They say that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, and while this is true of a great many things I definitely think it applies to the moment you become a parent.
It is exciting and terrifying but ultimately, life affirming and life-giving – for the child and for you which is why you’ll often hear parents say ‘I can’t remember life without my kids in it’. It’s true!!
Having said this and as optimistic as I am about most things I am a bag of nerves at this stage in the game.
Giving birth scares me. It didn’t always but these days you can give me all the encouragement in the world and still not come close to the memories that have tattooed their name across my heart and mind.
Penny, she was the girl who gave me confidence and insight and strength that I’ve never known, but she is also the girl that haunts my pregnancy experience and makes me lose sight of myself when I am at my most vulnerable. Losing her means that I have to work very hard to believe that I’m not one step away from losing this baby or the next or the next. And being in hospital with all the gadgets and experts, as reassuring as they are, still feels like being in a room full of triggers never knowing which one might set me off or try to unravel me.
I remember while I was in labour with Costa and in quite a bit of pain, when one of the nurses brought in the gas and told me to take it and think of ‘my happy place’. Little did she know that the last time I used gas I was giving birth to a baby who would forever know the world sleeping so if it was supposed to make me euphoric or numb, it just made me deeply sad and upset. Needless to say the gas was rubbish and I would sooner soldier on than go down that road.
Losing someone is never easy and depending on the circumstances in which you lose them, you’ll never really get over it. You will instead learn to live with it. To let the fear and anxiety of that time ride alongside you even though it scares the hell out of you.
I lost Penny on the cusp of 39 weeks and because there was no conclusive answer as to why (a textbook pregnancy), I still wonder, I still blame myself sometimes and I still fear the worst, so it is safer for me both medically and mentally speaking to not go too far passed 38 weeks.
So tomorrow I will be induced, only if you thought that sounds like a nice/convenient way to birth, it isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. You are essentially asking mother nature to spring into action against her will and so it can be a very long and drawn out way to labour (with a long lead in and plenty of painful stops and starts – 2 days with Costa) before the wheels start turning toward the end goal.
I will save the ending to this story for another day (because its yet to happen) but I wanted to acknowledge that pregnancy is still a scary ride for me and I don’t think that will ever change but even still, I know that it is just my fear of the past forever trying to derail my hopes for the future.
Rather, I’ll take the huge postivity chip that my folks gave me and hope that it transfers to the little gentleman in my belly so that he can greet this world with the biggest gift I can possibly give him. Eternal optimism. It’s the thing that gets me through this and any other time I might feel wary. And I hope it will be the thing that motivates and protects him from all of life’s troubles whenever he needs to cling on to something good.
Afterall, if not for hope and faith in one’s self, what is there to cling to?
Til next time….