Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The only thing we have to fear

"Just when you think you've sunk as far as it's possible to sink, there's always a lower place.  There's always something worse to be scared about."
- Holly Black, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

You know that Google commercial with the kid who looks up glossophobia?  I kind of love that commercial.  I love the framing of his leg jiggling up and down at his desk, I love the use of FDR's inaugural address, heck, I even like the music.  I think another reason I like it is because I used to be very afraid of public speaking, which is funny because I eventually became a litigator and you aren't allowed to be afraid of public speaking when you're a litigator.   

I've talked a lot in the last couple of weeks about being afraid, and that I'm having a hard time feeling happiness or joy in this pregnancy.  But I saw that commercial again.  And more importantly, I read Rach's (from A Little Bit More) beautiful post about how she has allowed her fear of failure, of miscarriage, of the unknown, to prevent her from pursuing her goal of having a child.  It got me thinking about how I was letting my fears rule me.

When my mother died I became paralyzingly terrified of my own death.  I've been told this is very normal.  In many ways our parents are what stand between us and our own mortality, and when they are gone, we realize we are that much closer.  With time and some therapy, I managed to get the fear under control.  When I called to make an appointment with the RE that first time over a year ago, I started crying on the phone with the scheduler, I was so scared.  Scared to find out what was wrong with us.  And once we knew, terrified that nothing would work.  Terrified that they would discover something new that was wrong with us after we started treatment.  Always, always something to be scared about.  But most of all - scared we would never be parents.  I usually just crushed those feelings down and did whatever I had to do next.

Maybe crushing the fear down isn't always healthy, but it kept me moving forward.  And the one thing I know would not have been healthy would have been if I had allowed my fear to paralyze me, to prevent me from plowing ahead.  FDR said in his inaugural address, the one where he says the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, that there was "no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously."  I have not been feeling very courageous lately.

Now I've reached the goal of becoming pregnant, but there's still fear.  

There's always something worse to be scared about.  I like to pretend that if I make it to 12 weeks that I will suddenly not be afraid anymore, but we've all read the stories of women in our community who lost pregnancies in the second and third trimester.  And then there are the stories of people who lose their infants, or their toddlers, or their teenagers.  There will always be something more to be scared about.  But I can't allow that to dictate how I feel, and I can't allow it to take over my brain.

I wasn't allowing myself to feel happy or attached to this bun.  I was fixating on my symptoms, and whether they were worse or better and what that could possibly mean.  I discovered that some cheese I ate a couple of weeks ago was probably raw milk cheese and I spent a day obsessing over whether I was going to come down with listeriosis.  And when I wasn't worrying about that stuff, I was worried about screening tests and I was worried about incompetent cervix, and I was worried about premature rupture of membranes.  And I wasn't allowing myself to feel okay, or confident, or any other positive emotion because clearly that would jinx the whole thing, right?  I wasn't allowing myself to read certain sections of the pregnancy book because that would be getting ahead of myself.  As if reading those sections would make it worse if I had a miscarriage at this point.  As if by not reading those sections, I was going to feel okay if I do have a miscarriage.

There are many eloquent quotes on courage and bravery that all basically boil down to the same point.  People who are brave or courageous are not people who are without fear.  They are people who feel fear, and who see what lies ahead - both disaster and success - and they go out to face it nonetheless.  The IF community is filled with a lot of very brave people.  I need to take a page out of their playbook.  I am a fearful person, and that is okay.  There are many things to be scared about.  But I'm no longer going to allow that fear to steal my time and joy.

12 comments:

  1. Oh thank you so much for your kind words about my post. It took a lot of thinking, and a lot of writing to come up with it...it's such a deeply personal thing that I really struggled to put it into words to come across correctly.

    Fear is a huge monster. It really is. Once I realize I was afraid and that was ok, everything became OK. "Yes, I'm afraid." Ok, cleared that up. "No, I won't let it stop me." Ok, sounds good. (Not that I don't still have fear, I do, I just try to work with it and not against it) The reality is when spend all this time worrying about what MIGHT happen, and forget to enjoy what IS happening. Yes, a positive pregnancy test does not mean a healthy baby, but for right now - this little sliver in time - everything is ok. So you can breathe a sigh of relief because it IS ok. Enjoy that moment where everything is ok. I think if you keep going ahead, just enjoying the moments, it will all string together to create a beautiful memory of your pregnancy.

    And, should something dreadful happen (I pray it does not), let yourself worry about that at that time. Until then, just focus on enjoying this pregnancy that you worked so hard to attain.You deserve to enjoy it!

    I know it's easier said than done. (Hugs!!)

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    1. Yes, it's definitely easier said than done. I struggle with it every day. But as you said - no point in worrying about the bad stuff until it actually happens.

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  2. Brava, darling. I am going to need to reread this when the time comes. Be courageous. Enjoy this. Nothing will prevent disaster anyway so you may as well live like it can't touch you. Well. Within reason. No BASE jumping please :)

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    1. Your time IS coming. And I look forward to reminding you of all this when that happens. Don't worry - no base jumping. I had a dream last night that I was mountain climbing and it was terrifying.

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    2. You are the sweetest! I think my shot is coming tomorrow so I should be okay this month, but if I need a shot for December I will definitely take you up on that. I will even come down and get it myself and buy you... Decaf tea? Cocoa? A burrito?! :) My email is the2ndbedroom at gmail.. You should email me sometime and we can meet up next time I'm down that way!

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    3. Yay! Done and done. I would love for the ovidrel to be put to good use. And I love cocoa! And burritos!

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  3. The fear doesn't end, not with a bfp, not with 12 weeks, not even with a baby's safe birth. Parenting IS fear, always the fear of what could happen. But as you said, it's not letting the fear paralyze us that is the most important thing. And the fear is most definitely worth it.

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    1. Absolutely - as I think most women in IF land would agree - the fear, all of the negative emotions, the sadness - everything will be worth it in the end.

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  4. This is beautiful. I don't know how to properly convey how much I love this post. Sometimes we let fear get in the way and cloud all the good that surrounds us. Im so scared of moving forward sometimes I get stuck in the same position. I hope that you can move past your fears and into a place where the fear is still there - it is inevitable to have some after all- but still be able to feel the joy and happiness of it all. Thank you for sharing this. I think a lot of us need it.

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    1. Awww, thank you, Kasey. I'm working, I have to actively work, at not letting the fear and anxiety take over. Earlier today my symptoms were very mild and I started to feel that fear again. I recognized it and then put it aside. And of course my symptoms came roaring back later. But it's a daily exercise in mindfulness not to get eaten by the fear.

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  5. Fear is the WORST. I just finished reading Goblet of Fire and when I read this quote by Hagid it made me think of you. "No good sittin' worryin' abou' it," he said. "What's comin' will come, an' we'll meet it when it does."

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    1. LOVE that quote, Marcy. Thanks for sharing it - so apropos right now and I will think of it when I start to feel scared.

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