Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Not all rainbows and unicorns...

I'm finding myself in a weird place in terms of my relationship with the online IF and loss communities.

I've been recently following a message board that is women who are pregnant after loss. I have also been a regular reader of LFCA since someone submitted my blog after my first miscarriage. I joined the IF blogging community, as well as the aforementioned message board, in order to share with women who understand what I've gone through. To seek support and to help support others.

However, I've gotten to a point where my anxiety is getting in the way of the second half of that. I'm at a point where, whenever I read about someone else's loss (especially if it is at a point past where I currently am in my pregnancy) it causes a physical anxiety reaction. I've been trying to be really positive lately and remind myself that everything is going well and looks normal. To read about others' losses after what seems to be a normal pregnancy chips away at that (attempted) positivity. The other day, to take away the panicky feeling I had after reading another recent loss story, I made myself go to my facebook friends list and start counting friends who had healthy pregnancies and children. (I counted 100 by the time I got to the Js.)

On the message board I read, one woman suggested it was selfish for people to avoid the loss posts- that they would want the support if the situation was reversed so they should put aside their feelings and anxieties to support posters who have had a recent loss. All I can think is that this particular poster has never dealt with severe anxiety.

Let me tell you- everyone worries. Everyone gets anxious. But if you have never had ruminating anxiety- if you have never had a panic attack... you don't get it. I have had a number of comments on this blog saying "I wish I was in your position and had something to be anxious about." I certainly understand reading about someone's ART success and thinking "I wish I was where you are," even when they are complaining about morning sickness or back pain or uncomfortable nights. I feel so lucky to be fourteen weeks pregnant right now, and will readily push through whatever I need to with this anxiety to get to my baby. But I will tell you- you do NOT wish you had my experience. You may wish you were pregnant. And you may think you would gladly take the panic and anxiety to get there. But that tells me you've never had that level of anxiety.

Maybe that sounds contradictory. Maybe it pisses you off for me to say that. But there is no way I can make you understand what I am going through if you have never experienced it. I have learned through years of having an anxiety disorder that people who haven't been there don't get it. Just like I don't know what it's like for my sister who has fibromyalgia when she has a flare up. Just like I don't know what it's like for my mom who has asthma when she has an attack. I can not make you understand what it's like to be driving to my OB appointment in a full panic attack, convinced that somehow something has gone wrong and unable to control either my thoughts or my physical panic symptoms. I can not explain to you how it feels to have a constant worry in the back of my mind that something is going wrong. CONSTANT. I've had an anxiety disorder my whole life, and I don't even think I was prepared for what this would be like once I was in a continuing pregnancy.

I hope all of you have success. I hope you get to experience morning sickness and back pain and restlessness. Even anxiety if that's part of your process. But please don't minimize what these all entail for a pregnant woman, just because she's getting a baby at the end. It may all be worth it, but it doesn't mean it's easy when you're in the throes of it.


Anonymous said...

De-lurking to make a comment. When I was pregnant, I avoided all blogs/message boards dealing with loss. I don't know that my anxiety was at your level so I'm not trying to say that I fully understand (I don't want to minimize what you are going through), but that is what was necessary for me to be okay. In fact, I still don't like to read about it.

I hope this helps. I've been a long time reader of your blog, and I'm just so happy for you that you are expecting.

My Vegas said...

You should avoid the things that make you anxious. Message boards and there for those interested in sharing and reading. You are not there anymore. You need to take care of yourself and your little bean.
I am pretty confident that my pregnancy news caused some of my readers to stop reading my blog because it is too hard for them. I totally understand.
Be good to yourself, OK?

Keya said...

I agree with anonymous. I am scared to go on the first trimester section of a message board I visit, simply because the stories of loss make me anxious and afraid. I have reduced my blog reading as well, because everyone has a story of pain and loss, and I am so afraid it could happen to me. I am only 6 weeks, and I can think of endless things that can go wrong. The past two weeks after the positive test, I have lived in mortal fear. I can't remember ever being so terrified, when I should probably be happy and celebrating. And if I feel this way, I can't even imagine what you must be going through.

You are so right, no one else can understand your anxiety and what you must be going through. I hope you feel better soon and find peace.

Noelle said...

I completely agree.After my loss when I was pregnant, I had a real hard time reading about loss. Especially since my entire pregnancy really was horrible, and I have an anxiety disorder on top of that. Anyway, I say to do what you need to do.

I hate it when people try to give ass-vice when they haven't been there themselves. My baby is a micro-preemie, and my family has decided that they are now the experts in micro-preemies. So I am not accepting any advice from someone who hasn't been "there" anymore. And you shouldn't either.

Anonymous said...

No need to explain here...currently 21 weeks pg after two m/c...I know how terrible it can be. Although I have not suffered with the anxiety to your extent just realize that you do what is best for YOU! If you cannot allow yourself to give support on the pg loss threads...then so be it. Just look after you!

Frenchie said...

I did not experience the level of anxiety you are describing all throughout my pregnancy with Grace, but I did worry A LOT especially during the first tri, and I could NOT read about loss stories because it made me way too anxious. I also deal with some level of anxiety on an ongoing basis and know what a full blown panic attack feels like (SO not fun and would NOT want to have to deal with them during pregnancy!) I don't think you need to feel "guilty" for picking and choosing what you can read or participate in within this community.

BTW I am so thrilled for you-14 weeks!!

Kara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kara said...

Hi there...brand new to the blogosphere but not to prenancy loss OR major anxiety issues...My story is pretty intense and there's no room for that here but just want to tell you that:
1) You're correct, no one can ever understand your journey if they themselves have not been there.
2) Releasing all expectations about people "getting it" can really help you.
3) Allowing yourself to go through times of severe anxiety/panic is easier without any judgment about it.
4) Being gentle with yourself during these periods is of utmost importance.
5) Anxiety SUCKS! So give yourself a hug and tell yourself how freakin courageous you are!
big hugs,
Kara http://awombwithaview-kara.blogspot.com/

Kakunaa said...

I have such a horrendous time reading about loss right now. Anxiety is no joke, and pushing through it while uber-hormonal and dealing with all the physical symptoms of pregnancy is NO JOKE. I know. Plus I have asthma, so recently, panic triggers the asthma, just to make things really fun.

I get where you are coming from. We do what we have to do. Yes, the community is about support, but it's supposed to be unconditional. Like family. That's why many don't read those of us who ARE pregnant. Same deal.

HUGS to you, and thanks for putting this out there.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to throw in my two cents as well...
You DO NOT need to feel guilty at all about being selective in your reading. It does not make you a bad person, it means you're already starting to be a good mom. You have to do what is going to work best for you.
Thank you for your honesty. It inspires me to see someone so willing to be brave in the face of all these difficulties.

Fran said...

It's not selfish. It's self-preservation. I totally get it. My doc said to surround myself with positive people and stories. I recommend the same to you. It's not your time now to be reading of losses, you'll do that again, once you have your baby and can go back and be supportive. We are not talking a lifetime here, it's a few months. you owe this to yourself. And your baby. Love, Fran

nurslouisa said...

I think you really need to try to protect yourself from situations that create more anxiety for you or causes panic attacks. It's not good for you or your baby. I drove myself nuts reading about and trying to be supportive of folks who had a loss. I finally had to say, this is too much for me to handle right now. Your health and staying as stress free as possible is the number one priority right now.