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The Fear


I don't know what's right and what's real anymore
I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear
'Cause I'm being taken over by the fear

We are one week off going into the third trimester with baby number two, and it is official the fear is now returning. I find when you’re pregnant the fear ebbs and flows through the 9 months. When you first find out you are pregnant, you are just aiming to get through those first 12 weeks, the fear is ever present on your mind. Every cramp, twinge and symptom is scrutinized and the worry of miscarriage is rife. Until you see the baby on your scan, you cannot relax that something may be wrong. The scan gives you some reassurance then after a few more weeks the fear dissolves slowly as you enter the second trimester. Then something magical happens and as it the baby knows you are worried they begin to signal to you all is well or in my case, kick the crap out of my insides but it is reassuring. Then there may be a day they are slightly quieter or they decide to switch up their daily routine and throw you right back into the fear. Being a high-risk pregnancy we have had a few more scans than normal including two anomaly scans and I have been told all is well. But, there is a doubt in mind that I was told this with Elijah and something was wrong. Yes, they were not looking for a problem with him as they were with this baby but the creeping doubt is always lingering somewhere in the back of my mind. If it can happen once it can happen again. Up until last week I was feeling okay, positive about the birth and that I would go in and own this delivery. Now, entering the final 13 weeks, I am crapping my giant maternity pants about giving birth again.

I guess, it isn’t the pain of birth, but more if something goes wrong. With me or the baby. When Elijah was born, I became something I didn’t plan for, or expect, a NICU Mum. I am worried this will happen again, but I am equally as worried that I may not be able to hack it as a ‘normal mum.' After all being a NICU Mum is all I have ever known how to be. The loss of control is terrifying and at the end of the day I don’t think there is much I can do that will change the outcome. What will be, will be and that is something that scares me. I have given birth before so I vaguely know what’s going to happen, I know what could go wrong (ish) and can prepare myself in some way for it. What I cannot prepare for is how my body will react t giving birth again, as although it gave me a beautiful little (well 8.12lb) baby boy it didn’t fare so well. I was very ill and stayed in for 7 days. In the back of my mind this time, I cannot really afford to do that as I have another child to get back too. I also know that I must make sure I take time to recover so I can be the best mum of two, I can be. Catch 22. I have been wondering if my body will be able to cope with breastfeeding as last time I could not. I wonder if Elijah will adapt to being a sibling, and cope with not having all my attention on him. Something he has been used to for nearly three years. I wonder whether we have got everything we need, and if being new-born parents will come back to us easily. I also wonder if we may all end up trying to kill each other through lack of sleep again. I wonder with me going on maternity leave soon if I will cope adjusting to being a full-time mum again, if I will feel lonely, if we will have enough money. Greg is a chef and works some unfriendly baby hours, can I hack it solo with two? I hope I can still make time to write after all this is what keeps me sane and I hope to be working on a book idea I have. It is the fear of the unknown. As a parent, I think you operate on 90% fear, are you doing a good job? Are you messing them up royally? Are they happy, healthy and well adjusted? Pregnancy fear really is just the beginning. Talking of fear, do not mention to Greg that we only have 13 weeks to go, although he of course knows this, he currently is like a deer in the headlights at the prospect of becoming a dad of two.

Another major fear is how my mental health will be after I have given birth. Last time, whether it was the circumstance, or just becoming a mum my mental health took a battering. It took me a very long time to admit there was something wrong and I hid a lot. First time round I am not sure you are really educated enough about the perils of PND, and PTSD to arm yourself with an arsenal of protection. Or just to recognise that what you are feeling is normal but you may need to acknowledge there is a problem and there is no shame in that. I felt abnormal, a rubbish mother and didn’t want to admit I felt like a failure especially to myself. This time round, yes, I think I will see the signs and act on them earlier but going back to the place I was in after Elijah was born scares me. If I did end up there again, I don’t know if I could come back again. I have been so honest on the blog before about what I was really going through, what I was really doing that I think Greg would notice. When I fully admitted that there was a problem and what I had been doing he was shocked and I had hidden it so well. So, far in the pregnancy I have been feeling okay mentally. As much as a hormone filled pregnant woman can feel. But, recently I have felt some old feelings reappear from the depths of where I thought I had left them.

Whether this is just because I am at that stage in the pregnancy now where things are getting quite real or I am doing what I do best and overthink, EVERYTHING. I have been feeling slightly off. Overwhelmed that in 13 short weeks I will be a mum of two. Something else is playing on my mind too, my weight gain. Now, I don’t think I have put too much on and yes, I haven’t been eating the healthiest I could have been (I ate pizza for breakfast the other day). However, last Sunday I had a slight shock. I was walking Elijah through town and I spotted myself in a shop window. Now of course I have a large bump, after all I am 6 months pregnant. What I didn’t realise was how the pregnancy had affected my rear end! Dear lord, my bum cheeks were actually moving separately from one another! Was it the ill-fitting leggings? Perhaps, was it the box of Lindor chocolates I inhaled the night before, more than likely but that old self-conscious feeling came back as did my body instantly reacting in the way it used to when I had an eating disorder. That day, I noticed I didn’t eat junk, I was obsessing over the amount of weight I had put on. For 6 months, this hadn’t bothered me and I have laughed along with the jokes that I was becoming bigger and them not even penetrating the surface. That day something changed, I questioned Greg over and over and made him look at my bum from all angles, he wasn’t quite sure what to do, bless him. I know, deep down this does not matter. That I am in fact growing a life and as long as they are okay, it doesn’t matter what you look like. Those new-born days you tend to look like a bag of crap anyways. I would also never let myself get to the point where my eating disorder returned but the thoughts have been plaguing me. This then led to what I will look like after the baby is born. Your body becomes unrecognisable, I just hope I am strong enough to accept and handle this. Or hopefully be too bloody tired, to give a crap.

I think Lily Allen had it accurate in her song, The Fear. It is a perfect representation of how and what I am feeling now. This all just feels like one long ramble that came spewing out but I am glad it is that, out. I cannot remember really feeling like this with Elijah. There was so much I didn’t know, this is what I think has given me the apprehensions I have about the birth, mine and the baby’s health because I know it can go wrong. Hopefully, now I can focus on the positive, let go as much as I can of the fear and enjoy the rest of the pregnancy, fat ass and all.
13 weeks to go.
 

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