It has been a while since I last wrote on this page and, no this is not a declaration that I am pregnant again. While I wish I had updated my blog in a more timely manner so that I have full documentation of my pregnancy journey, let’s just say my emotions were then incapable of balancing so much at the time. Now that I’m looking back, I can confidently talk about my experience and hopefully, it helps the next reader or so.
This is not a topic that’s commonly talked about — at least not in my household. But it’s something that I truly believe was the best gift I’ve ever given myself. In fact, I would even consider it as a gift from The Husband; he did after all urge me to go get it.
My pregnancy gift to myself is… going back to therapy.
As a person with a history of depression, the years leading up to my pregnancy was pretty rough. After all, I originally did not intend to get pregnant. I was perfectly content living the rest of my life with The Husband. But, being a witness to someone else’s mortality shook me up pretty well and my thinking shifted from NO KIDS FO LIFE to OMG I WANT AN EXACT COPY OF THE BEST PERSON I KNOW AKA THE HUSBAND.
(Side bar: I know my kid will be his own person. I’m not really trying to recreate my spouse. This is for those who think that I am trying to duplicate my spouse. I made a choice to be a parent because I want to be a parent. If my kid turns out to be like his dad, that’s just a bonus, not a goal. Mmmmkay?)
Then of course, there’s the struggle of conceiving. I had thought that the moment I got off the pill, I would be pregnant in a smack. Big fat nope. A year after being off the pill, I went to my OB who then referred me to a specialist because it was “better to see the complete picture of what we’re working with.” Tests upon tests and six months later, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
Let me dwell on that for a second. WTF RIGHT?! I mean, what in seven hells is that? After all that difficulty, they’re telling us that technically there’s nothing wrong and that conceptually we should be conceiving naturally, but eh, sorry? For a moment, I wished so hard for something to be wrong. That way, I would know that there’s something to be fixed, to be remedied. But nope, unexplained infertility it is.
And just when we have come to terms with our options — hormone therapy, IUI, IVF, surrogacy and adoption (and yes, in that order) — the strip gave me two lines. Flashing before my eyes is the stick screaming PREGNANT.
To go from not wanting to have kids, to wanting to have one, to not being able to have one, to not being able to explain why we can’t make one, to accepting that we are seeking extraordinary means to conceive, to actually conceiving in a span of 18 months???? Let’s just say it was mentally and emotionally exhausting. While my depression was at an all-time high (yes, even higher than the time when my father died) upon hearing the unexplained infertility news, the pregnancy news kicked another condition in high gear: anxiety.
My sisters will definitely tell you that I probably read everything that you can read about getting pregnant and being pregnant, and in therapy, I have learned that too much knowledge is not power. LOL. In my head, I was so prepared. But each morning I woke up pregnant, all I had in my mind were the negative probabilities: miscarriage, genetic illnesses, still birth. It was getting out of control. In fact, it was so out of hand that while driving to work, I would need to pull over because I kept visualizing that I would crash into the car in front of me and my child would be squashed under the steering wheel.
I never saw myself as someone pessimistic, until I realized that my mind had only retained all the worst case scenarios of my pregnancy and very little of the best case.
Therapy was a relief, a gift that just keeps on giving. I learned various types of coping mechanisms and I found myself rekindling my love for journaling. Because of therapy, I was able to manage my anxieties, get my controlling nature under control (LOL OMG), and find the silver lining in every Final Destination-like scenario in my head. I went at least twice a month, and in some months, thrice. It was enough for me to feel more prepared and more relaxed as my pregnancy progressed.
Whenever I would speak to The Husband about my pregnancy journey, he would always say that it took me a while to be truly and wholly happy. On the outside, I looked glowing and excited, but he knew my worries, my concerns. He knew the nights when I would just stay up and check if the baby is moving. He knew how bad it got that he bought a doppler that we can use at home, so each time I feel any tinge of worry, I can just go ahead and listen to our baby’s heartbeat.
He encouraged me to go through with therapy, and in fact, was the one who brought it up. And I am so grateful that he did. Therapy not only helped strengthen my resolve; it also helped The Husband feel that we have a solid support team in this absolutely insane journey. I wasn’t passing on my anxieties to him, I wasn’t making family uncomfortable by being so negative and worrisome, and well, honestly, I slept better at night. And I needed that doppler less and less.
I do want to put out a disclaimer though. Going to therapy early on in the pregnancy does not guarantee that you’ll escape the horror that is post-partum depression. That, my dear friends, is a topic for another time.
What about you? What was the best non-material gift you gave yourself when you found out you were pregnant?