer January 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    I can definitely relate to this. We told people because I was on bed rest in the beginning and it was unavoidable, but I was always uncomfortable talking about it. Going to the infant care and breast feeding class I felt like a poser, like I didn’t belong there, and I didn’t want to talk about the pregnancy. I was excited about it, but it also didn’t seem real- I didn’t believe I was actually getting a baby out of it. I didn’t buy anything until 24wks, and when they told us it was a boy at 16wks we were like, “Huh.” I mean it made it a little more real, but at the same time I was still very detached.

    So I’m just saying that I think the way you feel and how you’re dealing with it is totally normal after what you’ve been through. Keep taking it one day at a time!

    I’m so glad things are still going well though.

    • starfishkittydreams January 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comment. I think telling is so different when you’ve had the IVF/RPL experience. It seems like it can’t be real since it is so different than the previous times.

  2. missohkay January 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    I can see why it’s hard to believe and trust in this pregnancy. Just enjoy what you can and don’t beat yourself up about it the rest of the time 🙂

  3. Louisa January 11, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I guess what helped me is when I came to the realization that not telling people was not going to do anything to protect me from heartache should something go wrong. Everyone gets there at a time that is right for them.

  4. Amy January 17, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    This rings so true. A different blog asked just the other day when we started to accept/feel comfortable with our pregnancies, and I had to honestly say that in some aspects, it wasn’t until after birth! While I did allow myself to relish feeling movement and have moments of really enjoying being pregnant, there was always a part of my brain that stayed in denial that it would actually end in bringing home a baby. It’s a defense mechanism, and totally normal given your experiences so far. It definitely doesn’t mean you won’t bond with your baby, or that anything is wrong about how you’re coping! While you definitely need to do what you are comfortable with in regard to telling people, there is also something to be said for the relief that comes after having told. Even if it doesn’t make you feel as “normal” about it as others will probably perceive, it can help you move in that direction at least as it encourages you to act “normal” about it. Sort of fake it until you’re making it without realizing it. You just keep doing what feels right for you at any given moment, and try not to think that you should do otherwise. Your last paragraph is brilliant – I hope that approach will bring you some comfort in the most anxious times. Still so very happy for you!!

  5. abanyc September 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Thank you for writing this. I found it after googling “pregnant and ambivalent.” I’m 15.5 weeks, a first for me after four miscarriages (“spontaneous”) and one ectopic (IVF with PGD). I should be over the moon, and instead I’m being super careful about telling people (my DH is spreading the news far more than I am, as of last week, when the genetic tests cleared us, for now)…and feeling, well, ambivalent. At first I thought I’d attribute this feeling to the near-constant nausea the first ten weeks, but now that has passed, and I still feel very protective of my privacy; I don’t want anyone else to know except for my closest friends. Not yet. Not when? Who knows. I can still get away with it by wearing cardigans and blazers. Part of this is an inability to accept, and celebrate that I didn’t just GET pregnant, but am STILL pregnant. It’s a combination of fear and practiced detachment developed after the first five pregnancies (all ended at 6-8 weeks). Part of this, I’m afraid, is an ambivalence – and fear – about this meteor that will blow up our lives as well know it. It’s a very welcome meteor, that’s for sure, but I can’t start to imagine how we’ll make sense of the chaos (it feels like we’re on the periphery of chaos as it is, “balancing” all we do). The joy our parents, sisters, cousins express, I recognize that. They are truly and deeply happy for us. I’ve been there. But, in every other instance, my involvement has been that of an aunt, a friend…I’m not afraid of being inflexible or selfish, only that I’m surprised by this lack of joy or oneness with this little creature whose thriving so far… It’s as though I’m afraid of feeling it and am more attuned to the negatives.
    In short (this is the first time I’ve expressed this anywhere, to anyone – I do love the blogosphere at times like this), thank you for sharing your experiences, and emotions.

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