Three Months, or, Is This All I Get?

The third trimester has arrived, and with it, a cloud of melancholy.

Three months. Roughly 11 weeks.

While other mothers-to-be are busy drafting birth plans, laughing their way through baby showers, and rapidly finalizing plans for the time after, I am stopped cold in my tracks by the realization that this is it. That there very well could be nothing more after these few short months are up (and boy is time moving fast now…).

I feel… lost. Simultaneously, I relish and eagerly await every kick and squirm of this beautiful, precious child — and am annoyed at myself for making myself so vulnerable again. Too often it feels like I can’t breathe for the vicious, negative, doubting, fearful thoughts swirling in my head. Pregnancy the second time around has become a love/hate relationship, a trial to be endured. The fact makes me angry; I had so wanted it to be 100% joyful and beautiful and carefree like the first time, and I feel bitterly cheated.

People are overly eager in their camaraderie, however, their words hold absolutely nothing but spooky terror — how is a story of a relative who lost nine full-term children to various birth complications before she got to keep one supposed to comfort me? How is a story of a family who lost children, then the mother died during birth of the one who lived supposed to make me feel better and less worried? (How dare I even go through with this, knowing my husband could be left a widower with no way to care for a baby AND run the farm on his own?) How do tales of the risks, the complications endured, the discomforts and physical trauma experienced during their pregnancy and birth (not to mention all the other things that can go wrong with a child’s development) supposed to make me feel courageous and brave? How are these stories — which highlight all the loss and none of the success — supposed to make me feel like this is even worth it in the long run?

It doesn’t. I know these “helpful Heloises” mean well, but it just makes me feel like a certifiably crazy, flipping idiot in all my irresponsible glory for even wanting to try this again.

Eleven weeks.

Is it truly the beginning of the end as I fear?

I cannot stand this not-knowing.

Blindsided

Why is it that just when you think you have your life neatly organized and figured out, that God or fate or karma or whatever decides it’s time to throw a monkeywrench in it?

Looking back I can honestly say the six months following Michael’s death were crap. Total crap. I was miserable, my husband was mostly miserable. I was floundering, emotionally. Because there’s no guidebook, road map, brochure, or even sucky GPS directions for how to navigate the days of grief. The days leading up to Thanksgiving were the breaking point, but then things began turning around. I’m still, achingly, not pregnant, and still, heartbreakingly, not a mother… But over this last month I finally started having a handle on life. I got brave and took on new projects, I threw myself hard into the creative side of my life, and it tided me over through the awkward interactions and the daily difficulty of Life Without Michael.

In short, life began to make sense again.

Then today, ugh, today. Someone I know let slip that they were pregnant.

And oh my. Talk about feeling completely blindsided, like I’ve been kicked in the gut when I’m down… I was completely and totally unprepared for the vicious onslaught of emotions. Feelings I thought I had finally managed to file away in their proper spot, thoughts and reactions I had convinced myself were safely sealed away in their airtight Tupperware — all. came. bursting. to. the. surface.

I’m sure I turned white as a sheet. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears and see spots in front of my eyes and those are physiological things that never happen to me unless I’ve been physically stressing myself by running flat out after a loose cow or something. WTF?

It’s not like I haven’t been around pregnant women before. It’s not like I haven’t been around babies since Michael’s death. I’m okay. Those things don’t hurt anymore. Not like this. I just can’t figure out what the trigger is this time…? Why was this casual information so much harder to swallow?

It was a challenge to keep my cool and not be awkward, but I did it. I think I navigated the questions about whether I had kids or had been pregnant before with tact. Maybe not finesse, but tact. And for that I’m proud.

But afterwards I admit I bawled.
I sniffled through evening chores.
I crawled into bed and slept for an hour.
Then I got up and bawled some more.

The only thing I can think is that at least I’m getting it all out of my system.

But — what the Hell, God?!?!

Another friend of mine put it best, I think: “Sometimes figuring out grief is like a drunk blind man leading another drunk through a maze.”