I recently read a blog about how lonely motherhood can be, and I was surprised by how deeply it resonated with me. Me, who works and has a vast group of Mamas to support her. Part of this author's experience with loneliness involved infertility and infant loss. These things set you apart. It makes it harder to just be. You walk around with a constant ache that you don't know how to describe to anyone. It is isolating.
Being pregnant again has brought another type of isolation. First, the secret pregnancy and the unwillingness to tell anyone. It was hard enough for us to believe it was true, harder still to have hope she would be healthy and hardest of all to think about her future. What if it was ripped away? We couldn't tell others, it was too terrifying. Weekly check ups, massive anxiety attacks, sobbing for the son who isn't here and constant overwhelming fear. FEAR. I spent 8 weeks of my life holding my breath. Small prayers, please let her be ok right now, and now, and now. Please don't take her, please.
Ultrasounds were, and are, the worst. I don't sleep the night before they come. I lie awake and hash it out with God. If they find the worst, if she can't survive, please don't make me see it this time. Or, you made her, you did this, please make her healthy, please keep her safe. Clenching my husband's hand, I hold my breath and wait as the tech checks each small detail. We don't speak, we don't smile, we watch. He flexes his hand, I am crushing it. The tech tries to reassure us and in my head I sing every chapel song I learned at Grace. I sing praise song after praise song. They always end well. She is always healthy. I am always exhausted. After the last two, I took four hour long naps.
I think that people expect me to express unparalleled joy, or to rush about proclaiming a miracle, and I feel that I am failing them. My classroom neighbor, Michelle, described my feelings the best, "Wow, God where did that come from?" I am learning to swim in this sea of pregnancy after miscarriage. There are moments of unparalleled joy, they really do come, but I also have moment of deep grief. Every moment I celebrate the coming of our baby girl, I remember the little boy we lost.
This is what makes it lonely. I live in the high and low at the same time. Pregnancy has amplified my PTSD, the smallest thing can cause big issues. Getting a new car seat led to me lying awake wondering what I would do with that car seat if she dies. Would I sell it? Never be able to look at again? Would it sit in our garage? Perhaps I should wait to buy the car seat? Maybe I should wait on all of it? But that isn't fair to her. Dear God, she isn't even born and I am messing her life up. All of this is crazy and I should sleep, but I can't sleep because now I can't stop thinking about how crazy I am.
I don't usually sleep through the night. I take naps. Sometimes I am nauseous from pregnancy and sometimes I worry my self sick. This is me on drugs. I spent the first three months drug free, and I couldn't function. I couldn't keep track. All I could do was worry. This level of anxiety is isolating. I can't explain it to you. I can't change it. It just my current reality.
Where is God is this lonely anxiety ridden time? He is here, constantly. His word is assuring me, His arms are holding me, and He is teaching me to depend on His love through all things. Having faith doesn't mean that we are never worried or anxious. It doesn't mean we must be perfect. It means that when we feel bone crushingly lonely, we know we are not alone. We know that the He is with us. We know that we will come through this moment, this worry, this anxiety attack, and be ready to face what is next.
This is all new, all terrifying and all miraculous at once. Each moment is different. Each day brings a new challenge. Thankfully, I am not as alone as I sometimes feel.