- 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.