featured post: “fears” by Amanda

While reading through posts in the PAIL Blogroll reader last week, I came across My life in a nutshell.  In it, Amanda had written a post named Fears.

For the past 2 nights, I have woken up at 3 am and all I can do is worry.  I am terrified that the baby will die before I go into labour or worse, it will die during labour.  I’ve researched the data, and almost 1800 cases of still-births happen each year in Ontario – the national average being 6.4 for every 1000.  For some reason, I thought researching the likely-hood will give me comfort – instead it has made me worry even more.

She is 40 weeks pregnant and full of fear right now, and she could really use some advice and support from all of you! In her most recent post from today, she wrote this:

For myself, I am in a weird place.  I am so close to having ‘everything I have ever wanted’ as many of my co-workers have pointed out time and time again.  However, I’m also still so far away.  My baby isn’t here yet so anything is possible.  Also, my body is once again not co-operating by having high blood pressure and not starting to dilate etc to bring the baby to me.  Both of my miscarriages were missed.  In neither situation, did I experience the cramping, bleeding or any other symptom associated with miscarriage.  I found out my babies had died through an ultrasound and needed medical intervention to rid my body of the dead fetus.  Now, sitting her waiting for my baby, I wonder if my body once again will hold onto this pregnancy for dear life.  Does my body want to stay pregnant forever?  Does it even know what it is supposed to do naturally?  If not, does this mean I wont be able to deliver my child?

If you have a minute to share a reassuring story or give words of advice, please go visit Amanda at My life in a nutshell to answer some of her questions.

Did anyone else have these irrational fears?  If so, how did you cope?  How did you move on and enjoy the experience.  Why does this pregnancy have to be so filled with worry and anxiety?

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Amanda in her own words: 30 years old married to my best friend. Expecting our first baby after two losses and struggling with being able to get pregnant.

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featured post: “She Looks Just Like Her Daddy” by My New Normal

I am the spitting image of my mother. No joke. People see pictures of my Mom at my age, and they think it’s me. My youngest brother is the spitting image of my father. Same thing – you could literally mistake them for each other in pictures.

Because of this, I always thought we had “strong genes” or something (yes, I know this isn’t a real thing, but just work with me here), and I assumed any kid of mine would come out looking like me, especially if we had a girl.

Um, no. My child is 100% her daddy, and as cute as I think my husband is, there are definitely days that it makes me a little sad.

That’s why when I started reading this post by My New Normal (who I have never followed before – I found her while cruising through the PAIL blogroll this week and wasn’t aware of her TTC story), I was figuring it was your typical post about your kid looking nothing like you and kind of wishing s/he did. Then I got to this line…

[Read more…]

news item: “Not Just the Baby Blues”

The article and topic for today’s discussion was submitted to us by mandski of Chhoto Pakhi (formerly AS of Mira’s Mama):

It seems that a lot of PAIL members have experienced prenatal or postpartum depression and/or anxiety, usually unexpectedly. I was lucky enough to have support (regular meetings with a psychotherapist and a prenatal psychiatrist available), and I still ended up afraid to get on the subway when I was pregnant (among other anxiety-related fears). In some ways, perhaps infertility exacerbates this experience. This article in Slate doesn’t talk about infertility, but I thought it was interesting since it’s a common topic of conversation here, and it’s not so commonly talked about in the mass media. The author talks about her mother saying that her doctor brushed off her concerns about depression, saying this should be the happiest time of her life. How many of us heard that?

*Raises hand*

In the last few days, I have been thinking a lot about pregnancy after IF/loss. Specifically, the unrelenting anxiety I felt during my pregnancy with HGB and how this was compounded by platitudes (variations of “just relax” continue after the BFP too!) or a general lack of support and understanding. And, in my case, some pretty blatant invalidation of my feelings. The situation surrounding my pregnancy left me very depressed, and I experienced a terrible bout of PPD after our son was born. Recently, I was asked for my advice and some resources to help someone with this very issue (prenatal anxiety), and it really struck me how differently I feel this time. How much clearer I am able to think about not only this pregnancy, but to really shine a light on my last one. It was a very bad time, and I did not begin to enjoy it until the very end. And I still feel guilty about that.

In her article for Slate, writer Jessica Grose details her struggle with prenatal depression, finding support, and coming to terms with it:

Neither the psychologist nor the psychiatrist mentioned prenatal depression. In fact, I had never heard the term before I started plunging into a clinical melancholy so deep that my Google history from that period is a darkly hilarious trail of cries for help. I entered many permutations of the terms “pregnancy depression” and “pregnancy can’t stop crying” and discovered that prenatal depression is just as common as postpartum depression—it affects between 10 and 15 percent of women. Despite these stats, prenatal depression is still relatively under the radar, and many obstetricians are not well-trained in its complexities

Speaking from my own experience, my doctor did ask about this a few times, and I lied. What if they knew how I was feeling and decided I was a terrible mother? What if they tell me all the horrible ways my feelings are harming my child in utero and confirm all the crazy shit Dr. Google has told me about? I’ll just hide it and feel even worse. Not my best logic.

Grose goes on to talk about the guilt that inevitably arises from these feels of anxiety and depression, and perhaps ever so slightly touches on the experience of pregnancy after infertility and loss (emphasis mine):

Compounding the obsessive thoughts was an overwhelming sense of guilt. We had wanted and planned for this child. I was supposed to be thrilled, cooing at strange babies in the street and gleefully learning how to knit tiny hats. This should have been something that brought my husband and me closer together. Instead, I was scared and sick and sloppy, and my husband was increasingly terrified.

Taking all the information and statistics provided in the article (and part two) with a grain of salt, I wish I read this 2 years ago. We all know that being in the ALI spectrum can cause significant stress and anxiety, often resulting in bouts of depression. I know that *I* hoped, nay, expected that to all go away when I got pregnant. Instead, it got worse. And I was extremely reluctant to talk about that people after being essentially ordered to “just be happy.”  It took me a long, long time and a lot of hard work to get to where I am today.

But here is the kicker: I went through this time without blogging – without seeing my experience mirrored anywhere. I wonder if it would have been different if I had been writing about this. I wonder if it would have helped me or hurt me to discuss those feelings here. Would commenters have been supportive? From reading blogs, I have come across very few in this community that discuss these feelings (particularly with respect to prenatal depression) openly and honestly. And I wonder, is it not happening, am I not reading the right blogs, or are we not talking about it?

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Did you experience (or are you now experiencing) anxiety and/or depression during your pregnancy? If you have adopted your child, did you experience similar emotions while waiting for your child to come home?

If so, did you blog about these experiences? What was that like for you? 

Do you think there is a reluctance to discuss this issue in the ALI community? Why or why not?

How can we encourage each other to seek out support if this happens to us or someone in the community we care about?

featured post: “gun shy” by Mission: Motherhood

Wow. AL is just slightly ahead of me in the whole desire to start TTC#2 process, so as I read her post last week, it was like seeing a window into my future – a future that I’m not all that sure I will be ready to face anytime soon.

I’m just…not excited about it at all. It’s not that I don’t want to be pregnant right now, it’s just that I don’t want to go back to that place of driving myself crazy. Of depression, loss, charting, temping, toilet-paper-inspecting, blood draws, ultrasounds, and peeing on sticks.

Amen to that.

As anyone who has struggled with IF or pregnancy loss knows, TTC loses its luster mighty quickly when you realize that, for many of us, baby making often entails more than a bottle of wine and a sexy night with your partner. Whether your struggles were with getting pregnant, staying pregnant, or going through the adoption process, it is scary to think about heading back into that abyss. AL goes on to say:

I feel no sense of urgency in trying to get pregnant again. I don’t dare hope for anything, so I’m really defeating myself before I even start.

This is a beautifully written post about the thoughts and fears so many of us face in regards to TTC for #2. Check out her full entry, gun shy, and let AL @ Mission: Motherhood know your best piece of advice about how to work through that scary prospect of trying again.

This trying for number two stuff isn’t easy. And I haven’t even really started.

Comments on this thread will be closed in an effort for you to connect with AL directly and share your thoughts with her.

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If you have a post (of any kind, old or new!) that you would like share, please fill out the form on the main Featured Posts page here. You are welcome to submit your a post of your own! 

And a reminder – there is a group of fabulous featured posts from June indexed under the June 2012 collection

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featured post: “our journey to parenthood” by everyday love

Finding new blogs has always been hit or miss for me. I typically find people through other people’s blogrolls (this is Blogger’s one redeeming quality in my WP-user eyes) or through clicking on comments. Lately though, I have found myself not venturing out of the cosy corner of my reader, until the other day when I was happened upon Everyday Love (aka Happily Hitched) while doing a little site administration here at PAIL Bloggers. A reminder that connecting with other folks is the point of PAIL after all! 🙂

Leah from Everyday Love has written “Our Journey to Parenthood” in which she discusses the two losses she and her husband suffered before their current (almost done!) pregnancy. In this post, Leah discusses how the losses affected her outlook and her relationships. What struck me the most was Leah discussing how important talking about miscarriage is to healing, and how blogging has been a big part of that for her:

I’m going to leave it a this today, but I do have posts planned for the future.  One day I hope to write a book on miscarriage.  I’m far from an expert but I think there isn’t enough out there about it.  I feel like some think it’s taboo to talk about but in reality more people experience it then you would ever know.   One thing I will say is that I never would have been able to get through the past year without blogging.  I didn’t know anyone my age who had gone through a miscarriage before in my “real” life.  But, I met many ladies through blogging.  Even though I never shared my story in a post, many of you know it from the friendships we’ve developed via email and the support you’ve all provided has meant the world to me.   Today, I hope that in sharing this I will be able to help others who are going through what we went through.

At the bottom of her post, Leah states that this is why she has added the PAIL blogroll button to her blog, despite being on the blogroll for some time. She felt the time was right. Seeing this at the end of post surprised me, because I had already decided to share this post in this space before finishing the post. Finally, at the end of her post Leah shares a link to a post that she wrote while going through a loss – an interesting analogy about how things do not go according to plan.

Please head over to Everyday Love to read the rest of  “Our Journey to Parenthood”. Comments on this thread will be closed in an effort for you to connect with Leah directly and share your thoughts with her.

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If you have a post (of any kind, old or new!) that you would like share, please post a link in the comments of the Featured Posts open thread for June, 2012.

And a reminder – submissions for the June Monthly Theme Post close tomorrow at midnight!

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