I’m officially in the “safe” zone this week which seems like a little bit of a sick joke to say. So far, I’ve been feeling pretty good about my anxiety, but for some reason, I took a step backward this week and I feel the opposite of “in the safe zone.” I think it’s because I’ve started to feel and see my body changing. I know a lot of people’s boobs start to get bigger. I know a lot of people experience trouble sleeping. I know baby bumps grow as weeks go on. I know all of this, but it is hitting me with much more anxiety than I anticipated this time around. These changes in my body are totally normal, right? It should be pure excitement!

Shannyn's 14-week bump - Second Trimester Scaries

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson

However, I’m struggling with this concept of “normal.”

In a lot of ways, I consider myself a first-time mom. I do have a daughter and I have been pregnant before, but I have never experienced a full-term pregnancy that has given me a living child. So, yes, I have all of these benchmarks from my last pregnancy with Sophie and they are normal feelings according to my care providers. The only problem is that now those feelings are associated with losing a child. My gauge for normal and not normal needs to be seriously recalibrated.

Should I have to pee every 15 minutes?
Should I feel my weight shifting in my belly when I bend over?
What if I notice cramping every so often?

These are the kind of questions that run through my head almost all day. I know, I know, doctors can tell me over and over again that they are all very normal and regular signs of pregnancy…blah blah. I do trust my doctors and the rational part of my brain knows that they’re right, but words can only go so far.

I think that may be the worst part about this for me; it is realizing the lack of control I have over these emotions and the lack of control I have over the outcome of this pregnancy. I want an “off” switch in my head when those negative thoughts creep in and I want a fast forward button to see if this pregnancy ends in heartbreak or with a healthy baby in my arms.

However, since finding out I was pregnant again, I’ve challenged myself not to act out of fear or make decisions that are driven by fear.

I’ve been reminding myself regularly about this promise to ensure I am living life and not holding back from experiences that will make me happy. When I focus on this, I feel like I am taking the reigns back for a moment and holding onto control where I can. So, while I can’t switch off the negative thoughts or fast forward through this pregnancy, I am going to focus on taking it a day at a time and make my happiness the priority.

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