Wednesday, September 29, 2010

week 12: finding my footing.

people will tell you a lot of things about pregnancy, especially if you ask them. i currently own two books about it, one of which i actually like and the other which makes me irrationally angry at its judgmental tone (i'll come back to that. it's a whole thing.).  there's just pregnancy a-go-go all over the TV (at any given time, you can watch a show about not knowing you were pregnant, giving birth, giving birth somewhere else, adopting, dealing with having 8 children at one get my drift) and all over the internet.  i signed up for babycenter updates, which i love. every week, i get a new email telling me how big Baby is and what's happening to me.

(they're fun. they're always comparing Baby to a food. this week, s/he's a plum-sized fetus! i find it somewhat strange, but slightly hilarious at the same time, until i don't know what the food looks like. then i just feel dumb.)

so my point is i am nothing if not awash in information.

last time i was at the doctor, he mentioned that at week 16 (about a month), they traditionally do a blood test to gauge your risk of having a baby with genetic abnormalities.  i had always thought that i would never have these tests, because the purpose of these tests seem to be to make a decision about keeping a baby that might not be the way you thought s/he would be, and that was never, ever a question for musicboy and i. 

but cue the anxiety for me.

so here's the thing: the last few weeks have been very...anxious for me. i didn't think i was an anxious person. i don't fret about small things.  i worry about big picture things, and how to deal with them, but mostly i fret for a while, realize i'm fretting, and then i make a plan and move forward. i would consider myself a forward-moving person as a rule.

but this pregnancy thing--it has had me paralyzed in a sea of extra information.  if you need a mental picture, picture me neck deep in a pile of books and papers, just looking around with a stunned look on my face.  it's been wearing me down.

but i didn't realize what it was that was wearing me down. i knew i was anxious, i knew i was scared, but i thought for a while that was normal. first trimester and all, i thought it was pretty normal to just be waiting it out and hoping all was well.

but when it didn't really go away after we saw the baby flailing and kicking and heart-beating away, i knew it had to be something else. the worry just shifted--it didn't go away.

a few nights ago, i broached the subject of my worry with musicboy. i just couldn't figure it out--couldn't even really articulate what it was that i was worried about, since all of the things that i was worried about i didn't actually believe were true (see if that makes sense--it doesn't).  sure, i could have chalked it all up to hormones and move on, but that didn't make anything better.

i wanted something to be better. i was tired--bone tired--of worrying.

as i was talking to him, i said something truly profound.  i said "i think i'm the complete opposite of most people. i am not at all afraid of when Baby gets here, of what to do. i have 100% confidence that we will be good parents, because we will work hard and we will just figure it out, day by day.  i'm not even afraid of giving birth to Baby--people have been doing it for thousands of years. i'll figure it out.  i'm afraid of growing the baby."

what a revelation to me.  i'm afraid of growing the baby? what the heck? 

so i began to try to think about why.  and here's what i've come up with--and it rings true for me.  ever since i got pregnant, and even before, i have relied on other people: books, websites with symptoms, other pregnant women, people who just had babies, anyone and everyone who would tell me what to expect, what to do, what to eat, how much to rest.  i was just a seeker, looking for information everywhere. though i stopped that, to a certain extent, early on in the pregnancy, that impulse didn't go away. the action did (i stopped trolling websites, for example) but the impulse didn't.

i kept looking for answers outside of myself.  i had no trust, whatsoever, in my ability to read and understand my own body, to have faith that things were good, to listen to the voice inside my heart that, because i didn't listen, gradually got fainter and fainter.

i stopped listening.

why? i have no idea.  perhaps it was somewhat overwhelming. perhaps i just got swept up in it. perhaps this is a lesson that i need to learn in preparation for my entrance into parenthood, but regardless--i am learning it.  while i still love my pregnancy book because it's so very exciting to read that Baby will be able to discern sound in a few weeks and that his/her eyelids are clamped down over eyes that are the color they will be for his/her whole life, i think i'm beginning to realize that i have a responsibility to trust myself.  to trust my instincts. to seek after and trust the guidance i receive from Above.

it feels a bit like i'm coming out of a fog.  strange, perhaps, but true.  i feel like, in some ways, i lost a bit of myself in all of this seeking and asking and clinging.  that's not who i am.  i'm not a person who lets anyone tell me what to do.  i make decisions and then i stubbornly stick to them.

i am not a wave, driven with the wind and tossed. but i have been letting myself be tossed.

i think i'm really done with that. 

the strange manifestations of this have come quietly to me over the past few days. i've been thinking a lot about turning off the noise in my life--having some time, every day, when i just sit in the quiet and study and read and do something that lets me rejuvenate.  i've been finding answers in small places--on our healthy living blog, one of my friends suggested (as a stress reduction tip) to always do something in the house every day, no matter how busy you are.  i really liked that, as it seemed to answer some concerns i had about how outrageous our house gets from saturday to saturday.  i can do a little bit.  i've been thinking of starting some letters to Baby, as a way of writing down all of the things that are going through my mind about this journey we're about to go on together.  i think, of all my ideas, that one is the one i'm most excited about. cheesy or not, i think it might be the ticket to helping me and this little fetus (who keeps growing and is starting to force me out of my jeans) connect amid the bustle, haste, and hurry of the household of musicboy and teachergirl.

i feel like i'm setting out, purposefully, on my own path.  just looking forward and trying to pay attention along the way.  pregnancy, so far, as left me a bit timid and unsure. 

i'm happy to be finding my way back to myself.  


  1. Good for you teachergirl! Nothing (not even my sage advice ;) ) can substitute your own intuition. I think that is something that will be especially true throughout motherhood too. I'm having to come to grips with that right now in my own motherhood journey. Everyone has their two cents. But in the end, the only two cents that are worth anything are our own...well, and ya know, Heavenly Father's...but you know what I mean:)

  2. I think it is wonderful that you are turning to your ownself and listening to the Spirit direct you for you....I feel your pain in that area as sometimes all the noise around me drowns out the small voice I need to be listening to and many things can drown that out..and I, like you, am having to learn not to let anything or anyone overwhelm the feelings I have in my own heart regarding my own family! It's a great lesson and I am glad you are learning it at the beginning of your parenthood journey! :)