The Tentative Pregnancy

I am going to try to switch much of my writing about my current pregnancy here, rather than keeping it on my miscarriage blog as I have been. My pregnancy experience is so entertwined with my loss experiences that I’ve been having trouble identifying the proper “home” for my posts on the subject. Barbara Katz Rothman used the phrase “the tentative pregnancy” when referring to the impact of amniocnetisis on pregnancy. I feel like I am experiencing that phenomenon with regard to pregnancy after loss (PAL). I just wrote about some of these feelings in depth on my other blog in this post: No “Safe” Point. I feel like I am constantly aware of being pregnant and yet somehow disconnected from it—like one level (body, mind, or emotions) is very aware and another level (mind, or is it emotions?) hasn’t taken on the pregnant identity. I guess I am experiencing the embodied experience of being pregnant—so, physical awareness—and yet psychologically and emotionally I have not taken “pregnant woman” into my identity again yet. Not sure if this is making sense, but it kind of does to me…

For someone who places such high value on pregnancy and birth as well as for someone whose professional work is centered around, “encouraging joy and confidence in childbearing,” this is an odd as well as kind of sad place to be in. We do not plan to have any more children and I really hope to find plenty of moments to celebrate and revel in this pregnancy—I told my friends already that I’m expecting to have the biggest blessingway EVER this time around! I really enjoy being pregnant. Feels like a state of health to me and I feel physically good while pregnant—strong, pretty, etc. This pregnancy has been a very physically smooth one just like my first two were—no nausea, no troublesome or painful pregnancy complications/symptoms, just feeling like I’m getting rounder and full of life and promise. However, there is a component of personal identification missing for me this time that I can’t quite pin down. Maybe it will

come with time. I think I’m going to do some more birth art and see what happens!

I am 18 weeks pregnant now and I haven’t shared any pictures in a while! The first of these was taken at 16 weeks (at a craft workshop we attended. The attentive among you will notice my lovely Cherokee basket in the background—I am inordinately proud of making this basket!) and the second was taken yesterday at 17w5d.

We had another ultrasound today (another changed feature of the pregnant landscape for me is that this is my most ultrasound-exposed baby EVER. I feel like I benefit more from the reassurance, than I fear risk from the u/s itself). We hoped to find out the baby’s gender—it is very important for me to know in advance this time around. The doctor first said boy, which is what I was feeling in my gut, but then he looked around some more and said he was definitely “flipping” his opinion to “girl.” So, essentially, I know as much as I did yesterday ;-D I really want to name this baby and to have a non “it” identity for it. I do not feel like trying to analyze or explain or justify this feeling. I just feel it.

So, this post is my first effort at bringing the “pregnant woman” identity back into my life. I haven’t started a baby book/pregnancy journal for this pregnancy yet and may not do so this time around. I then worry about the baby feeling unequally treated, etc., so I figure that this can be the baby I blog about. That will be its special something different—I’ve never blogged during a pregnancy before. With my first pregnancy, I participated extensively in a newsgroup and kept all of my postings from that in a big binder for my pregnancy memoir. I also had a specific pregnancy journal and a prenatal/baby book. With my second pregnancy, we did special things we hadn’t before like make a belly cast and have professional pregnancy pictures taken. And, I kept a special pregnancy journal and a prenatal/baby book (same exact one as with my first to be equal! I also did baby calendars for the first year of each of their lives—I wrote something in the calendar blank every single day for each of them! Yay me! No “maternal failure alert” light flashing here!). With my third pregnancy, I had started a special pregnancy journal and also a prenatal/baby book (again, the same one as with the previous children to be equal!). Then, when that pregnancy ended at 14w5d, I had to put those journals away and it hurt so much that I can’t quite manage to start one this time. I just write in my regular journal about it and I do have one of those same identical prenatal/baby books (I’m so equal!)  waiting. I think I will use it to write in after the baby is born (more than half of it is a baby book, the first section is the prenatal care record, which perhaps I will fill in retroactively). I also have one of those exact same baby calendars in my drawer (obtained when my first baby was still a baby—I plan ahead!) so that I can do the one-entry-every-day-of-first-year thing for this baby too. While I have blogged extensively about my loss experiences, I have not yet ever blogged during a pregnancy. So, maybe this can be this new baby’s special thing. 🙂

4 thoughts on “The Tentative Pregnancy

  1. I look forward to your blog posts about your pregnancy!

    I can understand your tentative feelings. I think that is normal and I hope that you are able to also start enjoying and connecting with this baby soon.

    Have you thought of listening to some affirmations? Hypnobabies has some you can download.

  2. I actually have the whole Hypnobabies home study, so I should get the affirmation CD out. Good idea! I do feel like I’ve connected with this baby, but in the “don’t die” sense, rather than the “yay, I’m pregnant” sense.

  3. I read The Tentative Pregnancy a few years ago. Good read, and esp insightful considering it was written almost 30 years ago. She referred to so many pregnancies being “tentative” at that time b/c of the common practice of amniocentesis, but little did she know that ultrasound would become commonplace soon after the book was published.

    I know I’d commented before here about the loss of our first baby at 19 weeks and how it impacted my next pregnancy. My memory can relate to what your experiencing/feeling in your current pregnancy. And you are so right when you talk about there being no “safe” time. For me, during my second pregnancy (I’ve had 3, but my 2nd was only 5 months after losing baby #1) I kept telling myself that once I made it past 20 weeks, I feel “safer.” And yet with each passing week. I found something knew to worry excessively about. Man, I had so much going on emotionally at the time and I chose not to work through most of it, but suppressed it…not good! It wasn’t until a couple years after our second baby was born that I finally was able to come to a place of healing from our first baby’s death.

    And then, ironically, with my 3rd pregnancy, which was 5 years after our son was born, I had few worries about losing that baby. (But I did find other things to “obsess” about!!) I really believe that my last birth was much more positive b/c my body wasn’t holding so much of the grief and pain from losing our first baby. I don’t blame myself for what I experienced in our second birth…it was the best I could do at the time.

    Hang in there and know there are many who are rooting for you and “feel your pain,” if you know what I mean!! 🙂 Maybe I’ll see you at the St. Louis BOLD play next week!

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