Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.
–from Sing You Home, by Jodi Picoult
I suspect this is relatively normal, but in the past few days, I’ve started to feel overwhelmed by anxiety. Assuming I go full term, which is never a guarantee, I have less than 14 weeks left in my pregnancy. Some of my anxiety is about what’s left to be done – finding daycare is the big one – some of it’s about thinking I should be doing things more/differently/better, some of it’s about labor and delivery, and some of it’s about what comes after. All of it is fucking with my head.
I’ve been having trouble concentrating at work for the past several days. Pre-pregnancy, when my anxiety started affecting me that severely, I’d pop an Ativan to get me through – maybe once a month, if that. Ativan is contraindicated for pregnancy, though, and while a single 10mg pill probably wouldn’t make a difference or cause a problem, I just can’t do it. So I’m stuck trying to use relaxation techniques and whatever the fuck people did before drugs. And I hate it. So now I’m writing about it in the hopes that it will help.
Daycare here is a nightmare. I started looking at 12 weeks – so, in May for care to start late next February – and it was already too late. We want the baby in the city with us during the day for a lot of reasons, but everywhere has waiting lists that are at least 12 or 18 months long. It’s ridiculous and I know we’re going to have to come up with an alternate plan, but that plan doesn’t exist right now. I seem to be sort of counting on the fact that my life has largely been charmed and things just seem to work themselves out. That is a terrible plan.
One of the ways I’ve been dealing with lower levels of anxiety throughout my pregnancy is by buying books. I have What To Expect, The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy, two books on natural birth, two books on breastfeeding, and The Birth Partner, which David is reading. I feel like learning all I can is the only way to feel in control. We’re also going to take a birthing class, like Lamaze, and three prenatal classes my insurance company offers – one each on labor/delivery, breastfeeding, and infant care. I’m way more informed about things than a lot of moms-to-be that I encounter online, and yet I often feel like there’s still so much I don’t know. Maybe I just need to accept that I can’t learn it all, I don’t know, but for a booksmart nerd like me, that’s really hard.
One of the biggest things is worrying about all the things that can go wrong. This is everything from the ridiculous – How do I know this parking garage isn’t going to collapse and bury me in the rubble? What if my house is built on a sinkhole? – to the actually possible – What if I fall on my belly? What if I end up with severe postpartum depression, and worse, what if no one notices and I hurt the baby? I double and triple check before crossing the street, I won’t eat cold lunchmeat or soft cheeses, I don’t walk under scaffolding if I can help it. Some of that’s reasonable, sure, but my brain is starting to have trouble distinguishing the things that aren’t. Maybe it’s time to check back in with my counselor.
I don’t have a good ending for this post, no tidy way to sum everything up. I guess I’m just putting it all out there so that it’s out there, out of my head. Maybe even just doing that will help. Thanks for listening.