After 2 losses, I've accepted the fact that I will never be a normal pregnant person again. I will never be naive and feel protected, I will never get my pregnancy innocence back and I will always carry my two angels in my heart.
But lately, something in me has shifted. I'm 22 weeks pregnant and I've been feeling a strong desire to try to be normal. I want more than anything to be able to enjoy this experience like I did with Joe. I feel this little girl kicking constantly now and I have a ton of good test results and hi-risk ultra sounds under my belt. (Technically I'm not even considered hi-risk, but my amazing doctor is treating me as such for my own peace of mind.) I can't keep trying to detach myself as a way to protect myself.
It almost feels like my head and my heart are constantly battling each other. My head is telling me to relax and enjoy, life is too short to hold on to the past. But my heart, well, it likes to remind me of how it feels to get the rug ripped out from under my feet.
I looked back through old pictures of my first pregnancy with Joe. By my halfway mark, I had already announced our pregnancy to Facebook and posted 2 bump pictures to Instagram. I had already announced at work and met with HR to map out my maternity leave. I had already created a "nursery ideas" board on Pinterest and had a ton of images pinned. And then it hit me... I haven't done any of that yet. And while it's probably to be expected after what I've gone through, it actually made me feel really sad.
So to combat this internal struggle, I started to do something that may sound silly to most but has actually helped me a lot: I started pretending to be a normal pregnant mom. I still have all the complicated emotions and the imaginary caution tape wrapped around my belly, but I've been trying to go about my day as if they aren't there. I like to ask myself, "What would a regular, naive, never-experienced-loss kind of mom be doing right now?" And then I try to do that.
I finally stopped hiding in oversized tent-dresses at work and started wearing cute maternity outfits that show off my belly. I hung 2 pictures from our 20 week ultra sound next to my other desk pictures and like to look at them throughout the day to remind myself how far I've come. I haven't made an official announcement or anything (and still don't want to or plan to), but I think it's obvious to my coworkers now that I'm pregnant. I feel like I'm finally coming out of hiding, both mentally and physically.
I decided to order some new maternity clothes for myself. I still find it hard to walk through the maternity section at the store, so I decided to order online instead. I found some really cute dresses on ASOS Maternity and despite my anxiety, I forced myself to hit "purchase." (Now to most people, buying maternity clothes would be the logical thing for a pregnant woman to do at a certain point of pregnancy, but most people haven't had to return those maternity clothes because their baby died before they had a chance to wear them.) It was a difficult milestone, but I conquered it.
Always acknowledge and celebrate the little victories.
Last week, though, I think I conquered the biggest emotional hurdle thus far -- I secured our daughter a spot on the wait list at our daycare. For some reason, that just felt really real. And even though I cried in my car afterward, I still powered through and did it because I'm just a normal mom preparing for the future.
They say to hope for the best and plan for the worst. But with sub-pregnancy, I think it should be the opposite. You have to force yourself to plan for the best and hope the worst doesn't happen. I'm going to keep preparing for this little girl's arrival and keep pretending that I'm just another normal pregnant mom, because I'm finding that the more I fake it, the more I'm starting to believe it.