SOUL | MATERNITY + MORE: BELIEVING YOU DESERVE IT
I've always wanted a son. The day I found out I was pregnant with a boy, my husband and I were on the couch watching a show and trying to decide who was going to choose what's for dinner (the eternal debate). I checked my email and there it was: your test results are in! He rushed over to join me on my side of the couch and we slowly opened the pdf. Our baby was low risk for chromosomal disorders and in big letters in the center, it read:
I started crying. It was a strange laugh-cry sort of thing. I was overjoyed and shocked and in disbelief. Disbelief. I let that emotion sit longer than the others and it ended up saturating all the other emotions in that moment. It took away from the feelings of elation and replaced those feelings with fear; fear is home-base for sufferers of unresolved trauma.
My therapist and I have been touching largely on PTSD lately and pinpointing all the things I do that are repercussions of my trauma. Self-doubt is the biggest one. I sat staring at the results on that PDF for about 30 minutes, repeating to myself, "Something must be wrong." I couldn't believe that something I wanted so badly became something I was going to have. I started thinking of scenarios where they mixed my results up with someone else's, or maybe Peter touched my arm where they drew blood and they're really picking up his DNA and not my child's or there was just an error in the test. I went into manic overdrive.
Peter slowed me down and said, "Babe. You're doing it again."
When you are exposed to trauma, the body stores that memory in every muscle, bone, nerve that has room to spare. You avoid thinking about the experience but many things trigger responses to it. When years and years go by without visiting that trauma and facing it directly, your mind and body become conditioned to believing the trauma you experienced is an innate part of you. That's not wrong. It has become a part of you, but it's not innate. It is learned. It permeates every fiber of your being, it alters how you see and experience, it triggers physical and mental responses. Over an extended period of time of accepting your pain from your trauma as "commonplace," you make room for that trauma to stay. In it's weird, twisted way, your trauma tricks you into believing you deserved your experience and it is a part of you now. Accept it because it's here to stay.
I want you to know this is not the case. You do not deserve what happened to you. You do not deserve your fear. You do not deserve your pain. You deserve a life free from that. You deserve the very best.
In the pregnancy world, there are unspoken rules about when to share your news. Many women wait until the first trimester is over and some when they are out of the "danger zone." Many wait even longer. Some wait until they're showing. It's all personal preference. One thing is for sure: announcing too early is deemed risky because you could lose your baby. 1 in 4 pregnancies results in miscarriage and 50-60% of first pregnancies are chemical pregnancies, yielding no baby.
As someone who is still healing from past trauma and was warned by doctors that pregnancy/getting pregnant could be difficult for me (psst: aside from fertility medicine, it hasn't been hard), I felt kind of isolated by this pressure of waiting until the right time to tell people. I didn't know if my baby would keep growing. I didn't know if I'd miscarry. I had already spent years unable to process trauma from past experiences and dealing with my pain on my own, what if it happens again? I was afraid, were I to lose the child, I'd be back in that position again: suffering in silence. How do you volunteer information about you losing your baby? How does that come up in conversation? So many women don't know how to tell people. Some just aren't ready to and that's fine. There is no pressure to talk about your pain. There are women that wish they could talk about it but often convince themselves to just suffer through and try again next time. We become accustomed to that act. We convince ourselves our trauma is our own. We have to cultivate a society that feels like we deserve support and room to tell our stories; This is something we can't sweep under the rug. We need to make room for other's trauma.
I decided at 8 weeks to break the news to everyone. It was early and I knew it but I didn't care. If something were to go wrong, I'm not alone. If something were to happen, I have a support system. I won't have to suffer in silence. I have you all, my friends and loved ones, to protect and comfort me and I deserve that.
I want you to believe you deserve the good things that happen to you. Don't let your trauma or pain tell you otherwise. I want you to tell yourself that light came to you because you opened yourself up to it, no matter how dark you feel. I want you to face the parts of you that are in the dark and unhealed because they will never heal but by bringing light to them. I want you to believe the good news the first time. I want you to tell yourself every single day that all that is good is yours and you deserve it. You do deserve it.
It is important I say this to myself out loud so I grow to know it and believe it: I deserve this baby boy. I believe it through every inch of my body.