Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life's Little Changes

Yesterday, I heard the very fast, tinny heartbeat of my thirteenish-week-old soon-to-be baby at the OB's office on something that I swear she called a Doppler radar.

I know what you're thinking--I'm about to run off into a sloppy, sentimental tear-jerker about how joyous and bubbly I am at the thought of giving birth to my "little miracle" as the literature on classes offered by the local hospital likes to call it.  But you're wrong.

Being pregnant has been a hell of a ride.  Besides the hormonal rages, exhaustion that felt like when I had mono in college, and ongoing battle with morning sickness that could only be made tolerable by the use of acupressure wristbands, the emotional shock to my system is jarring.  As I enter the second trimester and the physical nastiness is subsiding, those emotional issues have nothing left to hide behind.

I'm experiencing a kind of raw vulnerability unlike anything I've ever known in my life.  I can't plan or predict or adequately prepare for the reality of motherhood--the very concept is beyond me.

Every decision, no matter how mundane or trivial before, is now being made as if under the bright hot lights of a police interrogation room.  Are you sure you want to get the ant traps with chemicals?  They could cause birth defects, right?  And let's not even get into the career-path choices I'm dealing with at the same time.  (Why oh why are you switching to a career earning $20K less per year than your already underpaid profession???)

But it's not even my own decisions that are killer.  I can control those.  Own them.  It's the decisions other people in my life make, like my husband, that are impossible to handle.

I have to rely on people, especially Min Gi; I'm only just now beginning to fathom the extent to which I cannot control the actions and behaviors of others.  This loss of control at a time when I need it the most to shape and form the best life for this future person growing inside me is unbearable.  Now, I know I'm a control freak.  And I've learned by and large to let go of this less attractive side of my personality over time, but it's rearing its ugly head with a fiery vengeance in the wake of the terror at the responsibility I am about to assume.

Don't get me wrong here; I want to have children.  Min Gi is excited and bubbly about it.  I have a lot of support from family and friends and current and future employers.  But I think this glowy-happy-angelic view we have of pregnancy only makes those of us (and I suspect there are more of you out there than will admit it) with some ambivalence feel alone.  Isolated.  Abandoned.

The combination of the fear, isolation, and loss of control is not pretty.  I'm fighting.  With my mom.  With Min Gi.  With my friends.  With myself.  I look at myself and see not a grown woman capable of raising a child with joy and poise, but a scared little girl that needs tending but fights back at everyone who tries to get in to help.

I hesitate to post this to my blog (which not that many people still read... thankfully) because of the public nature of the forum and knowing (hoping) that these feelings are temporary and will be overcome and replaced by others of a more positive and possibly nausea-inducing sugar-coated variety.  But I hope that both in revealing the pregnancy and in discussing the feelings I have about it honestly, I might be able to pull myself through it a bit faster.  And maybe, just maybe, make those of you feeling something similar less afraid to reach out and talk to someone about it.


  1. If you haven't, you should pick up a copy of "It Sucked and then I Cried" by Heather B. Armstrong.

  2. Is this your first mention of your impending parenthood?? Congratulations. Personally I found that, as a fellow control freak, being pregnant and giving birth was like the worst thing ever. Because it's all so not-you, it's this "little miracle" as you say ;) I have two kids with my K-hub. It helps that they're cute. Just wanted to say congrats.

  3. Actually, I was thinking, "Wait, how does Doppler work again, and would it really be useful for hearing a heartbeat?"

    Don't forget that feeling unwell for protracted periods can itself have emotional effects (including grouchiness). Hopefully the lessening physical symptoms will provide some relief.

  4. I'm glad you're back to blogging. ;)


    And, don't worry about all those little details. Things have a way of working themselves out. It's not the end of the world if you drop the ball on some things. You'll be fine. Promise.

    I want to share an idea with you: Gender reveal cakes. I only recently found out about this... and if you're planning to find out the gender, it's a really cute way to share the discovery with your family and friends.

  5. Rachel--That's Dooce, right? I might check that out.

    Mrs. Kim--It is the first mention here. Thanks for the support. I read a bunch of stuff yesterday that said feelings like I'm having are remarkably common and women just don't talk much about them; especially with all the highly publicized problems people have conceiving these days. The worst part was feeling alone, so knowing I'm less alone in this helped a lot.

    Eli--I looked it up. It actually is a Doppler heart monitor, though I have no idea if it works on the same mechanisms as the weather forecasting system.

    Danielle--I've heard of these cakes; not that I want to knock anyone who'd do that, but they seem overly elaborate and corny to me. Plus Min Gi doesn't want to know the gender until birth, so that's one secret I'll have to keep until at least Dec 2.

  6. Woo! I've felt many of the same things over the last couple months. And it's all totally normal, though not usually talked about in books or polite company. (I'm only a few weeks ahead of you.) And it gets better, especially after talking to other people about it.

  7. Yeah it's Dooce. I'll see if I can find my copy, but I think I lent it out and never got it back.

  8. Diana -- a little ambivalence is normal, even when a kid is planned. A little terror is, too. I've found it helpful to have a network of fellow-pregnant or recently pregnant friends who are going through the same stuff. Let's get together soon.


  9. I believe congratulations are in order. As the father of a daughter I do understand some of your concerns. I expect you'll do fine as a mother.

  10. Congratulations. You´ll be delighted the moment you hold the little one on your arms. Some other moms need more time to get use to, but you are not wrong feeling not so "joyful".
    Im sure you´ll be a good mom.

  11. Congratulations! Good luck to you!



Related Posts with Thumbnails