So It Begins

Today is the first day that I am going to write about being pregnant with Gabriel. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on my pregnancy, for obvious reasons. I got pregnant a little over a year after DearDR and I got married. It was a little sooner than we had expected, but no less welcome for that.

I chose a group of midwives in my area; I had an uneventful (until the end) pregnancy. I had a fabulous pregnancy. I was so happy to be pregnant; the hormones were good to me. I was enraptured with the miraculousness of it all.

In lieu of making this up as I go along, I am going to quote some passages from the last month of my pregnancy from my journal at that time. Because I am “this way” about punctuation, I have to say that the ellipses I use are indicative of skipped words, not the way I actually write in my journal.

In retrospect, how naive it sounds, yet how hopeful.

I still miss him a lot.

“April 30 2003
“I think about the future fabric of our lives: you, with your work and the teaching; me, with the children and my writing, the articles, my quiet poems. What a view this is, this simple life, not one I imagined ever….
“To the baby, our li’l bean, 8 weeks before your birth: when you move within, I have such great joy. I didn’t expect this; I didn’t expect you…. Your father wants to meet you, wants to see your face. I have a different desire, if I can try to articulate it. It is not that you not be born, but that you are, and that I can carry you the way I do now forever, at the same time. It is a selfish wish: that I remain your whole world, your only sustanence. that I nver have to give you away, or worse, say goodbye.
“I know that will never happen. In triumph & strength, I will birth you, meet you & look in your eyes. We will name each other.”

May 1 2003
“2 months to go, and I am all rounded belly… it is quiet. even you are quiet, the occasional roll or bump to tell me you’re there, waiting, growing…. I work on my birth plan — as if I can plan you into the world. I don’t know what to expect. I will never be this innocent? clueless? again…. I am looking forward to six weeks from now, when I will stop freelancing, use my days off to rest — or nest, feather your room with goods, curtains, a crib. I will wait, dream of you, dream you into this world.”

May 9 2003
“I address you often, both in my head & aloud. I’ve gotten used to the names we’ve chosen, even attached to them. I think of the Bible, of God saying, I knew you before you were born.
“I know you…. I don’t know your face, but I almost do. I dream of it sometimes, of holding you, looking down at you. Sometimes you are asleep, and dreaming of me, too. Sometimes you are looking back at me with the knowledge of the angels in your eyes.
“I can write now, ‘I will never forget these days.’ But I don’t know. Maybe I will; maybe that is why I write. … But maybe, after babies, this time — womb time — will disappear for us. … I will recall certain things: what we called you before we picked names; the day I first felt you move; my husband’s eyes when I told him I was carrying you. But to say I will truly remember this, not just with words, just in my head — that is a tenuous bet. This feeling of well being, of contentment, richness, joy, love, LIFE — the suffuse emotions. how will I hold onto them? Will I be able to summon them when you are away from me, an agent in the world? Will I be able to tell you how it was to be pregnant with you? I don’t know. Until I had you in me, I didn’t know this language, this landscape. So who knows what comes after?”

May 24 2003
“This morning [DearDR] wakes up and says, ‘I dreamt of the baby. A boy, perfect.’ He sounds so happy — sleepy, still, but happy. Whichever say this goes, a boy or a girl, I think we will be happy & at peace. We just want a healthy child.”

[last one, last day] June 4 2003
“26 days until l’il bean’s EDD. who knows how much time will come, will go, before you come into the world. You are deeply head down in my womb — and I worry about your head getting squished. … is that silly? … you seem to be measuring a week or two behind. Is that a concern? You’re active enough — I seldom am compelled to sit & count your little movements, your rolls & stretches & kicks. There are plenty at any given time.
“[The midwife] poked around to find your position & started a little contraction. I’ve been having some of those, nothing very painful, though.
“Everything else is ok.”

Hello, Worry, My Old Friend

I am a terribly anxious person. As a matter of fact, when I entered therapy as an adult, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.

And that’s pretty spot on — I don’t have specific anxieties or phobias (although it is very specific that I cannot sleep with a closet door open a crack, or at all really). Pretty much anything and any situation has the potential for making me a mess.

I worry about being a reluctant SAHM and how that reluctance/unwillingness is impacting my girls. I worry about getting a full-time job, and how to juggle that with being a mother. I worry about money. A lot.

I know that some of you are reading this thinking, “well, yeah, everyone worries about that stuff.” And of course, most people do worry about some of these things some of the time.

But my anxiety goes to deeper levels that can really impair me. I can be utterly frozen by my anxiety, unable to sleep, eat or think clearly. For a long time, and the reason for me going into therapy, it interfered with my ability to be in a healthy, loving relationship; additionally, I was having nightmares about literally being consumed, eaten alive. That was a big problem.

Turns out the two were related.

My anxiety is probably the reason I still crave cigarettes (and on occasion indulge in smoking). Not that smoking relaxes me; more that having a cigarette seems to help me focus the anxiety, and purge it through the act of smoking. (I’m probably rationalizing a bad habit/addiction here…)

My anxiety is definitely at the root of many of my fights with DearDR, whether I am stressing over money, work, getting somewhere on time (something we are notoriously bad at), or sex. I can start a fight over the most inconsequential things because of how over-anxious I get.

Which is all to say that this NaBloPoMo thing is going to be good for my writing, but bad (BAD) for my anxiety. Right now, for instance, I am stressing that since I am writing this post so late (almost 9 p.m. DST), that once I hit publish, WordPress will somehow push the date to tomorrow. And I won’t be able to do anything about it, and I will be out of NaBloPoMo (why not NBPM? why not??) through no fault of my own, and then Cynical Dad will heartlessly cross me off the NaBloPoMo banner that he has me on (not that Chag is heartless, as is proven by his blog), and that’s it. I will be out of the running for those loverly prizes.

Yeah, it’s like that y’all.