I caught the stomach bug that’s been going around, and between trips to the bathroom I had horrible, burning, stomach cramps. I told myself that if I could get through being sick without having an emotional meltdown, then I could get through labor in three months from now. Maybe it was a bit silly of me, but during my intimate moments with the toilet, I kept repeating to myself, “My baby is safe. My body was designed to recover from this.” I think I made it through all right — I woke up the next morning feeling weak but pain free, and satisfied with how I had behaved.
Now that I’m in my last trimester, I’ve become very single-minded. Our family went shopping and bought little jammies for the new baby, and I hung them up on the wall as part of a baby shrine. I also put up several affirmations that felt especially meaningful to me, and it’s been nice to see them every day — one in particular has helped ease my anxiety over having another premature baby.
My pelvic joint is achy again. I got a support belt, and I’ve had to make a number of adjustments with my daily activities. It irks me that I can’t carry laundry up the stairs on my own to get that chore done with quickly, but I like how much my husband has been helping me, including with getting out of bed every morning.
I’ve been going to pregnancy group meetings with Sage, and I like them so much that I wonder if I can keep going even after the baby is born.
Recently my mother posted something on Facebook about how everyone should be allowed to tell their story, and that trying to silence someone from sharing their pain is oppressive and bad. It cut me deeply. I wanted to cry, reply with something nasty, lash out with anything.
I did nothing.
Just shy of five years ago now, I told my parents that they had hurt me during my childhood and that they had never stopped treating me unfairly. In response, they told me, “If that’s how you feel, then you can get out.” Without another word, I left to start packing. To add insult to injury, my mother then called the cops to trespass my husband and me off the property, and I can still remember the sound of their laughter as they sat in the living room watching TV as we left.
Two years later, after baby number one was born, they wanted to reconcile and helped us get back up on our feet, but they never addressed what happened that night. It became the elephant in the room, complete with PTSD and secrets, continuing to grow in size. I’ve reached the point where I can’t deal with it anymore.
I can whine about how unfortunate it is to be the only young mother around here who doesn’t get any help from grandma, but I know that despite the gaping absence of reliable parents in my life, the damage that I suffered is nothing compared to what my parents have done to themselves. As time goes on, they become more belligerent, more self-centered, more materialistic.
It hurts, having parents like mine, but I can be better than them.
Part of our home restoration project involved using harsh, smelly chemicals, so I took the girls out on a long shopping trip yesterday to avoid exposure. About halfway through the three-year-old started oscillating between asking to go home and running around like crazy, and the physical strain of chasing after her has me tired and sore today. Still, we had lots of fun, and I found a small, pink Christmas tree that I set up in the living room.
I’ve been doing a number of things to improve the state of our house. There are new pictures on the walls, and drapes for the windows – things that I actually enjoy looking at, instead of being scavenged for functionality. My husband says that he likes to watch my nesting instincts in action, and our home is feeling more cozy and inviting every day – I feel better about myself as a homemaker. One of my favorite purchases was a new comforter for our bed, since it feels wonderful to snuggle under fluffy blankets on a cold night.
I want to start preparing for Christmas, but I worry about it being too early since Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet. It will takes lots of time to make snowflakes and tree ornaments though, and I can’t be as physically active as I was with this pregnancy progressing into the third trimester. I need something to keep me busy through the cloudy days ahead.
My winter blues have hit hard and early this year. My body is getting achy and there are days when all I want to do is soak in the tub, but the bathroom is still a construction zone. My husband is pretty confident that it will be done before Christmas, but that’s still a number of dark and gloomy days away. So I told him that I’ll probably just sit on the couch and cry until it’s done.
I’m starting to feel anxious about Thanksgiving coming up. I don’t have the emotional reserves to deal with being around my family, but I don’t want the children to spend the holiday cooped up alone. It would be awkward to ask any of our friends if we could join them, since they probably have plans with their own families. I’m not sure what we should do.
I want to try hypnotherapy for S.A.D., but finding a quiet moment isn’t the easiest task in the world with small children.
When I was a teenager I saw a Dateline episode on hypnobirthing, and it really struck a chord with me — it’s what got me started down the path of natural birth in the first place. However, since our circumstances had been so stressful during my first pregnancy, I let the idea go.
Now that I’ve started watching birth videos, I have inevitably clicked on the ones that use hypnobirth. Watching women look so calm while they are in labor has brought back that old spark, the feeling that this is how I want to deliver my baby. I’ve made up my mind — this is what I’m doing.
I have a lot of fear inside. I’m terrified of having another premature baby, of losing my head during labor, of not feeling safe and loved during that critical moment. I have a lot to work through before my baby comes, so it won’t leak out of my subconscious and turn into pain. It feels like such a momentous task, but I know that I can do it.
As I’ve been practicing meditation and cultivating a calmer disposition, the toddler has started behaving better for me and throwing less tantrums. No matter what happens during labor, doing this is already benefiting my family.
The three-year-old woke up in the middle of the night, and called out, “Mommy! Where are you?” On my way to their bedroom, I very distinctly saw a dark figure that looked like a man without a head move from their doorway to the top of the stairs nearby then vanish. Normally when the children wake up at night, they settle down very quickly once I’m with them, but not this time. They were both very upset and kept crying, so I called my husband into the room. Without hinting at what I had seen earlier, I asked our three-year-old, “Where is it?” She answered, “By the stairs.”
After my husband got rid of it, the girls immediately settled down and fell asleep. We talked for a little bit, about how it had been some months since the last time we had encountered anything spooky, and I wondered if it was the time of year with Halloween approaching.
I’ve never really doubted that these sorts of experiences were real, yet it’s still a bit strange to have my daughter corroborating them without any sort of guidance from my husband and me. She knows.
I’m learning that there are benefits to having a doula as a good friend. Simply talking to Sage about pregnancy and childbirth has helped me start working through the mixture of emotions that I’ve been going through, and uncovered that buried terror of giving birth that I’ve been conveniently ignoring. My first baby was born prematurely after a very long and painful labor, and all of that fear and heartache came out during my labor with my second baby, driving me out of my head and out of control. Up until a couple weeks ago, I had been ignoring the fact that I am going to be giving birth again.
Intellectually I know the ins and outs of giving birth. Heck, at it’s core, it’s mainly just listening to your instincts and letting your body do it’s job. So, I did something that I haven’t done in four years: I watched a birth video.
I cried. I cried with the disappointment over how my first two labors had gone. I cried with how beautiful it is to give birth, how such a painful experience was transformed into the greatest love I’ve ever known. I cried with how empowering it is for a woman to face her worst fears and overcome them for the sake of another who needs her to be strong. I cried, and cried, and cried. Motherhood is beautiful.
I don’t know how this third time will go. I don’t know how much time it will take, or how badly it will hurt, but I am so incredibly blessed to be able to do this again. I can overcome the pain and fear that I experienced in the past, and I can give my all for my baby.