So I kind of assume that the like five readers I have on this blog are here from Facebook or Instagram, so I’m assuming my baby news isn’t actually news anymore. But um if I’m wrong, then hey guess what I’m pregnant! Fourteen weeks as of yesterday! Woohoo!
I’ve always wanted to be pregnant, and I’ve always wanted to be a mom. In my mind those are two distinct (although related) experiences, and I’ve been excited for both of them. I’ve known too many women who have battled with infertility and loss in real life and read too many stories on the internet to ever feel like either of those two things are guaranteed experiences, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that. I’m incredibly grateful for what my body has accomplished so far, and I don’t take any moment in this for granted. Becoming a mom is a goal I feel like I’ve been working towards constantly, and to be at a point where it’s actually in the process of happening feels surreal and exciting, like having the present you’ve always wanted wrapped and sitting on the counter, and you just have to stare at it and wait six more months before you open it up.
The past few years have been largely focused on my mental health, in no small part because problems from my broken and untreated brain were increasingly complicated daily life. Last year seemed to be the crisis point, and also the turning point. Being treated not just for my bipolar for my previously unacknowledged anxiety condition felt like the magical key in understanding my patterns. For the first time in a long time, I feel capable of managing my brain. This is in large part to proper medication, for sure, but also thanks to mindfulness practices, meditation habits, and a work path that is much more complementary to where I am in my life. The shift towards balance in my life has been so sudden and dramatic, and I’m so grateful for all the pieces that have led to it. And it would be wrong not to mention that one of those key pieces has been David, whose unlimited patience, endless compassion and unwavering love has held me up every step of the way.
With all of that on the public table, I feel incredibly self conscious admitting that pregnancy, this shortly after such a tumultuous year, was a choice. I find myself bracing for criticism and even asked David (more than once) if maybe we could just lie to the world and say this was an oops baby. He is my other half for a reason, though, and while he said sure we can, he also reminds me that I am in a great place now. We both are, and that the work I (we–definitely we) went through had, throughout it all, a very transparent secondary aim of being stable for pregnancy. This baby’s proximity to such a year of struggle is not a coincidence or accidental. Without wanting to trivialize the challenges of pregnancy and parenting, this baby absolutely feels like a reward for moving through those challenges so diligently. I was working on myself rot eh benefit of myself, yes, but also for this baby. I don’t think that reasoning works for everyone, and I think if you find yourself on the fence maybe stay up there for a bit longer, but this decision feels very true to my experiences. I continue to work on myself, and I definitely don’t see myself as cured or fixed–not at all. I just have the right tools and processes that I need, and now I’m practicing putting them into action.
I also want to note that pregnancy impacts mental health in very unpredictable ways, and that just because I’ve found a large tempering and calm in this experience, that’s not a given or guarantee. We went into this process braced for an uptick in mood swings, and we’re still bracing for it.
This feels like such an out-of-the-blue post, but I knew if I was going to talk about pregnancy in a public space, then I wanted to be open about the specific details of my process. Mental illness is still something that seems so shushed, and I’ve been grateful for the women I know who are bipolar and mothers and willing to talk about their experiences. I might not be the most outspoken person when it comes to campaigning for mental illness awareness, but I don’t want to perpetuate the culture of silence and shame.
I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to being a parent on the internet, and the importance of giving a child their privacy. And I’ve got a whole rambling monologue on navigating the sex and developing gender of my baby. As I get my energy and at least some of my brain back from the first trimester, I’m hoping that the notes I have written down in my journal will find their way to a more structure, publishable form.