The Final Frontier!

May 2, 2015


I'm just 5 weeks from my due date! Though there's plenty of unknown around birth and parenting and future life, I'm feeling pretty ready to be done with this pregnancy gig. I write that with total reverence for the fact that many of my friends would bend over backwards to be pregnant, and with an awareness that it is a gift and a privilege in many ways. AND with gratitude that my body has supported and grown this baby like a pro-- holy crap, that's amazing. 

It's also been incredibly anxiety-inducing. I was feeling really confident about the work I'd done to minimize my anxiety: therapy, exercise, mantras! I've especially seen the results when it comes to art-making and work projects. I've been less filled with unhealthy amounts of responsibility; the stakes have felt less daunting; I've learned to give myself space to mess up (so liberating). But pregnancy has caused me to revert to many of those old fearful feelings and controlling impulses. I've felt so responsible; I've lost hours and days to an ever-evolving list of fears that would make you laugh (but which feel so real to me); I've then felt gobs of guilt for having the negative thoughts & fears in the first place (your unborn child, I've been told, senses everything). 

My first impulse was to try and figure out why I've been stuck in this anxiety spiral and to fix it - I love fixing! It turns out, though, that fixing and analysis is not what I've needed. It isn't about finding a magic vitamin and exercise routine. It's about what those meditator types call "noticing without judging." (Just seeing those words makes me a little bit confused-- noticing WITHOUT judging?) It's about being with the feeling, and not trying to change it, but being open to learning from it. It's about taking this as an opportunity to learn how to ask for lots of emotional support, and to remember that my body is a smarty pants-- it's not looking for an opportunity to betray me. Maybe this is the final frontier of my anxiety! Maybe this is all an opportunity to learn to find comfort in discomfort, which I'm sure I'll need to lean into as a parent. 

Final frontier/growth opportunities aside, this time has been really damn hard. What's been awesome, though, is that it's forced me to reach out to friends, ask for help, and open up about these challenges. This has never come easily to me. Even when I've experienced the really hard stuff-- Ben's addiction recovery, a miscarriage last year-- I mostly avoided talking to others about it. I realize now that this was actually a huge disservice to myself. If no one knows that you're suffering, how can they help? Yes, it's vulnerable. Yes, you  risk having people say incredibly awkward/inappropriate/unnecessary things. But usually? Usually you get empathy and support, and those magical words: me, too. Those words are priceless. Whatever it is that you're going through, rest assured that you're not the only one. Find the people that make you feel safe and keep them close. It makes a world of difference.

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