I haven't published anything to my blog in a while, but this time it's not the standard rash of weak excuses. About eight weeks ago, Jason and I found out I'm pregnant with our second kiddo. So, I've been exhausted and nauseated and using every spare minute to nap instead of write (or clean, or make dinner, or do laundry.) The other thing is this: I did sit down and start to write a few times, but all I could think about was being pregnant. That's what I felt compelled to write about, and we were not yet telling the world since I was just in the first trimester. Now that I'm around thirteen weeks and we've seen a very active little one on ultrasound, we are letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.
Our decision not to tell anyone was not just your garden variety err on the side of caution. Before we had Jack, I had four first trimester miscarriages. I won't get into the details, but I had a uterine abnormality that was corrected, allowing Jack to be carried to term. Then, right before last Christmas, I had another miscarriage, for no particular reason that could be determined (like most.) So you see, we guarded our enthusiasm for this pregnancy with good reason. I used to feel sorry for myself because I couldn't let myself feel the excitement that many other women revel in when they get that positive pregnancy test. I felt envious of friends who announced with beaming faces, "I'm pregnant," when they were only five weeks along. I have realized, though, that it could be worse. I could have trouble getting pregnant (which I don't AT ALL) on top of the miscarriages. I could have any number of other maladies that would prevent me from having children at all. The tendency to miscarry and the anxiety that goes with it is just my particular row to hoe. Everyone has troubles and challenges, even if they're not obvious. I might as well accept mine.
Early pregnancy for me comes with a lot worry and stress, but this time I really wanted to keep that at bay. It's maddening to wonder every second of the thirteen plus weeks of the first trimester if everything is going okay in there. The kicker is, there's nothing I can do about it. I think that's the main source of stress. I can eat right and take care of myself, but beyond that, there is nothing I can do to change the outcome of a pregnancy. So this time around, when I would feel that panic welling up from my heart into my throat - that anxiety-ridden voice that asked, "what if I miscarry again?" I found a strong, firm voice to answer it. I'd repeat a mantra I picked up in yoga: "I am only part." What that means to me is this: I can only do my part to make sure my body is a good place to grow a baby. The rest is up to chance, fate, the universe, whatever. It doesn't matter what. The point is, there is a very large part of pregnancy that is not up to me. So I would take a deep breath and do my best to let it go, because worrying about it was only going to make me miserable, not change the outcome. This actually worked pretty well, and I was much less of a basket case this time than previously. And now, I can relax a little and be excited. I have finally allowed myself to start thinking about where we will put the new baby and how to prepare Jack for a sibling and all the other fun stuff that goes with being pregnant.
My mom said to me not too long ago, she thought I was brave for persevering with my goal of having children with so many miscarriages under my belt. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Though after having Jack, I thought about it more like gambling in Vegas. My odds of getting a baby out of a pregnancy were pretty low, but it HAD happened and, oh, when we hit the jackpot again, it was gonna be sweet! I really don't think it's about bravery, though. When you want something as badly as I have always wanted children, you do what you have to to get it. The alternative, giving in and resigning yourself to failure, is unthinkable.
I seem to be hitting a recurring theme in my life the past several years, and it revolves around letting go of control, or more to the point, things over which I imagine I can have control. It turns out, not only is a large part of pregnancy beyond my influence, but a substantial part of life in general is as well. Having babies, when, what kind and how many, is largely out of my control. Those children are going to have personalities, quirks, habits and ideas that are totally beyond my manipulation. And I know that's only going to get more pronounced as Jack and baby number two get older and go out into the world on their own. They are going to make decision I don't agree with, they're going to have friends I don't like and they're going to eat, drink and/or smoke things that I don't approve of. If I maintain my illusion of control, these things are going to break me, because I am going to thing all of them are my fault - that they would make better decisions if I were a better mother. So I think I'll keep working on my abdication of control, because, as scary as it is to let go, it feels really good not to be responsible for every bad thing that ever happens.