Oh, you’re in the honeymoon phase now!?

[This post is in response to the blog blast you can read about here]

I suppose that’s not phrased in the form of a question, but well-meaners usually say it after asking, “How far along are you now?” Seeing as I have had three first trimesters in one year and my (successful) first trimesters have been marked by extreme nausea, exhaustion and moodiness, you might think I am happy to be here, where I am at the moment, at week 17. You’d be right in thinking that I am grateful to be pregnant and that I am glad I can now subsist on things beyond Puffins cereal and ginger tea. So I might be in the honeymoon phase, you see, if only I had a different answer to this question, “How many children do you have?” Because the answer is, we have zero living children. For my three first trimesters, we have earned one miscarriage, one funeral plus burial plot and a new status: scared and grieving.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I’ll tell you that this supposed “honeymoon period” of pregnancy sucks, royally. I’ve traded my frequent nausea and vomiting and exhaustion for frequent tears and anxiety. I began this wonderful trimester with surgery. When I reached week 16 I discovered a new treat, weekly progesterone shots. In terms of accepting where I am and desperately wanting to bring home the new baby inside me alive, I am grateful for this chance and grateful that relative to my fears, the cerclage and progesterone are non-events. But the experience is no honeymoon. In fact as I told my blog friend Julia, since I am fortunate to be fertile, the only moment in this pregnancy that has resembled a honeymoon was the very first one, way back I think on cycle day 14. And since the doctors told me to begin “pelvic rest” soon thereafter, there haven’t been many such moments since.

For me, the second trimester is a horror. Last time, our son died at the end of it. I spend every moment of every day now alternatively trying to work, not snap at my very sweet husband, not have an anxiety attack, keep the cat from having a nap on my belly, and still monitor myself for any feelings or changes that might indicate labor or a shortening cervix. And I try to do all of this while fielding inquiries from real life well-meaners who want the personal scoop on how I’m doing. This means that at any moment I might be reminded of both a past and possible disaster by the guarded phrase, “How are you?” That’s why I prefer to communicate my feelings via blog – it’s here when I need it and won’t sneak up on me during the short periods every day where my mind manages to be somewhere else. I might think that the third trimester will be like a honeymoon, but there are no promises then either. I think, though, I will start to feel better if I pass week 28, and at week 32 I’ll be feeling really good.

I’m not going to submit this to the blog blast that inspired it. I think that given my particular situation, no pregnancy book can tell me what I need to know about my soul. That’s why I like this book. The midwife at Dr. K’s practice gave it to me. A reviewer on Amazon.com has complained about it being too mainstream and treating women as patients. I like it because it is concise. I don’t need to be told how to feel about pregnancy and impending motherhood. I don’t need the guidebook narration of pregnancy. And I am a patient. An informed one, certainly, but still I’m not an obstetrician any more than Dr. K is an historian.

So my snarky response to that statement about a honeymoon phase would be….Uh, actually I don’t have anything snarky to say that’s appropriate. A honeymoon in Baghdad comes to mind, but that doesn’t really fit.

I guess because as unenviable as my position seems, many women wouldn’t mind being in it. And because I’m fully aware that while I didn’t choose to need this, I made the choice to do it anyway.

I want to participate in shutting up people who ask annoying questions. I so do. But I just don’t find many questions on this list to be all that annoying. Some of the responses are more so. (Oh, except for the ones commenter #4 listed, which gave me a hearty sardonic laugh.) I’d LOVE to be in the position of having someone ask me when I’m going “to pop” or why I don’t get the “booger” out of my baby’s eye. They’re both kind of crass questions, but harmless. At least from my perspective.

I’m not sure where the kind of statements and questions that cause me discomfort fit into a Body, Soul & Baby: Campaign Launch. I certainly don’t think I’ll get an Ipod and autographed book for sharing my experience. Nor will I quite capture the “snarky” tone that is meant to make the happy pregnant reader laugh.

One woman wrote about being asked if she wanted more than one child within days of announcing her pregnancy with her first. Granted, that is a bizarre question. Can you imagine my answer to that? “Oh well assuming this pregnancy doesn’t kill the baby or me, we’ll see.” Woo hoo hoo! Wasn’t that funny! I’m so witty. Just hysterical.

Mommy Wars, you say? Hell, I’ll sign up for them right now. I don’t even care whose side’s recruiting. I’d just like a chance to stand on wise mother hill lobbing insults at the clueless. It has to be better than where I am now.


12 responses to “Oh, you’re in the honeymoon phase now!?

  1. I am glad you wrote this.

    Sorry about the lack of those honeymoon moments… May they come back, but not earlier than sometime towards the end of January (taking those six postpartum weeks into account). And may you have little energy for them then due to all the taking care of the newborn you do. :).

  2. I remember the days when I considered the 2nd trimester the “safe zone.” Never again of course. And even though I sailed through my second, and third, trimesters with Baby Girl I still felt like I was white knuckling it every step of the way.

    I also remember marking off each milestone. 24 weeks, 26 weeks, 28 weeks, finally to 32 weeks and so on… It really did feel like the longest pregnancy in history. I wish I could make time fly for you, and the waiting less scary.

  3. your post took me back about eighteen months, to that place in the lonely desert of the second trimester when you know that the second trimester isn’t so safe and honeymooney – at least for you.

    i hated people for their facile questions, and for their petty “oh my god, this pregnancy stuff is so horrible” complaints. i hated it all. i was so afraid.

    and then, after i made it to about thirty weeks, i felt like i was years overdue. which in a way, i was. as you are.

    it is hard to be stripped of innocence and scared when societal expectations revolve around myths.

    like Lori, i wish we could make time fly for you, and the waiting less scary. i wish.

  4. I’d like to say that someday you’ll breathe easier, but that would be a lie.

    I freaked out every moment from conception to now with Mac. Even after he was born safe and sound and healthy.

    You will never be the same person again. Doesn’t mean you can’t be happy, or enjoy the living kids you will have someday, but you won’t be a mommy like the clueless ones, ever.

  5. I know this comment is not exactly going to be helpful, but this kind of post makes me feel a sense of relief that I am never going to have to go through another pregnancy — at least one that I physically have to experience.

    Just reading this makes me feel so tense and ill that I can barely breathe And I know that it’s infinitely worse for you, or for anyone else going through it or contemplating going through it.

  6. LeRoy Dissing

    Living with someone going through it can’t be much of a honeymooe either although the guy will never totally feel the emotional or physical rollercoaster you are on. He is hanging on for the ride of your lives too I am sure.

  7. Thanks all. In a couple of weeks, assuming we get there, people will start saying I’m halfway there, and I’ll probably want to respond, 2/3 there would be okay too.

    Thanks Bon, you have it exactly right. I’m sorry I took you back to a sad place, but I’m so glad you made it past.

    Aurelia, I can see what you mean. I worry I’ll be the world’s most overprotective mother. I keep joking to Josh when I see kids on the street do semi-dangerous things. If a kid runs by the house and trips on the cracks in the cement, “oh no running on sidewalks.” We’ll see. I’ll try.

    Niobe, comments don’t have to be helpful. I can understand exactly what you mean. I don’t regret my choice, but I wouldn’t recommend it. And I wonder what I’ll think if someone comments that, “it was all worth it.”

  8. Something to look forward to… Hopefully… If that word can possibly apply.

    I think “it was all worth it” is much like “everything happens for a reason” and the one I will bodily hurt people for– “but now everything is great for them.” They are all a way for the speaker to feel better about someone else’s tragedy. At least IMNSHO…

  9. I am glad you have this blog and are sharing your feelings. I am learning a lot and now don’t feel so weird about some of my own feelings about children. I have a tendency to be over protective about what I want for any children my husband or I raise. I use the word raise because of a prevalence of infertility in my female cousins among my generation on my mother’s side, all of my grandmother’s sisters not being able to have children, and the fact that my husband and I are probably not going to be mentally and financially ready to have children in our lives until I’m over 40.

    Hang in there with this so-called honeymoon period. It is no surprise you are filled with anxiety and fear during this trimester. I only know what you’ve written, but your last experiences last time and the family’s reactions are a lot to deal with (and in many ways you are still dealing with the last pregnancy). As I’ve said before, I do hope that one day your child will appreciate what you have done to give him or her life.

    Sending out hugs your way, including one for Josh.

  10. Ah, the honeymoon pregnancy. No, that sort of carefree innocence is long gone for me as well. I’ve no assvice, just delurking to say I appreciate your post and am wishing you the best as you navigate the coming days and weeks.

  11. There is no ‘honeymoon phase’ in a sub pregnancy. Unfortunately that is just another thing we have lost.

    For some people it gets better after they pass the gestational anniversary of their loss, but this is not always the case. It is not for me…now i know too much of what *can* happen, you know? For me the anxiety doesn’t take a significant plunge until they are born alive. And i will say with Chloe it took another significant plunge after she hit the 1 year birthday. And yes, my pg with her was the longest 38 weeks of my life! With the boys, it was dreadfully long too but it went alot faster than the first sub pg.

  12. Well, we are in the same boat. I was nodding all along. I’m hoping to be less anxious after 28 weeks too, when we lost Elijah.

    Thanks for the link to the parent bloggers. I always need snarky answers to stupid or insensitive questions.

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