1. Not being "in love" with being pregnant is OK
Here we are, 38 weeks pregnant and not fully sure how I made it. But non-the-less I am here. Having a definite phobia of pregnancy starting from a young age. I really was unsure if I would actually ever be able to get through it.
I have talked a ton about my past experiences on the topic of pregnancy (checkout instagram and past blog posts for more). However, in this last post in my pregnancy series, I would like to discuss my current pregnancy. The ups and downs I have come in contact with. And how to move through the fear of pregnancy (AKA Tokophobia).
2. The Panic Attacks are OK
It was October 2018 when I missed my period and knew right away that I was pregnant. After a month of wondering why I was drinking dirty martinis every night, the answer came, right on a little stick that I made Drew read. POSITIVE.
Unlike the movies; after I found out I was pregnant I had about 2 months of pure panic and anxiety running through my veins. That's right everyone, I DIDN'T automatically love the cells growing inside me, I didn't start planning out the nursery, and I definitely didn't care about its sex or what I was going to name it.
I had panic attacks, I had anxiety attacks, however this time I had Drew. I say this with pure certainty; he was the only reason I got through those first months. The only person that I could have done this with. He sat with me, validated me, and breathed with me. Never judging the feelings I had. He helped me move through my fears by meeting me where I was.
3. Knowing You Need Support is OK
I knew I needed support to get through this pregnancy, so I made sure to reach out to good friends, schedule regular appointments with my therapist/coach and held tight to Drew and my Mom to help me navigate the day to day.
And after a few months, the panic stopped and I actually started to be Ok with the idea of having a child. Now don't get me wrong, I still wouldn't call it excitement, but at least it wasn't panic. At least I could say out loud that I was pregnant without crying or hyperventilating. Which was awesome progress in my eyes.
4. Telling People is OK
I hit 16 weeks in December 2018. I decided instead of calling people or posting the usual facebook announcement, I would send out a personally designed holiday card to my close family and friends. I actually felt better after sending the cards out and sharing my news.
For me telling people was extremely venerable, because I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about the whole thing yet. I didn't want people smothering me with congrats and excitement if I couldn't feel the same way. However, telling more people actually made it more real for me, their excitement help me experience a different level to my pregnancy. I started to feel the massive amount of love and support around us, which in turn made me feel more at ease with moving forward.
Here is the fun baby announcement I sent out for the holidays! Thanks iPad Pro!
5. Not feeling connected to the child is OK
As I stated before, I reached out to my therapist who has known me sense I was 21. If you don't already have one, I highly recommend having a coach or therapist that knows you. Someone that you can reach out to though-out life for support and guidance. It is invaluable to have someone that knows your entire story and can help guide you on your journey in times of uncertainty or change.
This whole pregnancy I have NOT felt extremely connected to the "embryo, fetus, child" growing inside me. I see everyone else that is pregnant talking about how much they can't wait for "insert childs name" to arrive. They are all so excited for gender reveals, showers, and feeling the baby move inside them. For me and I am sure for many woman, this was not the case. Thank goodness for therapy and knowing it was ok to feel this way.
I mean if we are being honest (which I always am), this child inside me I don't even know. And it's ok to not get attached to some one you don't know!
I always talk about "growing in love", and being pregnant has been no different. I realized that the reason I didn't feel connected to this child wasn't because "I never would" or "because I am a horrible person". It is because I have to grow in love with it. Just like everyone else in my life that I have grown to love.
This child hasn't taken a breath, it doesn't have a name or a social security number, I don't know what it looks like, who it will become, or even the gender. In my eyes, how could I be super connected with this child yet.
Who knows, I may feel different once we meet. Maybe I will feel instantly in love like everyone talks about. Or maybe it will take time. But knowing that whatever I feel is OK, is the only way I am able to get through this journey.
Whether you are excited to become pregnant or panicked. Whether you are connected to the child growing inside you or not. Whether you feel scared, full of instant love, worried, or even nothing at all.
IT'S ALL OK. IT'S ALL VALID. IT'S ALL THE RIGHT WAY TO FEEL.
Because it is your truth. And honoring your truth is the only way to move through anything in this life.
If you are struggling with Tokophobia and looking for support, please connect me.
I know first hand the panic and fear being pregnant can bring some woman. We can move through it together. Step by step, breath by breath.
Wishing you all a peaceful journey.