I’m back and writing again. It’s officially been 4 months since the birth of Margo and I’m feeling ready to share more of my story. I’ve had so much to say! In case you missed Part 1 you can get caught up right here but in short, it was a wild ride and years of fertility treatments in order to get my 6 yo Sadie here. I was convinced that I couldn’t go through that ever again. And then, after spending years getting my head around the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to have any more children, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. I’ve been running narratives of this story all day, everyday in my head, but the writing is different now. Way different than it would have been if I had written this during my pregnancy.
The hard edges of my memory have been smoothed over by chubby thighs and fluffy hair.
I do mention in part 1 of this story that things did get worse before they got better, so now is my time to share this experience, though I am completely aware that knowing what I know now, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
As you would expect from a pregnancy, there was morning sickness, which for me was an all day funk that lead right into evening sickness. I was sick! So sick that I could hardly stand at the end of each day (I felt like I was on a carnival ride). And I was oh so tired! I would fall asleep in business meetings… when someone was literally talking to me!
Pairing nausea with the shock of this pregnancy felt insurmountable to me. As I mentioned in my last blog, my way of coping was to bury myself in ‘busy’ as a way to avoid those feelings. Although this was working somewhat (depending on who you ask) what I really needed was life to slow down… just a bit, but as it always does it just kept going at what felt like a relentless pace. I craved a chance to lay in bed, possibly for days on end to digest what was happening but I couldn’t figure out how there would ever be time to do it.
With each day that passed it became more clear that the time I needed would never come… unless I asked for it.
My 6yo needed me, my house continued to look like a tornado hit it 10 minutes after cleaning and work continued to come at me. Like many families I know, my husband and I are living in the city with no extended family help. So It didn’t matter how I was feeling. There were deadlines, groceries, meals, school pickups, activities, one thing after the other. I went to bed each night wishing someone would recognize how badly I needed a break, only to wake up in the morning to do it all again.
Yes, it’s not lost on me that I should have asked for the break with my voice rather than my thoughts but I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t able to do it all. Not to anyone and especially not to myself. Because if I couldn’t handle it now, what would happen when the baby arrived and I had even more to manage? Then everyone would see that I am of no use to them and I’d be banished to new motherhood isolation again; a place I’d sworn I’d never return to. Harsh? Yeah, I know. Let me explain.
For as long as I can remember I’ve created this story that people depend on me.
It makes me feel good to be needed and I tend to wrap up my worth in how much I can get done for others. Part of the story I have created includes being a person others can rely on – dependable, there for you, even at the expense of my needs. Looking back now it is easy for me to see how hard I was clinging to that story through my pregnancy. I was trying to prove my worth to those around me, being careful to not find myself alone with a new baby.
After all, what if people were to find out that this story I’ve created was not actually true? What if I was no longer helpful to them? What if they didn’t need me? Would they still come around?
Deep down I felt that taking a break would reveal to everyone that I was never truly needed at all. The world would keep turning without me and maybe, what I feared most, was that it would even turn a little easier, and that would mean that there was never really anything special or good about me after all.
To me, that story was my truth and where I was stuck. I wasn’t well enough to recognize that this was just a story I had created. What I really needed was for someone to see this and grab my hand to say “this is too much right now, come over here and lay down. I got this, you don’t have to worry about anything, just rest’’ and then they would pick up my kid from school and deliver groceries, or chop veggies for dinner or fold some clothes. Although, since I was so stuck in my story, I probably would have refused the help and told them I was fine.
Don’t get me wrong, I did have PLENTY of people tell me that I needed to rest, including my midwife, but in my head at the time, resting would only put me further behind. I would have still awoken to my list of things to do, not an item scratched off, and less time to do it. I still felt like I was expected to do all the things I normally do from day to day, only now I was also expected to add a few more hours to rest as well. I just couldn’t do it and continue to keep everyone happy at the same time.
And so, here is where it got worse for me.
You know that saying ‘if you don’t make time for your health, illness will make time for you’ ?
Well, at my 20 week ultrasound I was diagnosed with complete placenta previa. As a doula I know that this often corrects itself. But as a doula I also know that complete previa has less of a chance. My pregnancy became higher risk, some of the activities I loved doing were restricted, and my vacation that was scheduled for me to go home to the east coast was cancelled. I know some of that, like my cancelled vacation plans, seems trite in the grand scheme of things, I had already felt like my emotional load was at its breaking point and looking forward to that trip was keeping me together.
I remember that day well. My midwife gently telling me that my birth plan might change, and me very quickly taking a victim stance ‘oh great, just one more thing’ daily to recognize the lessons that were oozing from this story. Obviously, there was a little soul willing to stop at nothing to show me that it was time to use my voice to claim the life I want.
What I didn’t realize was, it was happening because I asked for it.
We teach in our programs to visualize what you see for yourself in the future. To not worry about the how just yet, just visualize what you want and the how will come. I and boy it was coming to me fast, I just didn’t know it yet.
I started to visualize a life with more balance, more boundaries. More time for me, more of the word no. And it was on its way. It all came with this baby.
More of that to come, when we talk about the birth…and spoiler alert: no, the placenta doesn’t move.
Natasha Marchand is a birth doula trainer, hypnobirthing instructor, prenatal fitness/yoga instructor and business consultant. She is the co-founder of bebo mia and co-owner of Baby & Me Fitness. She is also the proud mother of 6yo Sadie, conceived with ART after a 4-year struggle, and recently gave birth to her second daughter, Margo.
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