“Remember when you cried all the time, momma?” My daughter’s question pierced my heart.
Pregnancy after loss is a complicated journey. I don’t have to tell you that, momma—I know you understand.
Maybe from the outside looking in, I should have felt nothing but pure, glittery joy. I was pregnant for the sixth time. This would be my fourth earth-baby. There was no medical reason to worry that something would happen to this baby.
Yet, I found myself mentally drowning in anxiety at only 6 weeks along. Another 34 weeks of pregnancy felt emotionally impossible—an insurmountable amount of time.
Until you’ve experienced the debilitating minute-to-minute anxiety of pregnancy after loss, you just can’t fully understand. It weighs down every thought. It slowly drags every minute. It grips your chest until you can’t breathe.
That is where I found myself. Panicked. Fearful. Worried. Paralyzed.
Panicking at every visit to the bathroom, fearing I’d see blood. Worrying at every ache, concerned I’d begin cramping. But even worse, were the still moments—the moments that I didn’t feel anything. Is the nausea gone? Do I feel pregnant right now? What if the baby has died and I don’t find out until my next doctor visit?
After weeks of being tossed around in a confusing, anxiety-ridden tornado of emotions, my entire being felt tattered and worn. Every situation was amplified. Regular day-to-day routine became impossible. Even loading the dishwasher. Yep, you read that right—loading the dishwasher. That very normal, uncomplicated task became an indication that something was wrong.
I stood at a sink full of dishes and opened the dishwasher next to me. I have loaded the dishwasher approximately six million times. But my brain couldn’t even decide which dish to grab first. I couldn’t remember the standard way I always loaded the dishwasher. I can’t do this. I’m done.
The anxiety pressure continued to build.
But one afternoon I clearly realized there was more going on. I curled up on an oversized chair and softly and numbly cried—for two hours straight. But it didn’t feel like two hours. It was as if my brain froze for those two hours while my body gave in to the mental and physical depletion. I couldn’t stand up. I didn’t want to stand up. That outward act of crying was just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of it went inward. And it went deep. It was quiet. It was dark. It was lonely. It was paralyzing. And it was painful.
I now know “it” as depression. I was battling for my mind and emotions. It wasn’t a matter of simply praying for peace. It didn’t go away with positive thinking. This thing was real…and I decided to fight back.
Why do I share all of this with you? Because maybe, just maybe, you need a friend to gently push you to speak up. Maybe you need a friend to say, “me too.” Maybe you need to be told that a lot of us mommas feel this way. A LOT OF US.
It’s ok, momma. Talking about it is brave. Not sugar coating your emotions is brave. Refusing to paint a pretty smile on is brave. Be you right now. And get the help you need. Get a game plan in order.
My dishwasher debacle was over a year ago and I’m thankful to say that the real me is getting stronger and healthier. I still have some bad days. And I’ve had to adjust my game plan a couple times, because life changes and so do my needs. But you know what? I’m doing this thing. I’m fighting for myself. I’m speaking up and refusing to stay silent in the shadows. I’m thankful for the good days and I’m pushing back on the bad ones.
Make the phone call to your doctor. Talk to that friend. Set up therapy. Do what you need to. It’s hard. I know. But you are worth it. You are worth taking that first step for. You’re not alone…me too, momma.
“Remember when you used to cry all the time, momma?” Yes, I do, sweet girl. And momma was brave enough to get the help she needs.