30 weeks + 1 day pregnant
“It’s all so exciting!”
“You must be so excited!”
I find statements like these really difficult to hear and yet I hear them all the time. Excitement is bold. It’s assuming. It’s alien.
I’m not excited. To be excited suggests there is a certainty in the outcome of this pregnancy. I certainly don’t have that assurance and find it difficult that anyone who knows my history could have it either.
I also feel that these comments undermine the difficulty of pregnancy after loss. It disregards the anxiety and it underestimates the hardship. It assumes that the events in my past have no baring on my future. It dismisses all the fear and all the anguish of what has been the hardest journey of my life.
Sometimes I want to scream, “No! I’m not Bloody excited, I’m Bloody petrified. My daily concerns are not over what colour to paint the nursery or whether I have enough sleepsuits for my baby…My daily concern is whether my baby might die today.”
I don’t say any of this of course. Statements like those are at best well intentioned and at worst naive. I can’t expect the rest of the world to fully understand my situation, nor would I truely wish anyone to.
But the assumption that I must be ‘excited’ also makes me feel guilty. Like I’m not living up to societies expectations on how a mother should respond to her pregnancy. I remind myself that my level of excitement is not a measure of the love I have for my son. If anything, all the anxiety, the worry, the caution… that speaks for it instead.
Last week my Doctor told me “You are allowed to be excited.” Excitement is definitely a choice in many ways. But it’s a very brave choice and I’m not capable of it yet. I’m taking tentative steps. We’ve decorated the nursery, we’ve bought the pram, we’ve allowed ourselves to speak of a future with Sprocket in it. But it’s scary. In every break in his movements and before every single scan, those tentative daydreams crumble away. Certainty is an impossibility. Excitement is beyond my reach.
Although I don’t have excitement, I do have hope and that is enough.