I’m snuggled into bed at Tehani’s house and am so so tired but so happy to have been to Conflux 9 this weekend. After half a week living with my friends, they’ve got my morning sickness figured out and my Crohn’s sorted and I’m feeling halfway decent after weeks and weeks. I’d been looking forward to this weekend for lots of reasons – seeing my friends all in one place, getting to launch Asymmetry, and FINALLY being able to tell people that I’m having a baby!
I’m having a baby!
I’m not very good with keeping my own secrets and I’ve been wanting to explain the loooooong period of sickness and redeem my very unreliableness. It’s been a really interesting process, both I guess, internally and socially. And I’m sure I have more of this “interesting” to go.
I’ve had a pretty rough time of the first trimester. If I knew it would be like this, I’m not really sure I would have signed up. Some days I was really quite immobilised by it. I quit my job 2.5 weeks early (went part time for one of those weeks) because I felt so ill and because I needed to sleep 3 hours at lunchtime after coming home from work about midway into my first trimester. I had days where I had about 1 hour to check emails and work on my press outside of my day job and needing to sleep (and I HATE napping). Morning sickness kicked in at about lunchtime to 2pm ish and increased steadily by bedtime. I’m still pretty much worse in the evenings and just not interested in life (generally) after about 7pm. That made being at the bar at the con til late an impossibility for me this con. But c’est la vie. I also have been suffering some side effects of Crohn’s which have been very painful, and interfered with any joy in life including sleeping. So it’s been a fun time (where fun is the opposite of a good thing).
I think this weekend, we’ve pinpointed some symptoms that are not morning sickness but Crohn’s related on top of it and so managing those as well as the other seems to be helping.
It’s been interesting how people are so quick to judge, though, how I’m going in relation to their own experience. The one thing I’ve learned so far is absolutely guaranteed that my experience of my pregnancy, and how it tracks, is going to be informed in no way by any one else’s. At all. And I’ve pretty much stopped listening. But it’s still *really* irritating how people have a need to share.
As well as my Crohn’s, I have a couple of other issues to manage through this. I have an Rh negative blood type so there’s stuff for that – that whole thing all my life where doctors and my mother have said “you know you have negative blood, right? And that that will cause problems when you have your babies” has finally arrived. But luckily they have antibody injections you can have now so that just seems like a monitor and manage situation.
The other is a bit more serious. For the last 8 years or so, I’ve had an anxiety disorder. It’s manifested in the OCD but also in mild panic attacks and depression. I’ve always been aware that depression can be exacerbated by the pregnancy/birth process and I’m aware of issues with my anxiety that may magnify through this and beyond. So I’ve been really managing my mental health with this in mind – mostly sticking with monthly visits with my counsellor, whether I really needed them or not, just to have someone really know me and be able to monitor me when I may not be able to. And also … just in case … etc.
But I’m quite fascinated by the number of people who feel a need to … is initiate the right word? … new people on this path. The number of people who feel a need to make comments like, “your life is over/going to change now” or “you will never sleep again” or “it’s going to be so much worse than you can imagine”. It might make them feel somehow triumphant, that they survived this death defying obstacle course but it’s really not a nice thing to do to someone with an anxiety disorder. I mean, really? You think I know nothing about pregnancy and child rearing that I haven’t been stressing about this for the last 5 to 10 years and that’s why it’s taken me this long to do this? I mean, really? What? I’ve never known *anyone* with a kid or just ignored *all these really obvious things about kids*? I’m a pretty organised, plan oriented, research gathering kind of person. You’d have to not know me very well to think I just woke up one day and thought “hey this’ll be fun” and leapt in, feet first, with no preparation whatsoever.
I’m going to start being much much more assertive (I was going to write “rude” there but actually, it’s them who are rude) about patrolling my boundaries. I need to for my mental health and there is going to be NO touching my stomach without asking, I am stating that now.
My aunt gave me some really great advice which was to pick one or two good friends who’ve had babies and follow their advice and ignore everyone else. And I think that’s really wise. Her other piece was – you’ll discover you’re not superwoman but you’ll also discover you’re the only one who cares. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. I’ve been really struggling with this for I guess 2 months now. I had pregnancy brain really really badly. I’m not used to not being able to rely on my head, in the face of anything. And here I was doing shit like making a cup of tea, carrying it out of one room and appearing in the next without it and no idea why. I lost words, they were just not there when I went to use them. I forgot how to do things. I became very clumsy. And it was *awful*. And then I resigned from the day job and it almost all went away. And I thought … shit, I was trying to do too much, I have a limit. And I did not like that. And, between you and me, so far, I’m not really enjoying being pregnant. I’ve kinda hated it, to be honest. And by extension, the world (more on that tomorrow). And I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m not going to be one of those women who love pregnancy and can hold down a day job and clean their house and cook dinner and run a business and be sweetness and light to everyone and everything. And I’m thinking that I might have to come to terms with being ok with that.