That's a part of what has made this pregnancy hard. All that sadness and fear coming to my door, asking to be heard, reminding me of the life/death/life cycle over which I have no control, but am invited to honor and celebrate and move through. For the first several months, pregnancy was like something that happened to me, not the embodiment of literal life growing inside me.
But it's not just that.
I was really, really sick. Debilitating fatigue, intense nausea, ravenously and painfully hungry 24 hours per day. It started to ebb around the 13th week but didn't really leave until week 15 or so. I'm now 17 weeks pregnant and only occasionally feel the panic of pregnancy-induced hunger or have a flood of nausea overtake me. But nausea induces a pretty serious fear state in me (seemingly related to a near-drowning accident I had as a baby), and it's been hard to feel so fearful for so much of everyday.
(How I spent most of the first trimester.)
And then there is the insomnia. I started having trouble sleeping in the first trimester, but even though my sleep pattern has changed - I fall asleep in seconds at night - a month or so ago I started waking up at some point during the night restless and staying half awake or fully awake for hours. (I've done ALL the things, and my doctor thinks I may have a mineral deficiency, so I'm going to have blood work done and see if we can rectify this.)
Oh, and did I mention the windedness? Totally normal on one hand due to the increased need for oxygen, but I now live at a higher altitude, in a much drier climate, with lots of hills. Walking out my door has been a challenge.
I have found this really, really, really hard.
I struggled in the early part of pregnancy with my son because of feeling similarly awful, but my last pregnancy (that ended in miscarriage) was easier and I thought perhaps things had shifted in me and this one would be easier, too.
All the healing work I've done, all the movement and dietary changes and emotional preparation, all the stuff I thought would help didn't give me a different physical experience. (I recently met a mom of seven who said that her last pregnancy was much easier than the prior ones because she did all this gut healing. I screamed in my head! I've done so much gut healing! I may have a little anger.)
In the midst of this, two things have happened.
First of all, I eventually came home to myself again. About two weeks ago, I suddenly noticed that I was back in my body. I stopped feeling like a crazed, rabid animal and found myself actually IN this body of mine, alive and breathing and delightfully happy!
How did this happen? Time. Patience. Hormones shifting. But also movement. Once I was able to use my body to do something more than lie down and stare into the fridge, I started to come home. I went for longer walks, I had ginormous pillow fights with my son, I made love with my husband, I did corrective exercises. This literal movement drew my spirit back into me. It felt like a miracle.
But I was also made keenly aware of a less desirable part of myself.
I started realizing I have a problem with support. There's no denying that it can be hard to get the support we need when we are feeling so badly, and sometimes it takes feeling just a little bit better to notice what we need and be able to get it. But what I've found is a little more insidious. I don't reach out when I need particular kinds of help. I am afraid of being disappointed. I am afraid of disappointing. I have so accustomed myself to going it alone when things are rough (but not tragically rough) that I don't even REMEMBER there is help available, especially the personal kind, like friends who might make me laugh or who would tell me about their own morning sickness horrors or the disconnect they felt during their pregnancy following a miscarriage, or who reassure me that gaining 20lbs in the first two months sounds perfectly normal.
There are some ways I have become very good at getting support, at making sure I'm resourced, especially professional kinds of support. But I have some really big blind spots. Instead of acknowledging these limitations and making sure I can manage them, I push away and slip into my own private hell.
So what am I doing about it?
Well. First of all, I am mostly noticing. I've stopped believing I need to resolve everything yesterday, and so I'm seeing if I can start by gaining an awareness of the "rules" I have around support and help. Who is in and who is out? Why? Where am I comfortable? Where do I tell myself I'm all alone?
But I'm also actively seeking support.
A friend and I share March as a birthday month and she has made March the "month of me," focusing every day on ways to give to herself. I decided to take a similar approach, connecting it to a willingness to receive support.
Everyday, I am asking myself, "What kind of support do I need today? How can I get it?"
This morning, after a painfully poor night's sleep, I realized I'd like to have someone work on my body, see if the tissues and energy can be shifted in collaboration. So I booked an appointment with a bodyworker. I'm also going to call a friend on the drive.
In my work with clients, I'm very clear that most of us have limitations around when and what kinds of support we're willing to receive - whether that support is coming from the inside or the outside.
If you really tuned in to what you need, what do you think you would discover? Might you then be willing to give yourself the support you need?