As I sit here, watching it snow…again, I feel the urge to write about something that’s been in my heart for quite some time. I’ve pushed the bounds of self-disclosure here before, and I’m certain that there are people who might read my little piece of the blog-o-sphere and think I share too much, but I take a confessional view toward life. My life has been changed, my faith strengthened, by hearing the stories of others struggling and how God has helped them. So I share my heart, knowing I risk the loss of my pride (which is an illusion to begin with).
At any given time, I have two competing feelings inside me. (1) I want a baby. Now. (2) I am terrified of having a baby. There, I said it. Everyone who knows me, knows I want to have a baby. It’s been nearly a year since we lost Michael, and I haven’t been pregnant again. I thought for certain, in my arrogance, that I would be pregnant by fall. Then by Christmas. Now, I’m just hoping that maybe I’ll get pregnant sometime this year.
But what most people who know me don’t know is that I am 100% terrified of being pregnant and having a baby. Well, maybe 90%. When I was pregnant last year, my first thought after reading the test was, “What? How?” followed closely by “Oh.My.God. I don’t know if I can do this.” It was only after about an hour or so of internally freaking out on a Chicago city bus that I felt happy. Then I felt excited, elated. Then I felt terrified again.
Anytime I have thought of being pregnant since then, I have felt this overwhelming sense of fear, mixed with a smaller amount of happiness.
At first I thought that my feelings of fear and panic about being pregnant (or even thinking I might be pregnant) stemmed from losing Michael. That was such a traumatic experience for me, that of course, if I thought I was pregnant again, I would feel afraid of losing that baby too. The more I think about it, the more I doubt this. Losing Michael was a very traumatic experience for me, maybe even more than Atticus understands. I know that some of you who have miscarried understand what I mean.
But I was terrified of being pregnant and having a baby before I ever miscarried; during those weeks when I assumed that everything in this pregnancy would be fine. Before. I was the walking definition of ‘ignorance is bliss’ during those weeks.
My fear has to come from somewhere else, though I’m sure having miscarried has exacerbated it.
Last night, I was sitting in Adoration and Jesus hit me with the truth about my fear (no, not literally!), but He knows I need it sometimes. I think my fear comes from two places:
(1) I have a chronic illness (diabetes) that makes any pregnancy I have a high-risk one.(2) My mother had a chronic illness (kidney disease), conceived me, had a high-risk pregnancy, and died seven years later.
Now, I am not saying I think I killed my mother or any such thing. There are plenty of women who have high-risk pregnancies and go on to have another, or just to have happy, long lives.
What I am saying is that I am haunted by her specter. I am haunted by the specter of having a pregnancy that might take such a toll on my body that it could shorten my life. I am frightened of passing on my genetic faults (diabetes and PCOS) to any future child (especially a daughter).
I am terrified of what being pregnant might do to my body. And I am not talking stretch marks here. For one thing, I would have to go off Metformin and onto two different types of Insulin (five injections daily). Blood sugar must be monitored with Nazi-like precision. Diabetic women who get pregnant have increased risk of kidney problems (tell that to the daughter of a woman who died from kidney disease), blindness, and advanced gum disease.
Despite all this, I’m not saying I don’t ever want to be pregnant. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be worth all these risks just to bring a child into the world. I am saying that it terrifies me because my mother died young, so I know that it is possible. And I know that being pregnant could put my health in a precarious position.
I also wonder how I could ever really love a child. Being a parent is such an awesome responsibility, how could I ever really live up to it? I am too demanding, too rigid. I get frustrated easily, I am often very spiritually lazy. How can I bring a child to Christ when I often feel like I have a hard enough time finding Him myself?
My deepest fear is that God knows these things, knows that my fears are not unfounded, and that is why I haven’t gotten pregnant.
All of this doubt crowds my mind. Then I catch the eye of a little one in Church, and he smiles at me, and the desire for a baby is so thick in my heart you could cut it with a knife.
I don’t have any resolution here, really. I guess I don’t need to. Maybe it’s enough just to put it out here; maybe that’s the first step in confronting the fear.
Have you ever wanted something, but was terrified to have it? Did you overcome your fear? How?