Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fearful. In addition to being fearful, I’ve been really good at worrying. Ever read the Peanuts Classic, My Anxieties Have Anxieties? Yeah. That’s me. A psychologist once told me that I have catastrophic thinking. I’d say that he was pretty accurate in telling me that. I lie awake at night wondering what the end of the world will be like and if the plane I hear outside is really the start of another world war. Every little ache or pain is definitely a tumour and this panic attack is 100% a heart attack and I am going to die. I could go on and on but I won’t.
This fear and anxiety affects all areas of my life, on a daily basis.
One thing I always knew for certain and to be honest, never really worried about, was having children. Some people know from a young age what they want to do when they grow up. Maybe they want to be a lawyer, a doctor or a musician. I wanted to be a mother. I never cared about a career. As long as I had a family, I’d be content.
Fast forward to a year into my marriage and I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS. Great! A real health condition that I can lie awake at night and worry about. I knew this would affect my fertility, but I was supposed to be a mother…surely nothing would stop that from happening. You know, it always happens to the next door neighbour, right? As time went on, we still were not getting pregnant. Until the summer of 2015 when we got pregnant and then miscarried. Our miscarriage was physically and emotionally traumatic.
It was an experience that I will never forget. The pain I was struck with as my body essentially rejected my baby is still fresh in my mind. My body was in labor, but there was no baby in the end that would help me immediately forget the pain. Instead, I was left with grief. A grief that will never go away. And more anxiety.
Can I tell you a secret? I am scared of getting pregnant again.
Like really, really scared. I’ve always been excited about pregnancy. From the moment we’d find out, to dreaming about taking cute baby bump photos, shopping for baby things, feeling the baby move and hearing the heartbeat the first time during an ultrasound. The only ultrasound I had while pregnant, did not include hearing my baby’s heartbeat and now I am afraid. Extremely afraid. Infertility and miscarriage has tainted the entire experience of getting pregnant.
I am so scared of the one thing I’ve always wanted with all my heart and I don’t know what to do because let’s face it, my biological clock is ticking, and don’t you dare tell me that I’m still young and I’ve got lots of time!
Even just the thought of finding out I’m pregnant causes me anxiety to the point where I’ve made sure it doesn’t happen. What if I miscarry again? Is it really worth it? Maybe we should just commit to being childless. Do I really want children? Sleeping in is pretty great and I really do want to travel. What would we do with everything in the spare room? I kinda like my freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I don’t really want to have kids. Plus, if we got pregnant, how could I possibly give birth. This is when my catastrophic thinking gets really catastrophic. Surely, I will not survive birth and the situation that I have completely made up in my head will definitely happen to me. The super rare thing that happened to my friend’s cousin’s friends’s sister is going to happen to me. Without a doubt. I definitely do not want kids. I’ll just give up my dream of being a mother and commit to becoming a professional wine taster. Or something. Oh, not to mention all my friends are having 1, 2, 3…4 kids and here I am living the childless life and even though I’m afraid of getting pregnant and giving birth…I am now left with a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Using these acronyms keep me young and trendy.
So many of my friends have powered through IUI, IVF, Embryo Adoption and sadly several miscarriages. They are so strong and brave and I admire them. I admire them because despite their fears and their pain, they have soldiered on to pursue their dreams.
Yet here I am, paralyzed in fear of pursuing mine.
Yeah, I know. I need to get this anxiety under control (I’m working on it) but that’s not why I’m writing this. I blog about my infertility and loss because I hope that through sharing my story, others will know that they are not alone. This time, I feel alone. Most of my blogs end with some sort of uplifting, motivational phrase but this time, I’ve got nothing. I don’t know how to move past this fear and anxiety and I feel alone. So, this time I end my blog with a question for you. Can you relate? How did you move past fear and anxiety to pursue your dreams of having a baby? I can’t possibly be the only one, can I?
By Katie Jansen, warmwoollymittens.wordpress.com