So I know it’s going to be a bad day here when tears start flowing over the lack of diverse breakfast foods in the house. But it doesn’t have to be. These are the kinds of mood-affecting events I can control.

We’re about 22 hours away from the next doctor’s appointment, and I seem to be doing okay. Some uterus tightening and infrequent aching around the pelvic bones, but nothing becomes rigid and the pain is negligible (according to my pain register anyway.) The ache makes me walk a little weird sometimes or have to turn over slowly in bed and I definitely need that body pillow. Occasionally, very occasionally, I get a sharp pain near (I think) to my cervix. But all of this feels like no big deal so I think this must be the normal pregnancy stuff I’ve been hearing about. I’m still anxious, however, although not nearly so much so as two weeks ago, about what we’ll find out at the appointment tomorrow. I suppose it’s too much to expect that I still have a 4.5 cm cervix, but I’m not prepared to hear it’s 2.5 or even in the low 3’s.

I think my best coping mechanism so far has been my complete ignorance of dates. I like for time to pass, and weeks to flow by, without my counting them, or even thinking daily, “how far a long am I?” That’s why you’ll see no tickers on this blog ever. I was considering a Harry Potter ticker a while back, but even that date passed before I got around to it. I know vaguely that we’re in the 20th week. I don’t even know why people ask me my due date. I’m not thinking that far ahead.

I don’t want to make any plans, or create any new events which didn’t happen to remember after they’ve fallen through. I need to consider how I’ll cope if this pregnancy goes bad. And while I want people to be excited about this baby, I cannot conceive of speaking of it (very often) as if it will arrive. I’m not fatalistic, just self-preservationist. Optimism will not bring this baby happily and healthily into the world, anymore than pessimism killed my son, or anyone else’s. It might help other people cope, but what helps me cope is recognizing my own needs and limits. I can determine somewhat my overall mood – moments are more difficult. This baby will not have a mom who cries every day or is plagued by constant bad thoughts. Calmness. That’s what s/he and I seem to be aiming for together, and need.

I’m not doing as well with directing my moods as I have at other times in my life, but losing my son pushed me to the brink. Getting up, functioning, engaging with other people took effort. I’m a cheerful person. That’s a trait I somehow acquired, rather than earned. I don’t know what it’s like to be clinically depressed because I’ve only had the most momentary glimpses of what it’s like not to be able to pull myself back.


11 responses to “Secret

  1. I can relate to this so well. I remember saying to a good friend after my twins died that I now know I am not inclined toward depression. Even in those darkest days, I knew I wasn’t depressed, and like you, still managed to do quite “well” even when still so sad. Even now, I recognize my ability to exist normally on many different levels at once. And also like you, I don’t give myself the slightest credit for this ability. Just luck, or a good chemical balance or something.

    I could hardly talk about my subsequent pregnancy at all either, and when you said you are trying to achieve a sense of calm, that resonated with me too. I think that is what I was doing as well. I wasn’t pessimistic, and I was certainly happy about the hope of a new baby to bring home, but I just couldn’t afford to have my emotions swinging all over the board all the time.

    I look forward to hearing your next good report! Please don’t leave us hanging!!

  2. I will, Lori. I promise. As soon as I get back to a computer. Day before doctor days are hard. I make plans for the next day that feel so fragile, always qualifying those plans with an “if.”

    “If all goes well at the doctor, I’ll….”

  3. I get it. If you want, we can sit together and watch mindless reality television, eat chocolate chip cookies, and not talk at all. {{{hugs}}}

  4. Thanks, Catherine, anytime, anytime.

  5. I get it to. It’s why I can’t bring myself to cut the tags off of the new clothes I bought for the new baby. It’s why when ever I think about the new baby, everything is in the subjunctive tense. I have faith, yet it is just so hard to let go. I’m keen on hearing the doctor’s report too! I’ll be thinking about you until then.

  6. I get this too. I also relate so much to your comment about making plans for the day of doctor’s visits. I do the EXACT same thing.

    In terms of the time thing, I struggle with this also. I mark time in the weirdest ways now. I was actually thinking of doing a post on this. In June, I marked time by waiting for the Tour de France. It has arrived, and is filling some of my time for the next few weeks. Now I am marking time for when the next Bourne movie comes out. Weird things, I know. Then, when these things arrive, I know I at least got a little further along with nothing bad happening.

  7. I know. I do not look forward to going back to work in a couple of weeks for pre-planning with my fellow teachers. Especially with five other pg ladies, I don’t look forward to all the questions and talk. I just want to wait, keep my toes crossed, and hopefully bring home a baby.

  8. That is a story that won’t soon leave me.

    I was clinically depressed once, and that’s how I know I am not now. Sure, I am having a hard time. It would be weird if I wasn’t. But I am not depressed.

    Yes, will be refreshing like mad for the doctor’s report.

  9. I hope everything goes well at the doctor’s today. I actually really liked what you said about optimism not helping this pregnancy any more than pessimism hurt your last one. It seems like telling people that their attitude will make or break a situation is just another way of blaming the victim.

  10. I wonder exactly how people (that is, you, Sara and the commenters) knows that they’re not depressed. I’m just not sure. I’m functioning, but I could always do that, even when, years ago, I went through a serious depression.

    How lucky for you that you’re, as you put it “happy by default.” I think you’re absolutely right. While events can temporarily control your outlook, in the same way that people tend to have a baseline weight, they have a baseline level of happiness. And the two are probably equally hard to change permanently.

  11. I don’t know how to answer your question, Niobe. It’s more than just functioning.

    If someone were to do a random sampling of my mood and feelings at any given moment, I’d probably be thinking good thoughts. If you caught me working, not thinking at all about my personal life, and asked about the music running through my head, it will probably be something lively. My own personal mental soundtrack(which I think other people have too??) tends to include Tom T. Hall’s children’s song “Sneaky Snake,” a Paganini capriccio I used to play on the cello, or a silly made-up song about my cats and my husband. And despite awful things happening in my life, this tends to remain true.

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