Monday, 20 February 2012

Brain Dump - Introspection

Bump at 20 weeks, with giganta-arm

The bump, 20 weeks.

I've ummed and ahhed about writing this post for some hours. Most of the pregnancy blogs I read are witty, or wise or are infused with a sense of wistfulness, even rage. However, looking back at the path I have travelled, this blog has, at all times, been honest about my feelings. I don't see any good reason to change.

I'm 20 weeks and 2 days pregnant. My scan is on Friday. Hopefully we will then find our whether our baby is a boy or a girl.

I'm very excited about the scan, but I feel very introspective and emotional too. I can feel little Boris wiggling around inside me; last night he woke me up with his kicks for the first time. It was an amazing, joyful feeling, lying alone in the dark and the silence feeling the warm life moving within me, to the sound track of his father's deep, slumbersome breaths. But at the same time I feel a bit anxious, a bit fragile, a bit vulnerable.

Feelings are very hard to pin down. I'm not worried about anything in particular, I just feel naked somehow. I'm a bit worried about whether there will be anything wrong at the scan. Also, I've known 3 people in recent years who have had seriously disabled children and their baby's conditions were not picked up at the anomaly scan. That frightens me too. It makes me feel as though the plans that I make are tempting fate somehow. I feel as though I am holding off because part of me is sure that we will be facing a loss of some sort. I just want to get it over and done with. Then again, I know that the chances of this happening are tiny - about 2% - and that the baby is growing and kicking, and my bump is growing every day. We've not had problems in past pregnancies and there aren't any nasty conditions in our families. Statistically, I'm worrying about nothing. But it has to happen to someone. 

I've been thinking a lot about the birth too. I'm now half way through the pregnancy - which seems to have been very quick and years at the same time. I've been watching lots of episodes of One Born Every Minute and I am struck by what a leveller birth and babies are. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, young or old, there's no easy way out. At the same time, I'm hoping to have a relaxed water birth, ideally at home. I am listening to Hypnobirthing MP3s and we hope to go to a Natal Hypnotherapy class. I hope that I am able to deal with birth, and with my lovely baby, with grace and patience. I hope, beyond all else, that I can cope. I want it to be a happy experience for us all; I am trepidatious.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I was rather worried about having Dom at the birth. It's not because of anything he would or would not do, it was because I knew I would lose control and I didn't want him to see me in such an undignified state. I wanted him to still find me attractive afterwards. I've been thinking recently how differently I feel now; how much more of myself I have revealed to him over the last 7 years. Its not as though we were newly weds when Charlie was born; we'd been together for 4 years. I didn't realise how much I was holding back. He was (of course) brilliant at the birth, and our shared experience bound us together in a way that is immeasurable. However, this time, there's no-one else I want there. If it could just be the two of us, that would be perfect. The shape of his hands, the sound of his voice, his touch, all bring a sense of love and security that can't be replicated or replaced. Since Charlie was born, I have broken down into my component parts, and that loving man hasn't left, and I haven't melted away. I am OK - and I am loved - even when I feel vulnerable. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel similarly broken down emotionally, right now, as though anyone could reach in and poke that painful place. And some people have. I have, most probably, completely overreacted to tiny things. Like the big, fat, generous tears that come several times a day for the most insignificant of reasons. I am not quite myself, not quite in charge of my emotions. Not depressed, but raw.

When I had Charlie, I was in control of my life. I just knew I would cope. I didn't. I was dogged with horrendous post natal depression and Charlie did nothing but cry. How will I do any better when I am that much more vulnerable to start with? I am about to be a mother of 3, and I feel like a little girl for whom the world's too much.

Then again, there is a side of me that says, OK, so I feel more vulnerable this time. But I have confronted my depression, and the life-long reasons that lie behind it, in therapy and with medication. I've had an emotional clear out. I've developed stronger and more secure relationships and weeded a few unhealthy ones out. Maybe - just maybe - I'm in a stronger place than I was before because I know my demons. I am not depressed, I am pregnant. It's OK to have wobbly emotions. And I know the signs of depression. At the first hint, I can go back to the doctors and ask for the anti-depressants and not battle with the dark shame of having a mental illness. I am past that.

They say love heals all - it will, won't it? Because as sure as night follows day, I love my dear husband, and Jonny and Charlie and this squirmy thing in my belly. The whole world could shut tomorrow and as long as I had my family, I would be OK. And this is just more love, right? I'm not anxious or depressed in a bad way, just a little unsure. This all feels like serious shit, and I want to get it right.

I don't know whether these feelings are normal in pregnancy. They are interspersed with thoughts about the colour of the nursery paint, wondering whether its a boy or a girl, getting Dom to feel my bump, looking at baby clothes etc etc. There's enough love and frivolity and joy. But if I'm not honest about my darker feelings, then who will be?

I just want it to be right. Tell me it's all working out the way its supposed to?

Claire x

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Life and Death

It has been an absolute age since I posted here. I'd just like to say thank you to those of you who have checked back from time to time, and I'm sorry there hasn't been an update. I've been in a bit of a funny place. A private place. A place that needed a bit of time and reflection.

I started this blog nearly 3 years ago. At that time, a perfectly nice and happy life had gone tits up, and chucked me into the depths of depression and despair. I can say this honestly now, but I honestly did not think I would get better. I thought I would die. As melodramatic as that sounds, every last cell in my body thought my days were up. How could it be possible to feel so much pain and get better? I'd given up.

Looking back, I can hardly tell you how the recovery process happened. I can tell you that it took a long, long time; far longer than I had hoped. I am sure that the love of my family and friends has been instrumental in getting me back on track, as has the kind and patient help of crafting. Night and day, pain or joy, the crafting has been there to sooth worried fingers and to unbend a twisted mind. Without craft I don't know where I would be. The same goes for my family and friends, obviously.

Anyway, not only did I not die. Look!

I have been filled with new life! As I write now, I am 19 weeks pregnant with my third child. A gift that amazes and overwhelms me and makes some kind of sense of the last few years. A much wanted, longed for child who will bring new love into our family.

I feel very blessed.

I have also felt frightened, overwhelmed, thrilled, under prepared, anxious, excited, scared, amazed, shocked, worried, delighted - just about every emotion under the sun.

We don't yet know if the baby will be a third son or a first daughter. Our 20 week scan is on the 24th February (12 days and counting!) and we hope to find out then. I am just starting to feel the wiggles and kicks, although my belly feels massive already!

Doesn't life take a funny path? Twists and turns and ups and downs that we can't possibly understand at the time. If you're reading this in the depths of depression: have hope. I know that hope doesn't come easily and, if it's too much, just have an open mind. Life is rarely as bad as we think it will be in our darkest moments.

I guess this blog will become, in part, a parenting blog from now on. I still feel the need to record my feelings and thoughts, now more than ever. I still hope to craft and will keep you updated on what I'm working on, and our family life. I'm just letting you know because I know that, for some of you, that will change your views on how often you visit me here at Knitted Back Together. If pregnancy and babyhood is a difficult subject for you, then I understand and I send you my best wishes. I hope you understand that its something too big for me not to talk about.

Most recently, I've been working hard on the first module of my OCA Textiles Course. You can see what I've been doing here. It's not my usual blog style as it forms part of the formal assessment of the course, but I hope you'll enjoy looking at the pictures!

Much love - and as a very wise friend of mine said, when it all gets too much, keep breathing. Who knows where life will take us next?

Claire x