Thursday, February 10, 2011


Now that the cat is out of the bag I can talk freely here about the whole pregnancy thing (yay for me, I'm sorry for you guys especially since "pregnancy brain" makes me ramble more than normal). Right after I found out I was pregnant I joined a bulletin board for women who are due around the same time I am because I couldn't remember what to expect and figured "why not". I try not to spend too much time over there as it can be a real time suck, but it has been really interesting to see what 7,000 odd women have to say about pregnancy. The biggest thing I've noticed is how much everyone (or at least those posting) tends to worry about every little thing. I understand watching what you eat and being cautious about food safety. There are certain types of food poisoning that won't hurt you much, but can harm your unborn child. Pregnancy also lowers your immune system so you are more likely to get sick and being sick and pregnant at the same time is just miserable. I also get not wanting to drink, smoke or put yourself in a dangerous situation, that makes total sense. I even understand the debates over whether or not to get various prenatal testing and the chance that there might be something wrong with the baby. I admit, I worried a ton when I was pregnant with A. and called my midwives at least once a week with questions. (They always reassured me and gave me the "why" behind every recommendation so I could make informed decisions. Midwives rock, or at least these ones do!)

What I don't get are the women worrying because they picked up their toddler before they remembered that someone on the internet told them they shouldn't life more than 20lbs. Toddlers don't stop needing to be held just because you are pregnant and throughout history women have been having more children as soon as their monthly cycle returns during or after weaning their toddler. I don't get the women who are worried because a pot boiled over on the stove and the burner started smoking and they might have breathed some smoke in. It wasn't that long ago that all cooking was done over some sort of fire and in many places it still is. These women continue to have healthy children as long as they can get enough good food themselves. I don't get worrying because you might have to buy some of your child's clothing second hand, honestly a lot of clothing I find at consignment stores and sales is cuter than what I find new. I don't get worrying about stocking up on diapers when you are 2 months pregnant, if money is that much of a concern use cloth or save the money you would spend on diapers now to spend once your baby is here and you know what works for them. I don't get worrying because the ultrasound picture they printed off looks a little strange to you, even though your doctor and the tech said everything is fine. I just don't get it...

I know more deeply than I'd like that stuff can go wrong. I know that losses happen, that babies are born early, that sometimes they aren't perfect. However, I also know that it is very rare that there is any action on my part that can change that. I know that all the bed rest and prayer in the world cannot save a pregnancy doomed to miscarriage. I know that even at 37 weeks a baby can be born still (thankfully I have not had to deal with this one personally, but I have watched a friend go through it). I know that sometimes even the healthiest pregnancy and the most promising labor can end with a seemingly sudden c-section. I know that even a healthy baby can get very sick. I also know that the stuff I worry about probably isn't going to be the thing that goes wrong. Some worry is a good thing. When A. was tiny I was worried that she wasn't gaining weight as well as she should, that worry was justified and thankfully I eventually found doctors who could help me get her back on track. Some worry can help you prepare mentally for the idea that stuff may not go perfectly. But since when has any part of life gone perfectly? I don't know anyone with a "perfect" life once you get below the surface. If you do I'd love to meet them. I do know a ton of families that have happily imperfect lives and love each other and the world right through the hard times.

In the end I feel like we have to let go and have faith that we will be able to handle whatever happens. Sometimes this is really hard. Sometimes talking, praying and meditation are the only things that can get us through when life gets overwhelming. Sometimes even those may not seem to be enough, but if you keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing your best to get through whatever it is you will reach the other end (wherever that end may be). I understand how pregnancy and motherhood bring out the worry. I worry every day that I might not be doing the best for A, for this little one, for my family. But if I spend too much time worrying I won't have time to do my best for them. And in the end, that's all that really matters. As Anne in Anne of Green Gables used to say "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet."


  1. You mentioned toddlers, so I guess this isn't all first time mamas, but I know that when I was pregnant with Cecilia, I worried about everything. I was so worried about something going wrong. I had been waiting a long, tong time to have a baby and I was just scared to jeopardize her in any way.

  2. I had to wait a long time too and coming after a loss I definitely had a certain level of background worry. Every time I heard the heartbeat or had a good ultrasound and later every kick and movement made life so much better. I honestly didn't care if A was kicking me in the stomach 2 minutes after I ate a big meal because it meant that she was okay in there (though I would complain for the sake of complaining). As I said, some worry is normal, healthy and even helpful. This pregnancy I know more than I did about what is and is not normal than I did with A, which is really nice, but that doesn't stop the worry totally. What bothers me is the idea that pregnant women are somehow supposed to worry about everything. That everything could be harmful. The saddest thing is to see the threads about women worrying that they will harm their unborn child because they are worrying too much...Pregnancy is a magical time that you get to share with your baby, it saddens me that the worry is dimming that joy for so many. It also reminds me of how worried I was of getting it "wrong" when A was little. I had no clue what I was doing and all the "experts" tended to just give warnings of what not to do and many of these warnings conflicted. Thank goodness for the midwives and nurses I dealt with when A. was born, for Centering and for Mom/Baby which gave me the help and courage I needed to be a good mom. Now, looking back, the mentality that leads to this makes me sad. Why can't we tell women that they should be healthy and ask their doctor/midwife if they are worried about something? Why can't we trust our moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends to help us learn to parent?