clearly, I’m not having issues with temperature. I mean, hanging loose, staying zen, keeping cool can be difficult when you are an anxious person to begin with and a pregnant one at that. I am not known for being a calm and relaxed force in tough situations. I am, after all, the person who blew my top at ikea a few days ago when joel was having a meltdown and I couldn’t, for the life of me, find a damn exit (greg said later that I looked like I was ready to start a fight with someone). but, I don’t think I need to go into detail there and write about that experience. that pretty well sums it up. I am also a self-diagnosed hypochondriac. for those that don’t know what that is, I think I’m dying of strange diseases often and I tend to obsess about every little thing related to my health and well being. people like me generally don’t do well while pregnant, as, while pregnant, you pretty much lose control of your body and, though I am doing my best to unlearn this misguided cultural concept, in our medical system, pregnancy is seen as an unhealthy state. a sickness. or, best case scenario, a loose canon that needs to be closely monitored.
while I was pregnant with ruth, I dealt with my fear mainly by ignoring myself. it worked pretty well. I didn’t read much about pregnancy, what to expect, what could go wrong, all that, and drifted through pregnancy and later childbirth pretty much ignorant and oblivious. and look where it got me. I could have kicked myself after ruth was born for being so callous and careless with the tiny being I was carrying. I distinctly remember sitting, looking at her as a newborn, in awe and thinking, “if I had known that she was in there, I would have taken so much better care of myself.” I guess that could just be kind of a new parent thing. I mean, it’s hard to really wrap your mind around it all the first time around. you believe it, but you don’t really believe it, right? and, I got totally railroaded in her birth and was extremely lucky to not have ended up with a c section.
by the time I was pregnant with joel, I was all too aware of the importance of what I was undertaking. not only that, but I had a whole host of other peoples’ stories about things that went wrong with their pregnancies and childbirths. I was no longer ignorant of the system that abused me so badly the first time around. plus, it felt like we had waited forever to get pregnant again so we were invested. and, for all of this knowledge and deep fear, I paid the price. I spent much of joel’s pregnancy, and especially the few weeks before his birth, freaking out. I worried about everything. and look where it got me. sure, I ended up with the birth I wanted but he was born with a heart arrhythmia, something possibly caused by maternal stress.
and, though part of what made me hesitate about a third baby in the first place was all of the stress I went through with joel’s birth, I find myself calmer, more balanced and at ease with this pregnancy. what I was missing during joel’s pregnancy and birth was trust. real trust in my body and that everything would be ok. I didn’t have that yet. that’s something that I gained through having joel. after all of the worry and self imposed torment, he was perfect. the birth was pretty flawless. and joel himself has been the most joyful gift from the universe that I have ever received. and I think to myself, “what a waste that I spent so much time while I was carrying him worrying and thinking terrible dark thoughts.” and I wish I had simply enjoyed being pregnant more and I wish that I had been less afraid and more excited because his birth would change me forever and give me a sense of ownership and power that I have never known and made me into a different person.
so, that is how I keep my cool this time around. I trust my body more than ever before. and I don’t want to look back and regret worry. I want to look back on my pregnancy and remember the pure joy and excitement I felt bringing another new life into my family.