Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm a Work in Progress

Early this morning, I read a blog post from my friend, Sarah. She was talking about her “spare room” and the longing she has to turn it into a nursery. Her words really resonated with me. I, too, have a spare room. It started about 7 years ago when I insisted we rent a 2 bedroom apartment, so we would have room for a baby. When we bought our house nearly 5 years ago, it had 3 bedrooms. We made one our bedroom, one a music room and threw everything else we didn’t know what to do with into the 3rd bedroom. We even called it the “3rd bedroom”.

As the years went by, I began to wonder if it would always be just the “3rd bedroom”. Part of me wanted to change it into something else, but the other part couldn’t bear to do it. So it just sat.

When I became pregnant this time around, I told Ryan I was going to jump in right away and get to work on that room. But I haven’t. Because there is so much to buy, I thought I would start making purchases immediately. But I haven’t. I am 5 ½ months pregnant and I haven’t even begun to clean out the bedroom closet. I’ve bought one thing for the nursery (the baby monitor). That’s it. I’ve had the time and energy to do it. But I haven’t.

I kept giving myself deadlines… I’ll start cleaning when the morning sickness is better. I’ll buy something with my next paycheck. When I find out the gender. When I confirm the gender. When Ryan and I have days off together. New deadlines I never meet.

Why is that? I am beyond excited. What is my problem then? After reading Sarah’s post today I realized… I’m scared. For so long I wondered if I would ever have a baby’s room. I stopped imagining what it would look like. I stopped thinking how I’d decorate it. I pushed it out of my mind and pretended that room didn’t exist.

Now that the time is here when I can finally create my child’s bedroom, I feel intimidated. Scared. Unrealistically afraid that in doing so, I will ‘jinx’ myself. If I let myself be too excited and carefree, it will hurt more if all of this is taken away. Every item I buy and every decoration I make would be one more reminder of what we’ve lost if we were to lose her.

I am starting to wonder if I need some help in dealing with these emotions. It’s like I have a mild form of PTSD or something. I have to make a concerted effort not to visualize the bad things that could happen. I won’t go into detail, but I would like this to get better.

Just writing it out has been helpful, as jumbled as this blog post may be. I think I need to face my anxiety, have some faith and jump in with both feet. It is a disservice to those 7 years of infertility, and all the other women still waiting, if I don’t enjoy this to the fullest. And my daughter deserves a mom who isn’t paralyzed by fear.

I took a big step and chose the colors for the room, and I have some ideas of what I’d like to do. My next goal is to clean out the closet within one week. Baby steps…


Tami said...

I totally can relate to your post. I think maybe it could be a mild form of PTSD...I mean when you think about how emotional those 7 years were to get to this point, I wouldn't doubt it had some effect on you mentally.
Especially losing one too. You are hit with the hard reality that it doesn't always work out perfectly. Maybe you will have to have help getting it started, ask someone, family, hubby, and start small and see how it makes you feel.
I still love reading your blog, I imagine what you feel is SO like how I will someday...but I also love what you said about not being paralyzed by fear. I often am. So its nice to know I am not the only one trying to overcome that! Good luck! :)

Carroll Berrett said...

Michelle I read your post and I can totally relate to your fear even though I have not been through even a tiny bit that you have had to face and I will never try to act like I understand, but I will tell you that I also had the same fears and anxiety because of what I have watched my friends face. I think they are totally normal, or at least they were for me. And for me I had them until the baby was here safe and sound. Remember that the baby will be in your room for the first little while, or if you are like me the first LONG while. So don't rush into anything that you are not ready for. You might want to do a little here and there and then see what she looks like and take her with you to pick out all the fun stuff after she is born. It would be a fun mother daughter thing. All you need is a place for her to sleep in your room, a monitor to hear her when you are not next to her and the rest you can get as you need it. Don't let the fear consume you, but don't feel like it is not normal! : ) But what do I know I am a worry wort! : )Love you

Sarah said...

Kinda tearing up here :) Im also afraid of that too. That once I get pregnant again and if I dive right into making it the perfect nursery that something awful will happen :( But then I also have another fear of being unprepared. So Ill probably be an absolute nutcase about it when the time comes. That's all you can do is take baby steps. Write out a list maybe. One thing a week. Like you mentioned after 7 years of heartache and all the girls out there still trying, maybe it would be fun and theraputic for you to make that list. Then label each item with something or someone to honor it. Like 1) A crib (in honor of "Lisa's blog" 2) a changing table (in honor of Andie). Just an idea :) How's katelyns lil ticker? Did you go to that appt?

Luna said...

I think it was 2 posts ago that you titled "Just Relax." I think the reason, in part, it sounds so condescending is because the statement leaves a lot to be desired on the HOW!

All mother idealize and make weird little dreams and pictures in their head of what perfection is. I can only imagine what kinda of beautiful, yet completely unobtainable, masterpiece you may have painted in your head of what the perfect mother looks like and does. Could you be a tad bit afraid that you won't make that mark...... so why even try to start? I don't know, just another thought. I know I do it, not as a conscious thought, but it happens. Usually because I plan and research so much I miss the opportunity to actually do it. My love and energy gets wasted on the preparations instead of the actual joy of doing it.

Carroll is so right, you don't need to have it perfect before she comes. She won't even know she has anything outside of mommy and daddy for awhile. The most perfect thing you can do as a mom is love your children. Make sure they hear it and see it in your actions and your eyes.

I really like Sarah's idea as well. The only way to really "get over" a traumatic experience is to confront it and accept it as a part of your past. It is natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings, but avoiding them can make them worse. It also gets exhausting. You also don't want any thoughts of feeling to make relationships hard later. You never know when things will come up. Honestly, it might not hurt to go and talk to someone. The feelings and fears you are having may get more intense as time goes on. Those are things you don't want to have as you are giving birth. It isn't uncommon for women to have a lot of "old" emotions and traumas come-up during the birth time. It can be such a strong emotional and spiritual time. Not to mention when you become vulnerable during the postpartum time with another change of hormones and sleep deprivation.

I think what I wrote may have sounded really doom and gloom, it isn't. I am a firm believer in therapy and talking through anxiety, fears, and traumas. I have see first hand how much it can help..... and it is job security! Plus, you have mentioned in you blog multiple times how much it helped you in the past. It might be worth it.

RMCarter said...

Thanks everyone for your advice and comments. I really appreciate it. I just want to clarify that I am not afraid of motherhood, or not being perfect. I mean, I am nervous and unsure, but I don't expect myself to be perfect and, maybe I'm naive, but I think I will be okay at motherhood. I've got the desire, the gratitude and an endless supply of love, and that's enough to get started. I totally expect to make mistakes and have moments of failure, perhaps many moments! Even so, I feel as prepared as I've ever been. So, it's not a worry about needing perfection at this point (whether it be the nursery or motherhood in general). Maybe that will be a struggle sometime soon. The feelings I am dealing with now solely stem from the fear of losing my baby. That is what I need to work through. I actually have had the same fear and anxiety about losing my husband for years. Now it is affecting this new relationship too, and I want to get rid of it (or ease it at least). That's what I meant by "paralyzed with fear". Unable to fully enjoy motherhood out of fear that I might lose it. Thanks again for the suggestions. They were all very helpful. :)

A said...

i am feeling a little overwhelmed lately with all the "preparations" for baby. i mean, there seems like SO much to do, and pick out, and order, and buy/register for. every day i think i will get around to starting a registry or picking a time to go look at cribs, but it never happens....

Luna said...

I didn't mean for my post to sound so "perfectionisticly" oriented. (I made that word up, btw) I was just curious if that was part of it. Since it isn't, and you are solely afraid of losing this precious gift (not surprising since you have had concerns about the heartbeat, losing Andie, the possibly effect that could have Katelyn, Migraines, spotting, and that is just what i remember off the top of my head with this pregnancy) I still think it wouldn't be a bad thing to talk to someone.

If you had a friend who had PTSD wouldn't you make the same suggestion. Miscarriage can cause PTSD. It is a traumatic event. You have had 2. Combine that with the years of struggle and waiting to get to that point, well, you get the picture. I am not saying years of therapy. It might just be a 1 session thing. Therapy for PTSD can sometimes be very short. (Now, I do not know you have PTSD. I haven't heard you complain of any hyper-arousal symptoms like sleep disturbances, concentration difficulty, anger outbursts) Which is good! But there is some anxiety there, so it might be good to talk to someone.

RMCarter said...

I agree with you. I've been through the therapy process twice before, so I am open to that. I have already began considering different options. I'm not sure I'll go the therapy route, but I feel okay about it if that's what I decide to do.

Luna said...

glad to hear it. If it makes you feel any better, I am not too worried about you. I think you have such an amazing support network and you have great insight into yourself. Not to mention you have learned a lot about humbling yourself and turning to Heavenly Father. So just writing about it here and talking to Ryan about it may be enough. It sometimes just takes recognizing the problem.

Just for added benefit, and my new little magic pill, I have found that the Church's 12 step program can be very helpful. I have used it to help me to do better with scripture study. It really can be used in any area of your life you want to see change. Of course, some of the steps can be passed through quicker than others. But who doesn't need to admit a problem, turn it over to Heavenly Father, and ask for forgiveness in some area?

I also want to say that I love you and am constantly amazed by you! I know you are younger than me, but can I be you when I grow-up?