Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pregnant and Paranoid

Part of pregnancy is the inevitable rise of crazy, irrational fears that begin to crowd their way into your regular, more functional thoughts. As the third trimester trucks on, these thoughts find their way into every part of your day. . . and night. They come in flooding emotional outbursts, in nightmares, in panic attacks, and generic meltdowns alike.

These days, paranoid thoughts are certainly threatening to put me in the mental ward. Here are the things making me crazy.

We are about to ruin Amelia’s life.  It’s true that we originally wanted another child essentially as a gift to Amelia. We wanted her to have a shared experience with another and someone with whom she could find comfort as an adult. And yet, I just keep thinking that when she realizes that a whole babychild is here, she is going to be so disappointed. I actually predict that she’ll be great and loving and helpful with the baby. But sharing her parents? Dogs? Toys? Everything? She’s been the center of our obsessions for over three years. All alone. And he we are, turning her life upside down with another child that we shall love as much as HER?! That just has to hurt to the core for such a little kid. My brother was 4 when I was born and he still talks about my birth with bitterness and regret. I am positive that he believes to this day that his life would’ve been so much better had my parents stopped with him. What if Amelia feels like that too???

I can’t possibly love this baby as much as I love Amelia. I know that a lot of people fear that they just don’t know how their hearts can fit the love of another child. I have faith that your heart just grows to include the next baby. There isn’t a limit to the love we have. BUT Amelia’s got a three year start on her baby sister. The amount of thought, time, and energy that has gone into loving Amelia has been all-encompassing since the moment I met her. This new babygirl will never get the same. To her disadvantage, we already have a child who will continue requiring attention (if not completely increase the demand). Every little thing about her will not be a wonder to me the way it was with Amelia because we’ve already HAD Amelia! She won’t get her own clothes, shoes, toys, books, or parents. They will all come to her filtered by the use of her older sister. This blog is the perfect example. New Baby will never have her very own blog. She will get lumped into her sister’s tale.  And to add to the above paranoid thought, Amelia will lose her own blog. Lose lose.

This baby won’t be healthy. When you have one child and that child is born healthy, functional, and beautiful, you realize that you’ve struck gold. That you rolled the dice of fate and won. To test fate for a second time and expect all to go well seems to me naive at best and completely foolish at worst. What makes us think we could be lucky enough to get another healthy baby? And wouldn’t it just figure that you finally give in to having another baby and worry completely about how to care for two only to find out that the second has special needs? I really don’t know if I trust my own luck that much. And heaven knows that if this pregnancy is any indication, this poor baby will be born sick. (Update: A week into summer relaxation time and I’m SICK AGAIN GODAMMIT.)  We had a tough time with Amelia as a baby, but she was ultimately healthy.

This girl will be the opposite of Amelia in every way. Isn’t that the rule of parenting? You get used to one kid and then the other kid destroys everything you thought you knew. Now, if this baby is the opposite of her sister as a baby, I would be forever grateful. However, I’ve always considered the work we put in with Amelia as an infant set up for good toddler karma. Despite the fact that I’ve come close to killing her a few times lately, Amelia really is an amazing little kid. She is sweet, sensitive, funny, bright, and well behaved. The most oft-repeated comment I get from her teachers is “She is just soooo sweet. Is she always like that?!”  She really is just a sweetie. She’s never been destructive or loud or anything that would bug me too much. What if this baby is an easy infant and then a terror kid? What if she’s fearless and a daredevil who doesn’t listen to her parents? What if she hates books or cuddling? What if she doesn’t communicate well or screams in the grocery store? What if she just isn’t as likeable?

I won’t recover. My body has felt permanent repercussions of carrying and delivering Amelia. Most notably, my back feels destroyed by the c-section and my core strength never returned after having everything moved around in surgery. Will the destruction be the same? I’m guessing it will be worse. Will I never feel like the person I was before in terms of physical ability?

I can’t mother two. I have no idea how anyone manages more than one child. Amelia takes up my whole day and all of my energy. The thought of adding a newborn, breastfeeding baby to that equation seems impossible. I’m not exaggerating. I honestly have not one idea how I will manage. Justin is gone for work 14 hours a day. How will I manage two children through the entire day and evening? What could possibly be left of me when the day is over?  When Amelia was a newborn, I would count the hours until Justin got home and that was when he got home at THREE in the afternoon. It was just at my breaking point of the day too. Just the thought of getting Amelia ready for school with a lunch and backpack and clothed, making myself presentable enough to drop her off, and loading up both girls into the car makes me tired. Not to mention, taking care of the baby all day and then doing it all again to pick Amelia up, come home, and get dinner, bath, and bedtime taken care of for both babychildren. Impossible. Add in long, sleepless nights and I think this fear is completely rational. I can’t possibly be a good, present mother when life is impossible.

This baby will have reflux and colitis. I know that if this child has the same problems as Amelia, we would be much better armed with treatment options and survival tactics. I’ll have the advantage of knowing that it’s temporary and that she will still grow and someday be healthy—something that we really had no perspective on with Amelia. However, if we find out that this baby has the same problems, I will just fall apart and cry. CRY until the tears can’t cry anymore. Add a screaming, inconsolable baby to the above fear and get the straight jacket ready.

This baby won’t have any problems and will sleep great. I hardly even dare to think this is possible considering my luck, but I know that if this baby is . . . okay . . . I will finally have a normal baby experience. And then I will have to come to terms with how traumatic my first-time-mothering experience really was. I’m not sure I want to face all of that. . . but don’t get me wrong. I’m willing to try. That’s why it’s an irrational fear.

She won’t breastfeed.  For all the struggles we had, Amelia ate like a champ. She loved to nurse and we were a very compatible nursing team. She never took chunks of my nipples with her and didn’t graze a lot.  Amelia and her first year converted me to a breastfeeding believer. It became an important part of her and my health and such a pivotal part of my mothering experience. Going into the second time, it’s the one thing that I feel fairly comfortable with. . . and yet, I have this terrible fear that this baby won’t do it. That she won’t latch or will refuse the boob or will just destroy my boobs to the point of halting production or just won’t do it. Whereas I wouldn’t have disappointed if it didn’t work out the first time, I would be crushed if it didn’t work out this time.

I’m going to lose Amelia. Just by the nature of our schedules, this pregnancy, and continued illness, Amelia and Justin have spent a lot more time together than before. We basically have a mommy part of the week and then a daddy half. As a result, Amelia and Justin have gotten very close. I love watching their relationship strengthen and begin to resemble the one her and I have.  However, one of my very biggest fears is that the relationship Amelia and I have will never be the same once this baby is born. She will inevitably spend more time with her daddy as a nursing mommy and baby are fairly inseparable. Her and I will just physically be unable to have the same relationship.  If I have a c-section, I won’t be able to pick her up, snuggle with her too much, or tend to her either. I am absolutely terrified that the baby, though adding something amazing to our family, will detract from my closeness with Amelia. Her and I are so very close I just can’t imagine what it will be like for either of us to have another baby in the picture. I know that our relationship will change to adapt, but the thought of it changing at all . . . breaks my heart. And the truth is, it will never be the same. She’ll never be my only child, my only daughter again.  It just hurts to think about losing this 3-year love affair we’ve had to any change or adjustment. And what if sharing the baby with mommy is traumatic for her and she just turns to her daddy as a replacement?

What if we don’t know anything? There should be some advantage to having the second child in that you’ve already had one. But what if everything we know turns out to be useless on this baby? What if it’s like starting all over? What if we have absolutely no skill or memory or ability to care for this baby? What if NOTHING we know works?
What if she comes too early and has to stay in the NICU? I always said that the saving grace with Amelia’s birth was that she was big and healthy enough to come home. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I had to leave the hospital and not take my baby! Amelia’s birth was tough but had a positive outcome. What if it actually goes worse this time?
What if I never get well again? Now about a month or so away from birth, I’m still sick. This means that I’ve been ill for essentially this entire pregnancy. But what if it has nothing to do with the pregnancy? What if I finally get relief from no longer being pregnant only to continue being ill. . . AND taking care of two children? I thought I was in the clear once school got out and the sun stayed warm, but here I sit, sick and desperate for relief. And worrying that I will never remember wellness again.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Wow :)

I'm not sure why kids grow up to be the people they are, but my brother was a tornado as a little boy; by the time he was an adult he was/is very mellow, patient, and thoughtful. I, on the other hand... was very mellow and patient in my childhood, and then sometime in my teen years turned into an outspoken, fairly confident, non-peer pressured teenager.

I'm sure Amelia will have some adjusting to do; however she deals with that, she will have a loving support system, right? :)