Monday, 21 October 2013

Deciphering depression Part 2 - It's ok to be happy and excited

One of the questions you’re constantly asked through pregnancy is “Is this your first baby?” I always say yes but everytime I do, I feel it chip away a little at my soul because of course, it isn’t. The sad thing is, I didn’t realise the impact this was having on me until my good friend pre-natal depression decided to visit.

As I mentioned in my previous post, depression turns your brain into a total mess. So you really have no idea what’s going on in there until something triggers it and it starts to unravel. I knew I hadn’t processed or grieved loosing Babs and I knew that answering that question made my heart hurt. I just didn’t realise the two were related.

It wasn’t until I was at the counsellor’s on Friday that it all clicked into place. I told her I hadn’t grieved over Babs and we spoke about the grieving process and what that entailed. I didn’t feel like we had really addressed it but thought I’d process it later and speak about it more at our next session. I then just happened to mention I felt bad when I had to say “Yes, this is my first child,” even though it wasn’t.

She said, “Tell me more about that.” I told her that on some level it was the truth – Sticky would be my first live baby so yes, she is the first. But on another level, I feel that answering the question like that doesn’t honour Peanut and Babs. I felt torn by the situation because it’s not like you can answer the question by saying the truth – “I’ve lost two babies but this is my third and I’m hoping she will arrive safely.” Especially given the majority of people are total strangers!  
What I didn’t realise was that everytime I answered the question, I added another centimetre or 2 to my growing guilt mound. It was slowly but surely becoming Mt Everest. I find guilt to be my most sneakiest emotion. It hides itself from me so well that it takes so much digging to find it lurking in the very recess of my mind. Like the big scary bogeyman that sits in the very back corner of the closet.
She suggested doing a relaxation exercise to find out what was really happening behind the guilt. I felt anxious about it but because I knew there was so much pain there, but also knew I needed to uncover it to move on – so I sucked it up and decided I would cope with whatever came out.

Basically, what unfolded is I’ve created this situation by hanging onto what “should have” been, instead of accepting what “is” and what “will be.” When I think about Sticky being born, I think there “should be” two of them, not one. But that’s wrong – there should be one and that’s Sticky. People will process things in their own way but personally, I’ve always been a believer in whatever is meant to be. So I was having enormous trouble accepting and believing that Peanut and Babs were never meant to be here. As a result, I couldn’t accept that Sticky was meant to be here but for the first time, I realised she is.

I feel such pain for Sticky that her sister won’t be coming with her, but I realised her and Babs had the exact relationship they were meant to. Babs was with her and supported her for as long as she needed and left when she was meant to. In my trance-like state, I heard Sticky tell me she hugged Babs goodbye and she was totally fine with her going. I also heard Peanut and Babs tell me they had their time and did the job they knew they were meant to do. Now, it was time for me to know they were all happy and well and it’s ok for me to be happy and excited about Sticky arriving.

And there it was – it’s ok to be happy and excited. I realised the other part of being asked “Is this your first?” is the response you always get when you say yes – “You must be so excited.” Not once have  I thought “yes, I am”. I’m 26 weeks pregnant today and I’ve not felt excited once about this pregnancy. Happy? – yes, on occasion, but mostly scared, anxious, paranoid, impatient and on edge. I’ve never once used the word “excited” to describe how I feel. It’s never been an emotion I’ve been prepared to let in.

But, in that moment, I had my 3 children all tell me at once – “Be happy and excited Mum because it’s going to happen and you deserve to be.” I only have 12 weeks to go, so yes, it would be nice if I can feel excited for at least some part of my pregnancy. Now, I just face the challenge of letting myself feel that. There are some obstacles which I’ll save for tomorrow’s post, but for now, for the first time in this pregnancy, I do accept that Sticky is meant to be here and she will. That’s a major win for me – to start letting go of some of the fear, anxiety, paranoia and impatience. For the first time ever, I took a deep breath and sighed in total acceptance that my daughter will be here in 12 weeks time. It felt really good!    

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