It took over 1,000 days for my husband and me to see a positive pregnancy test (also known as a “BFP” – Big Fat Positive). That’s 3 years, 2 rounds of IVF, 1 frozen embryo transfer and dozens of blood work, medications, and ultrasounds just to see two pink lines. And now that I’m here? It feels weird.
Don’t get me wrong, I am SO not complaining. As someone who struggled for years, I know that there is nothing worse than a pregnant woman who acts like a complete martyr about it. So I’ll preface this by saying these are NOT complaints. I am very grateful for my BFP and I recognize that while it took us three years to get here, it oftentimes takes much longer and many more rounds of fertility treatments.
That said, I was surprised by a lot of the feelings that appeared after we got our happy, long-awaited news. Here are some of the most shocking and unexpected feelings I experienced after learning that I was in fact (whispers) pregnant.
- Nothing is different, even though everything is different. For some naïve reason, I expected my whole attitude to change as soon as the progesterone and estrogen started coursing through my body. No more would I be the neurotic wannabe mama who obsessed over temperature tracking and pomegranate juice…NO…I was going to be a hippie earth mama who cut out all refined sugar and gluten for her ever-growing embryo…barefoot in a meadow with a flower crown. NOPE. I’m just as neurotic and anxious as I’ve ever been. I am the exact same person, except that perhaps now I’m MORE neurotic because it feels as though there is something to lose. Every symptom I feel, I worry. Every time I don’t feel a symptom at all, I worry. My life is one long endless stream of independent worries. Same as when I was going through IVF…
- I’m still jealous. I innocently thought that once I got pregnant that my fertility-related emotional triggers would be less intense—pregnancy announcements, baby shower invites and the ever-offensive baby bumps (get your stomach and floral print dresses away from me). I assumed that once you got your BFP, you fell into a state of “pregnesia” – amnesia about your infertility. That life would be like one Free People meets Land of Nod catalog and everything would be magical. Not so. I’m just as easily triggered by others’ pregnancy announcements, baby bumps and ultrasound photos. I’m just as jealous. I’m just as bratty and insufferable. And while I try really hard to just focus on my own story and be grateful for my own future, I still find it hard not to resent others who didn’t struggle. Who were pregnant with “whoopsie” babies. The trauma and fear of infertility doesn’t just evaporate…it’s always there. It’s always part of your story (for better and for worse, too).
- I don’t belong. When I was TTC, I knew who my tribe was. My tribe was other women who were trying to conceive…others struggling with infertility and grief and loss. With them, I felt like I could be myself. I could vent and cry and rant and rave….but now I’ve been kicked out of the TTC club…which would maybeee be ok if I felt like I actually belonged in the pregnancy club. But that doesn’t feel right either. There’s too much damn joy in those groups – too much talk about baby slings and names and pediatricians. And I’m just not there yet. It feels like I have one foot in infertility world and one foot in mom world and I don’t really belong in either. I belong in the “Technically Pregnant But Who Knows for How Long Oh and Also I’m Terrified Out of My Freaking Mind” world…but there aren’t a lot of FB groups with that name.
- I’m scared to talk about it. I assumed that if I ever got pregnant, I wouldn’t be able to shut up – I’d want to scream from the rooftops, “I’M PREGNANTTTTT! POUR ICE CREAM DOWN MY THROAT!!!!” Instead, I’ve noticed that sharing the news gives me severe anxiety. Even the word “pregnant” feels like one giant jinx. Like saying “Beetlejuice” or “Voldemort.” I’m so scared that by sharing the news, that everything becomes real. And when everything becomes real, then there’s a chance of losing it all.
- I’m annoyed when “friends” who weren’t really there for me during infertility now want to dish about breastfeeding and bibs. I remember every single person who was there for me when I was a depressed, anxious infertile person. When I was stressed and scared and would spontaneously cry at inappropriate places. I remember the friends who got me cards or remembered important medical dates or asked me how I was. I also remember the people who conveniently disappeared from my life when things got emotional and messy. Funnily enough, many of the people who couldn’t be there for me when shit was REAL now want to give me advice about baby registries and natural morning sickness remedies…well this is incredibly not cool. Call me petty. Call me small. I’m both of those things! But the people who weren’t there for me don’t just get to swoop in for the swaddling portion of my regularly scheduled life. Nope.
I guess I’m still just getting used to this new phase. I’ve been trapped in the anxious, expensive, insane phase of trying to conceive for so long, that it’s hard to break my mental habits.
But I want to. I want to relax and try to at least enjoy some of this ride; after all, this might be our only child. This might be my only pregnancy. And I hate the idea of just obsessing and stressing and being bitter the whole time because I’m too lazy or damaged to push myself into feeling joy. This baby deserves joy. Brad and I deserve joy.
Good thing I have another 3 months to figure this thing out…