I called my baby a parasite.
It wasn’t the first time I had thought it; truth is I’ve been thinking it for awhile, but it was the first time I said it out loud … not just typing it, but physically putting thoughts to words that came out of my mouth.
I called his baby a parasite, to his face.
I told him I hated being pregnant.
I told him I didn’t want to be pregnant any more.
And then I broke down into uncontrollable sobs, because the guilt was overwhelming.
Because I can’t explain why everything was fine on the last day of my second trimester and then so suddenly different on the first day of the third.
Was it more real? More intense? Was it because the due date looks a lot closer when you’re officially in the end game?
The word is fresh in my mind again because of a comment from a friend, reminding me that it was okay to feel like this. From the day it started this thing was a parasite, using my body in whatever ways it can to survive, regardless of what it does to me. And that I wanted it – desperately. If it wasn’t there I would have been devastated. I wanted this experience, I wanted this thing, and I willing put myself through this and more to help it survive.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t without struggle and sacrifice. It doesn’t come easy. It doesn’t come cheap. And it doesn’t come free.
It came with deep seated anxiety that settled in before the line was dry on the pregnancy test. That saying the words “I’m pregnant” to him were full of joy, but the tears that followed were full of fear. That google has been my best friend and worst enemy in navigating the changes to my body in those beginning stages. The anxiety of the isolation that came with knowing that millions have come before me, but would anyone truly understand what I felt? They get it … they felt it too … in silence, in groups, in memes to mask the pain. Every new feeling is exciting and terrifying. It means one step closer to the end goal, but one more thing that I have to figure out if it’s good or bad.
It came with depression, sinking deeper in my chest as the weeks passed by. As I sat beside someone who could never experience what I was going through but longing for an inkling of understanding. Who I fought so hard against to maintain my independence for as long as possible – I wanted to do it, I wanted to keep doing it, I wanted to pretend that I could always do it. Someone who I was grateful was giving me this gift, who was willingly walking this path with me, and who I resented for not having to sacrifice an ounce of himself for. At least, that was what the depression told me. I know he’s done so much, given up so much to give me the best chance at making it through this. Every day I see in his eyes that he wishes he could take some of the burden from me … just one small thing to make it that much easier. It broke my heart to be honest with him, to tell him just how I felt in that moment. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to hear it. To know the love he feels for our child is not something I can reciprocate just yet. I know he fell in love the moment he saw that heartbeat flicker … and I didn’t. I couldn’t. It’s still not real to me.
It came with ED, a voice I thought I had silenced. While I’ve struggled over the last year with eating disorder behaviours I had silenced the voice, the actual voice, in my head that convinced me to engage. It came back a few weeks after I took the test. It came back when I was struggling to eat anything and it came back because it could. My defenses were weakened and I welcomed it back like an old friend. I convinced myself that eating something was better than nothing, and always told myself I would “do better tomorrow”. I told myself the same thing every day for 15 years. This close to the finish line I’ve dulled the voice enough to get by. But I’m back to not wanting to eat. I’m back to no appetite to truly speak of. I’m back to overwhelming cravings from a body that screams it wants this and only this or it doesn’t want anything.
So I’m struggling. And it’s okay that I’m struggling. Pregnancy has not been sunshine and happiness and rainbows. It’s hard, oh-so incredibly hard. And I wanted this. And there are moments that remind me why I still want this. I do not suffer gladly for this child, but I suffer because I know that the end will be rewarding enough to be worth it. If this is the fire I need to walk through then so be it.