Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I've been thinking about this a lot lately. A tragedy in my friends' life has had me reflecting on the nature of parenthood and what a giant precipice we stand on, those of us who undertake to be parents.

After my first pregnancy, I changed. I lost not only my first baby but my innocence. (Just for the record, I'm speaking only for myself here - of course my husband went through all this with me). My naive expectation that "it couldn't happen to me" was shattered.

My second pregnancy came and went so fast that I didn't really have a chance to feel anything but a dull ache where the hope that should have come with a BFP was missing. Pretty much the moment I learned I was pregnant, was the moment I learned that it was ectopic. I knew it couldn't possibly end well, so all I wanted was for it to end quickly (that didn't really happen either, but that's another story).

This time around... I've passed some milestones, important ones for me. I passed the first ultrasound appointment without hearing the worst news. I passed the point where my first baby died and instead had the joy of seeing my first fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound (you bet I cried). I passed the point where I lost that first pregnancy. We survived weeks and weeks of spotting and even some full out bleeding - all is still okay. I've seen baby's heart beating three times now, and heard it on the fetal doppler at my OB's office. I've made it through the scary first trimester, dealt with morning sickness, slept more hours than I thought I could. I've made it to here and now.

And each day I am celebrating the fact that "Today, I am Still Pregnant." It's my mantra for this pregnancy. It is enough to calm me when I feel anxious.

With all that has been going on around us lately, I realize now that this capital-F Fear is not going anywhere. For the rest of my life.

Parenthood has been something I dreamed of, expected, longed for, and am hopefully in the throes of achieving. I honestly can't wait to be a mother. I have big plans for this little one. But with all the happiness, discoveries and pleasures of parenthood comes the price - Fear. I can't imagine there is ever a moment when you don't know as a parent, in the back of your mind, that it could all come crashing down.

Sometimes it's a news story that reminds us how fragile life is. This summer, I keep hearing about drowning deaths of children. Sometimes it's our own losses that come back to haunt us - knowing that anyone, at any time, can be gone, just like that. I've lost family that way; here one moment, and gone the next, no warning. Sometimes it's the slice-your-heart-open kind of unexpected tragedy that hits someone you know and care for, throwing any belief that things happen for a reason out the window.

I admit it - I'm afraid. I'm afraid of bad things happening. I'm not a pessimist, and I don't mean I'm spending my days shaking in a blanket, but I'm definitely no longer the woman I was ten years ago, or even a year and a half ago. Things have changed. I've seen bad things happen. It's not logical, it's not predictable, it's not fair.

I keep my fear in a small box, lid on - and do my best to make each day a happy one. Sometimes, though, life shakes that box a little and some seeps out. I wish I could be just "optimistic" without "cautiously" to qualify it. Rewind, and somehow undo. I guess that's life, though.

Parenthood is going to be scary. I am wholeheartedly signing up, but don't think for a moment that I'm not on to the bad monsters under the bed.


  1. They say you don't know what it is to be a parent until you are one....so true. There are things no one explains to you..I don't know that they can - you have to live it. One of the things that caught me off guard was the fact that I would never ever make a decision again without factoring in my children, both on an emotional level as well as logistically.

    When it comes to fear...absolutely it becomes your bedfellow and sometimes you manage it well and sometimes you don't. It doesn't stay with you every minute of the day but it does loom.

    One piece of advice I would bestow on you if you wish to take it...never take someone else's opinion about your child over your own...always, always trust YOUR instincts about the safety and well being of your child. So many times I've been told I should relax...I'm being to protective...balony!!!I'll do what I think is right and safe for my child and no one will make me second guess that

    Be a mother...be a mother fiercely.

  2. Oh, I can relate! I was blown out of the water when we lost our first. When we learned we were expecting again, no matter how hard I tried, there was no way to recapture that innocence, or joyful abandon. Suddenly each twitch, pain or anything had me wondering if something was wrong.
    We have had two healthy little ones since I lost Isaiah but my heart goes out to you and women like you - like us - who know that loss.

    The day your sweet baby is born (or the day you let us know about it anyway! LOL), I will be doing a happy dance for you!

  3. Thank you for such an insightful comments. I ~love~ the idea of being a mother fiercely. I will make sure that is a big part of my parenthood plan. What a beautiful and empowering turn of phrase.

    And I'll absolutely share the joy when we finally have a baby in our arms! Can't wait to post those particular pictures on my blog.

  4. Becoming a parent means that your heart will forever walk outside your body.

  5. I can't imagine how you must have felt with the loss(s). I'm so happy to hear things are going along smoothly. I remember hearing the heartbeat and I was always terrified I'd never hear it again. There are just so many things that can go wrong. I'm like you and worry about everything to the point that I refused to go to any classes or read any books on the birth because they were always full of things that could go wrong. I just kept telling myself everything will be fine it will work out just fine - and it did. Since having my daughter I can't even watch the news. I don't take any advice about breastfeeding or co-sleeping (I did both - still cosleep). You wind up listening to your instincts and doing what feels right for you. I hope you have time to relax and enjoy being pregnant. I had a succession of terrible things happen during my pregnancy and spent most of it being sad and angry. I regret that I didn't get to have the happy pregnancy I see women have. Think positive and hopefully everything will turn out perfect. I'll be thinking about you and your little growing bean ;)

  6. How could you not be changed? Loss changes us. Just as holding that baby will change you even more. Emily you will be a fabulous mother. The fear will always be with you but you will learn to watch it from off to the side.

    I am so happy for you.

  7. Yep, I hear ya. I know a girl who was actually paralyzed by this fear when her son was born. It's a hard balance (that of being safe but then also letting your child live); I fight it every day.

    That being said it's SO worth it!

  8. I had a friend that lost two pregnancies, then spotted through her entire third pregnancy. But, all worked out and she has a beautiful 4 yr old daughter now.

    Dawn Miya


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