Pregnancy: Fear in the First Trimester
By DeAnna Houston
Becoming pregnant was not an easy for me and my husband. It took us four long years and, while I would not take back that time period, I did spend many moments feeling pain, sadness, and grief.
A couple of months before I got pregnant, I made a promise to myself that once pregnant I would only feel positivity and gratitude. I told myself I was not allowed to complain. Even if it was hard, I would "woman up" and move on.
Side note: I am the type of person that once I make a goal, I will do everything in my power to accomplish it. I leave no room for flexibility or change, and often feel a sense of disappointment if I fall short. So staying true to myself, I set the expectation of ONLY feeling gratitude and joy, and when feelings of fear crept in, I was disappointed.
On May 16, 2018, I finally received a positive pregnancy test! While deep down I knew that month had "worked" I was still in shock. Shocked, yet incredibly happy! I could not believe that my dream of being pregnant had finally come true! And, to add to it, the nurse said my hCG level (pregnancy hormone) was so high it was most likely twins! This news would probably scare most people, but not me...this was the best news ever!
Over the next several weeks, I continued to see my doctors and everything looked great. The twins had strong heartbeats and were progressing right on schedule. Our dream was finally a reality! But with these feelings of happiness and gratitude, I had a nagging sense of fear.
Grateful at 16 weeks pregnant.
Since everything was going so well, I had to question it... If I eat this, will something happen? What if I work out too hard? What if only one baby is healthy? Are my babies growing properly? I don’t feel any signs of pregnancy, did something happen?
The fear of losing one of the twins was overtaking and I was beating myself up regularly for feeling this way.
Since everything can relate to Sex and the City - HA! This time in my life reminded me of a scene from the movie. A little background from the series - Charlotte had struggled to get pregnant for many years and in the last episode of the series she finally chose to adopt a baby. Fast forward to the movie, Charlotte naturally becomes pregnant with her second child. While she is quite happy, her sense of fear robs her from enjoying the pregnancy.
During a particular movie scene, Charlotte, an avid runner, stops running because she is "afraid something bad is going to happen." She goes on to say, "I have everything I've ever wanted. I am so happy, that I'm terrified. No one gets everything that they want.... of course something is going to happen to me."
Yes, it is a movie, but I could totally relate. The moment I have waited so long for finally arrived and I was missing out. I was so scared that something was going to happen that I was missing my miracle.
BUT I had two defining moments bring me back...
The first moment was when my sister put things into perspective. She explained that my feelings of fear were totally normal. A lot of women have fears, especially women who have experienced difficulties getting pregnant. She said, yes, I am scared, but I can also be happy. It does not have to be one or the other. While this seemed pretty obvious I think I needed the validation along with permission to feel both. She then recommended giving myself a "fear deadline." Allowing myself to fully feel the fear, but then fully move on in order to really experience the joy. I decided to set the first trimester as my deadline.
A week before my deadline, I experienced the second defining moment. I was attending the beginning level 1 Somatic Experiencing (SE) training. (SE is a body-oriented approach to healing trauma and everyday stressors.) During the training I met two women who both had twin boys. One of the women I bonded with and partnered with her to practice one of the techniques we had learned. At the end of our practice, she casually said "I’m a twin Mom and you will be a twin Mom...” This sentence probably meant nothing to her but it changed everything for me. This woman (who barely knew me) truly believed that I would give birth to these two babies - more than I did. Then it hit me that there was this aspect of trust. While I may not know the exact outcome, I had to trust that I will be okay. Trust that I will be supported and trust that I will be a Mom to two healthy and beautiful babies.
July 2018 journal entry - 13 weeks pregnant "Last week I went to an OB appointment for a sonogram. The babies were starting to look more like humans. We were even able to see their feet and arms. I can say now my fear has disappeared. I can't wait to be their mom!"