Fear

I’ve read many times that pregnancy is scary. I’m not sure what, exactly, I thought this meant, but I thought it was something pretty obvious, like: the fact that you’re about to be responsible for the health, safety, happiness, emotional and intellectual development and relative normalcy of another human is daunting. That is true. What I just had absolutely no way of anticipating his how scary being pregnant is.

Yesterday I felt the worst I’ve felt yet. I could hardly eat, but was hungry. I was exhausted, but coffee sounded awful. I drank a Big Gulp of Coke from 7-11. In college, I once turned down a Rum and Coke because of the Coke, so this was serious. Nick, my mom and I went to look at kitchen appliances for the new house, and then my mom and I got lunch. Or, rather, I sat at Panera drinking water while my mom had a lunch that normally would be just the kind of thing I’d like.

I was being a complainer, and I could tell it alarmed my mom a little. I was bitching about how stressful it was not to be able to tell anyone at work, and yet feeling like my performance would soon (if it hasn’t already) start to slip. Being worried about being found out in addition to being worried about not being able to do my job. I went into a long pity party about how much scrutiny high school teachers are under by their students and how, despite the appearance to the contrary, teaching is really not such a child-friendly career (I still believe this, but that’s another topic for another day involving unpaid maternity leave and no scheduling flexibility). Then I complained some more about how I used to love waking up every morning and spending an hour alone writing with my coffee and how that just isn’t fun anymore.

After (unconvincingly) apologizing to my mom and telling her how I really do feel lucky to be healthy, happy, pregnant, and to have a husband who has already cleaned the entire house several times while I was out just to do whatever he could to help, I came home and went for a run. After the run I felt sort of okay, and had some soup and sorbet and graded some more papers, and then Nick and I talked about how scared I am. I complained a little bit more, and did the thing where I’m not really looking for an answer, I just want to tell someone how I’m feeling (scared, nervous, more scared, inadequate, scared) and have person say something along the lines of, “yes, that must be so hard, you hard-working, kind, saintly woman!”

Today I am feeling so much better. I have graded several writing portfolios, am not dreading going to practice, and was even able to enjoy a cup of half-caffeinated coffee. This has made an enormous difference in my mood. On the one hand: how embarrassing. I was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t have a cup of half caffeinated coffee? Talk about first world problems. On the other hand: what a wonderful, small daily ritual to have (hopefully) back in my life. I’ll miss cooking dinner while sipping wine (but Nick has found a sampler of herbal teas for me to try… probably not quite the same, but very sweet), and I already miss racing and am eager to plot (but trying not to be unrealistic) a return to competitive running, I miss hot baths (but still not convinced I can’t take those–going to ask my midwife on Monday), but it is really nice to see what everyone had been telling me: this morning sickness will pass (even if it’s only on hiatus now) and then it will seem silly that I sat in a Panera pouting about my morning quiet hour.

All that excitement, though, is undercut by fear. Do my boobs still hurt as much as they did yesterday? What does it mean that I don’t feel as sick? It’s only seven weeks in. What if this is a bad sign? What if it’s bad karma that I was complaining yesterday and something absolutely horrible has happened because I am an ungrateful, immature, and selfish person? This is the kind of fear that I didn’t anticipate.

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