What I’ve been dying to tell everyone about how this pregnancy is different
Today was probably the most real remembrance of how uncomfortable this is all going to get with the thoughts of, “Oh man, I’m REALLY doing this again.” It IS amazing how quickly I forget how awful pregnancy is for me. I have had severe depression, I’ve convinced myself my marriage was over (even though it was far from it). I felt like my lowest of lows in life have been while I was pregnant. I hesitate to blame it all on the pregnancy itself. I gotta own up to what I can.
There were two distinct feelings I had after Aelynn was born. When I say after, I mean, I was looking at her in the hospital before she even had a name right after. I felt first, she was a middle child. Second, like the hardest challenges of my mental stability while pregnant were over.
After Aelynn came, I’ve never felt happier. I had some scary things to decide, like homeschooling and stopping photography to do it. That felt like a true sacrifice. But ya know what came of it? I found a new way to focus photography. On my kids, who I care about most. Homeschooling brought me to my knees SO much in prayer to know if it was right, to have the strength to do it, to know HOW to go about it. As a result my faith and convictions were strengthened. Things became clear, I started to become the kind of parent I always made myself feel guilty that I wasn’t before. I had a better relationship with my kids. I let go of things the world holds onto so tightly and I finally was completely ok with myself.
Life is good. Then the feeling came to Nathan and I that it was time for number five. I had some new ideas on how to combat my struggles this time but I knew it possibly wouldn’t work (like every other time). My plan was, at the very least, to make it as stress free as possible. Just let go of the little things, do what I can, and be OK with what does not get done.
Then about the time the positive sign showed up, we decided to move to a bigger house. I was glad for the distraction and getting everything ready to sell has been helpful to keep my mind off things.
The emotional side? Yes, the VERY short fuse side of me has come out, the side that wants to sulk and hate every aspect of what I need to do every day has showed up, the completely indifferent person who doesn’t care about anything has knocked on my door.
But here is the thing. I know who I am now. I know that any of those feelings aren’t me. I can step back and say, “that’s not me. I’m a positive, loving person and I don’t have to be like this.” That has made all the difference.
At first it felt like I was faking being nice and caring most the time. This was really difficult, I couldn’t forget myself for a moment or I would get mean fast. I would have moments of “lucidity” (that is the best way to describe it because I really did feel crazy most the time) I would revel in the lucid times when I actually felt happy. Then it just got easier from there. Lucid times got to be more and more. I paid attention to when it was the hardest to feel normal (usually after trying to rest) so I try to stay busy. That can be difficult since I can only do so much feeling sick and tired. Now it feels mostly like I’m normal with a little bit of crazy that will go away after I get busy on a task.
I used to be more focused on the “now” and how pregnancy affects me during this time. Especially with Aelynn, I was so wrapped up in being pregnant that I all but forgot about the baby at the end. Luckily this time, I vividly remember how amazing child birth and a new little life is. I used to be afraid to admit that I love child birth, even after this all natural, worst-pain-of-my-life-by-a-million-times-over birth, I LOVE child birth. There is nothing more special and it only happens in a certain season of life. After that it is lost to you. You can only be a support to someone else when it is gone. So remembering this isn’t about me, its about this awesome new life I get to help create and I only get to do it so many times makes it easier.
I tend to think (for me since everyone is different) that the pain of child birth makes the joy better. It didn’t come like I expected it to. Everyone says your recovery is better and you have that euphoric feeling from endorphins right after that help you bond to your baby. The recovery was the same as with an epidural. I was relieved when they had to whisk her away right away instead of getting to hold her because the beyond painful experience was all just too much to handle for me.
The quiet moments the next day or so in the hospital were much more memorable however. I just enjoyed her so much. It might be partly because it was with no pain meds and partly because I had no anxieties that come with inexperience. Either way, I got to keep those memories in my mind much more than previous births, and that has helped me focus on the end instead of the now.
I’m thankful to God for the opportunity to really stretch and get to know myself this last year and also memories to help get though the tougher times. All the struggles are there from before, coping with them has been SO much easier, and I really think it is because I can say, “Those feelings aren’t you, you are an optimistic loving person, and you don’t have to feel this way.” And I actually, really, truly believe it.
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