Being pregnant is full of wonderful moments: that test result moment, that first ultrasound moment, that first kick moment. But there’s also plenty of time when it can be just about awful. I had terrible morning sickness, for instance, in my first trimester, and I’ve had some awful back pain this month (my seventh). Then there are hormones going crazy, body image issues, and constant tiredness, among other things.
For all the illness and discomfort, though, the thing that has been hardest for me during the whole miraculous process has been the worrying. There’s the long-term worrying (will I be a good mother? will my baby love me? will I be able to provide a good life for him?), and there’s short-term worrying (am I eating the right things? am I exercising enough? should I be listening to classical music to make him a genius?).
This, all other issues aside, is as stressful and tiring as anything else going on. Recently, as I really hit the ground running (or waddling) in the third trimester, I’ve been worrying about the birth which seems both forever away and absolutely almost here.
Those worries can be anything from tweaking again (for the fifth or sixth time) my birth plan, or they can be a lot darker and scarier.
I have to confess, I’ve spent more time than I should have researching everything that can go wrong. I’ve scared myself into insomnia over birth defect photos and birth defect stories. While they did screen me for all the genetic stuff, there’s still so much that can go wrong.
My most recent nightmare isn’t genetic at all, it’s about mistakes. Now, I’m worrying about birth injuries, which can happen in the process of delivering. Some of those are natural, some are due to mistakes by doctors or nurses, but they’re all absolutely horrifying.
It’s a difficult thing to have such thoughts and to finally just tell yourself there’s nothing you can do, and you just have to pray nothing goes wrong. There’s nothing you can do to prepare for what’s ahead. For fetal health, I can be careful; I can take my vitamins, I can exercise and eat right and keep my stress levels as low as possible. But when it comes to things like birth injuries…you just have to trust in God.
Perhaps that’s a good lesson for what is ahead in parenthood. Not every situation can be controlled. I know my little guy will get hurt. He’ll fall, he’ll scrape his knees. He’ll bang his head into something and come crying to me with a black eye. I absolutely won’t be able to stop it all from happening. Just like now, I’ll have to hope and pray he’s careful and safe sometimes, and I’ll have to just be ready for anything.
It’s a scary thought, but I suppose now it’s one I really need to get used to.