Thoughtful Thursday: Experience
November 12, 2009
(Note: Pregnancy and babies discussed.)
In addition to breastfeeding difficulties, the other big component of the hard time I’ve been having is some sort of hormonal baby blues. Much of the time I’m fine, but every few days for a few hours I’m not fine at all.
Right after giving birth it was more obviously hormonal, and I’d burst into tears at the slightest provocation. For example, almost any song. Or a particularly nostalgic Sesame Street clip on YouTube. (Seriously, when that happened, I knew I’d totally lost my mind.)
After the first week, there has been less crying. Instead, I either feel fine, or I feel desperate and forlorn. Thankfully, much more of the former than the latter. The main things that have been setting me off have been:
- Breastfeeding difficulties
- Being overwhelmed, generally by my inability to manage more than an hour of work per week or by dealing with two screaming babies on my own (which rarely happens — the alone part and the both screaming part — but oh boy, when it does…)
- And, shockingly, thoughts of pregnancy
Before becoming pregnant, I wanted to have biological children but pregnancy itself wasn’t that important to me. When I was finally pregnant, I was so thrilled that I cherished every moment I could; even the difficulties like debilitating fatigue and hospitalization were special in their own way. Both before and during pregnancy, I reserved the right to consider additional children later.
Now, simultaneously I want nothing to do with future pregnancies or children and I also burst into tears mourning the absence of those pregnancies and children. Pregnancy kicked my ass, birth almost killed me, and I can’t even manage the two children I have. I have no business trying for or having more children — if I could even get pregnant again, which is almost impossible without treatments, which we’ve sworn never to do again. I’ve shed more than my share of tears over BFNs. TTC turned my life upside down for 7 years. Yet…
The yearning hits me at random times. Tidying up papers and finding an ultrasound photo, and realizing that I’ll never have a 3D ultrasound image of any baby because the Burrito and the Tamale were never in the right positions in the womb. Watching one of them move their legs now, thinking about how the kick would feel if they were still inside, and realizing that I’ll never feel another fetus kick. Jiggling the jelly that is my new abdomen, and remembering my beautiful pregnant belly. Looking at my now full-term babies (39 weeks gestation!), and wondering how it would have been to carry a baby anywhere close to full term, to hold that baby right away instead of touching it for a minute through a window in an incubator, and to go home with that baby instead of spending weeks in the NICU.
I think what gets to me most isn’t that I won’t experience these things again (or for the first time).
What gets to me is that I don’t have the option.
Most of the time now I couldn’t be happier, but sometimes I couldn’t be sadder. Who knew.
How important was/is the experience of pregnancy, as opposed to the baby itself, to you?