I've gained a lot more knowledge and perspective and weight and medical intervention since I wrote this post at the beginning of my second trimester, shortly after we announced this pregnancy. Those were dark times. DARK.
I look back on some of those days -- crying, nervous, sick, angry, lonely -- and wonder how and if I got to the other side. I did get to the other side, to be clear, I just don't know exactly when it happened. Don't get me wrong, I still get anxious and angry and sometimes I cry and occasionally pregnancy feels lonely, but that's just who I am as a human, growing a baby or not.
There were days I knew, 100 percent absolutely knew, I could never have another baby after this. I felt so miserable and uncomfortable and terrified of every possible outcome that the thought of going for it again, or even lasting another 25 weeks, made me want to crawl underground.
I hated me. Todd probably hated me. I hated everyone and everything. I kind of feel panicky remembering how horrid those early weeks were. But here we are, 29 weeks into pregnancy, and while it's been uncomfortable in new ways, I sometimes feel brand new. I still don't particularly know what I'm doing, but I feel more calm. I certainly got the bump I was once desperate for and an entire tribe of fellow moms who've collected me and set me gently into their communes of All-Knowing Goddesses. Todd probably still hates me, but no one said pregnancy was easy for men, I guess. They have to deal with the Emotional and Physical Situation that becomes their partner once the fun baby-making part is over.
At times I feel bad, but other times I look at what I've had to endure and change and cry through for the last seven months, with two more to go, and I feel less bad. I just try harder.
But I feel like I know some things now. The very first thing: if you need help, get it.
This is where shit's about to go off the rails and I am setting myself up for the scrutiny of gods and demons, alike, but, about 18 weeks into this pregnancy, I had a conversation with my doctor.
I'd been a living wreck. My wedding was on the way, my life was on the way, and I couldn't keep my shit together enough to enjoy it. I lived anxious and resentful cranked to level nine. Postpartum depression knocked on my door. Hard. I could hear it from five months away. I became very good at keeping my wildest anxiety to myself, crying by myself while Todd slept soundly (probably with one eye open) beside me, but it slowly burned me into the ground.
I am not new to anxiety, but I was new to pregnancy and the complete wrench it threw fast and hard into what I thought had been a fairly level emotional balance.
The night after I talked to my obstetrician, I picked up a prescription for Zoloft.
Yes, sweet mommy-shamers, you perfect specimens of gold and light, I have been pumping my baby vessel full of anxiety medication for the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy. I have dared to walk the edge and take care of myself.
And I would not have changed a thing.
You know the worst way to grow and nourish and sustain the healthy, growing life of a fetus? By living in misery and anxiety and fear and stress for nine months. You know the worst way to bring a newborn baby into the world? By feeling disconnected and alone and sad and fearful and anxious.
I know me, I know my body, I know my mind, and I know my habits. I know me well enough to know when I need help. When my well-being and the well-being of my family are at stake. My doctor didn't bat an eyelash. She applauded me for being proactive and being aware. For taking care of me. She swatted away the shame. She provided me with the scientific evidence to help me understand that, actually, me and my baby will be just fine with this medication.
Because the alternative is not fine. And that is not fine with me.
Most importantly, I have been changed. Not drastically, not physically, but I can rest again. My mind turns off. I enjoy pieces of my life that once made my soul tighten. I have more perspective and a more gentle thought process. I feel like a human being. Like Krista.
I've spent the last several months learning what's good for the baby and bad for the baby. Coffee, tuna, too much exercise, too little exercise, beer, stress, lying on your back, not getting enough sleep, looking at yourself sideways.
But here's the thing. We need to take care of us, too. What is a healthy baby without a healthy mama?
I want to be -- and will be -- the very best mama I could ever, ever be to this little baby. I've spent months worrying whether I'm doing it right and if he's okay and if his heartbeat will still be there at my next visit and if that time I drank a vodka tonic in Florida when I didn't yet know I was pregnant has harmed him.
But the second thing I know is he is okay. Because he's been with me this whole time. I am taking care of me and I'm taking care of him. And the day he enters this world, we're going to love the hell out of him so hard, I'll forget every piece of this journey that caused a struggle.
Because look, I know what an episiotomy is, and that shit is no joke. I'm not soon to forget that, if it happens.
But torn vagina, anxious mind, expanding body, medication and all, this baby -- my very own first baby -- will be worth it all.