A Happier Me

Yesterday I went to therapy. Because of some irregularities in the scheduling this month, it is the first time I’ve gone since I found out I was pregnant. I was excited to share the news with my therapist, who has been with me since before my ectopic in the summer of 2009.

It’s always so interesting to see how I choose to present things to my therapist. I never decide before hand, it just happens organically when I’m in her presence. Yesterday, before she even commented on it, I noticed how detached I was being in describing this pregnancy. I was presenting the facts, occasionally throwing in my reactions of disbelief or awe that all of it was happening. Otherwise, it would be hard to discern how I actually FELT about the whole thing. I realized, over the course of the hour, that I was still holding this pregnancy at arm’s length. I made a choice, weeks ago, to not feel real happiness about all this until we hit the famed 12 week mark. I’m just not letting myself go that to that supremely happy place yet.

My therapist did not agree with this course of action. She urged me to feel real, unbridled joy about all of this. I understand where she is coming from, and I honestly don’t believe that feeling real joy now will make it hurt anymore if something goes wrong, I guess I just don’t know HOW to feel that joy when I’m not sure how this will all turn out. It’s hard for me to know how to feel joy for just this moment, without making that joy about how all of this will turn out.

I do have moments, when I’m sitting next to Mi.Vida and I turn to him and whisper, “Can you believe I’m pregnant?!” or, “I’m so excited that we’re probably going to have another baby!” And he smiles and says he can’t believe it either and we share a couple of moments of sheer bliss.

I do have those moments, and I don’t allow any fear of the future to cloud them. They are definitely a very real part of this experience and I do feel genuine, unbridled joy about everything that is happening.

But the day to day, is kind of well, grueling. I feel sick most of the time, though I’ve found a way to keep the puking at bay (at least after the initial puke fest, which I cannot stave off). The tension headaches have started, and a prolonged head and neck massage left me so sore and tender that just grazing the skin at the back of my neck is excruciating (it seriously feels like someone took a hammer to the base of my skull it’s so crazy sore). These past weeks have been exhausting and I feel gross 90% of the time. I’m very grateful for these assurances that I’m probably still pregnant but it’s challenging to teach and keep my home in order and parent an almost three year old when I feel like death warmed over the majority of the time.

So yeah, my day to day is not so much about the unbridled joy of embracing this pregnancy. In my mind it is, but in my body, it’s just not.

Last week I managed to feel well enough to attempt my 40 minutes on the elliptical. It didn’t feel great, but it didn’t feel awful either. When I got off I did some stretches and at one point I was inspired to do some cat-cows. At that moment, I had a vision of myself doing that very stretch, but very pregnant. It was like I could just feel what it would be like in six months, with a big, round belly hanging below me.

In that moment I was absolutely sure my next appointment would be fine. I had no doubt that all would be well in two weeks.

Of course these feelings were fleeting, but I can grasp at them again, if I try. I do have these moments, of sheer joy that all this is happening, of overwhelming gratitude that this is my life.

At one point during my appointment yesterday, I was talking about how I felt this pregnancy was such an incredible gift, something I was given instead of something I fought for (and I know I fought for it, but the way it happened, on a month we weren’t really trying and our timing was off, makes it feel like a gift). My therapist agreed that I had been given something very special and mentioned that those that are given great gifts should focus on giving back in some way. It wasn’t like she was guilting me into doing something, she just mentioned it in passing and it immediately felt right, that I should be honoring this gift by giving back to the universe in some way. It’s something I WANT to do to celebrate this pregnancy. And I think it’s the best way I can really revel in the pure joy I feel to be given this incredible gift.

My therapist says she wants me to focus on a happier me in these early, uncertain weeks of this pregnancy. Creating and implementing a project about giving back is definitely the way I will do that. Now I just have to figure out exactly how I’m going to give back and to whom.

6 responses

  1. “I guess I just don’t know HOW to feel that joy when I’m not sure how this will all turn out. ” We never know how a pregnancy will turn out until the very end – and that’s a terrible thing – but it is reality. I lived my entire first pregnancy waiting for something bad to happen, and it makes me sad that I missed out on some of the happy feelings I’m feeling with this pregnancy. I know it’s scary, but the VAST majority of us will get to the end of our pregnancies with a great outcome, and you need to believe that you will be one of us!

    I do think you sound rather happy though! 🙂 That’s a great thing!

  2. I always held it at arm’s length too even though, as you say, being joyful at the time wouldn’t make it any less agonizing later if something happened. But I still couldn’t just feel joy – it’s just my coping mechanism, I guess. Looking forward to hearing more about your giving back plan – sounds great!

  3. I think I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again … I felt joy when I was pregnant for the second time. Ultimately it turned out to be my second ectopic and my last pregnancy. So I’m glad I felt joy, because with the joy came love, and I’m not sure if you can feel the love without the joy. And memories of that love are precious to me now.

    I do however completely understand that if you are physically feeling horrible, then you shouldn’t have to feel joyful about that aspect of the pregnancy! I think there is often the feeling – and sometimes the words are said too – around infertility groups or pregnancy loss groups that those who are pregnant shouldn’t complain about anything. And I don’t agree with that. If you feel horrible and sick and tired or scared, then you are allowed to feel that.

    I guess what I’ve said here essentially is I think you should feel the way you feel – don’t push things away, or pretend you’re fine if you’re not, or if you are fine, then celebrate it!

  4. I held my second pregnancy at arm’s length for at least 20 weeks, and even then, I had a hard time feeling like it was going to result in a live baby. I think you can’t feel anything other than what you feel. You can’t MAKE yourself believe. I don’t buy “fake it ’til you make it.”

    But I do buy living in the moment, and if the moment is happy, to treasure it.

    I also think there’s nothing bad that can come of giving back if you have joy to share.

  5. I too held my 2nd pregnancy at arm’s length, because I couldn’t really believe I deserved it. And lots of other stuff going on that made it hard to truly “enjoy” the time. But as usual, I love your attitude and the idea of giving back can only bring good things.

  6. What a great suggestion by your therapist – to give back in some way. Not just because it will help others but because it will likely help you retain that happiness for yourself too. Very cool.

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