Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mourning pregnancy

I very much mourn my pregnancy.  What do you mean? you might ask.  You have a happy, healthy child in your arms, and you yourself are happy and healthy.  You didn't lose your baby, so what are you mourning?

What do you think of when you think of pregnancy?  As the youngest child in my family, I never saw my mother pregnant or had any real contact with pregnant women before becoming one myself.  I knew that there are things that go hand-in-hand with being pregnant that make it less than fun.  I knew about morning sickness, and heartburn, and backaches, and preterm labor, and gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure, and other various and sundry ailments.  I wasn't looking forward to any of that but I knew that it was all normal or within the normal range of complications.

I did not know about HG.  It was this terrible monster that reared its head around six weeks in and just wouldn't go away.  I didn't understand what was going on and didn't have the strength (physical, emotional, etc.) to find out.  I spent months mostly confined to my bed, when my biggest accomplishment was to make it through one more hour, even one more minute without throwing up; when 100 calories was a normal day and 400 was a miracle; when my social life didn't exist because I couldn't even talk much without risking losing what little I had gotten in.

So when a woman says that she's mourning her pregnancy even though she has a healthy babe, it's not that she's mourning something she lost - she's mourning something that was never there.  How I wished that my biggest complaint was terrible, debilitating back pain!  How I wished that I 'just' had gestational diabetes or high blood pressure or something - anything - that could be controlled.

There are women with HG who have had medical terminations due to the disease.  Sometimes they feel that they simply can't handle it, and sometimes the doctors advise them that either they terminate or they risk losing their own lives.  I, thankfully, was not put in this situation.  But I would never in a million years judge someone who was.  Never would I just a woman for terminating her pregnancy due to HG.  She would probably beat herself up over it for a long time, though.  The effects of HG fade so quickly, but the pain of losing your baby lingers on.

Not only am I mourning those lost months and the lack of normalcy, but I also regret the lack of connection I had to the little person growing inside of me.  It is hard to love and bond with a creature that has turned your life into a living hell.  Okay, so it was our fault, not hers, but when you're in the middle of things you just know that that tiny little heartbeat is what's causing all this illness and you just want it to end.

Can you imagine that?  A perfectly healthy fetus, a very wanted pregnancy, and you just want it to end.  You  haven't even gotten past the first trimester, you aren't anywhere near viability, and you just want it to end.  Everyone wants a baby in their arms at the end of it all, but sometimes that journey is unbearably long.  I was bitterly disappointed when I didn't give birth early, and the stress and disappointment nearly crushed me when I wound up delivering nine days late.  Even though I was greatly improved by the end, it was still nine extra days of hell.

So my mourning is not, as one insensitive person suggested, coming from a place of me expecting the perfect pregnancy.  It is not coming from me comparing myself with others and being jealous (although I do get jealous, at times).  I went through a legitimately traumatic and potentially life-threatening event, and I am mourning the normalcy that I should have experienced instead; the connection with my baby that couldn't happen until later.


  1. I really sympathize with you. Having had relatively normal pregnancies, I didn't love them enough to want to do it again for fun, but it is a part of the whole experience. It sounds like you really suffered. I read an account of HG with twins recently in a medical memoir.
    Are you going to keep the title of this blog? Maybe start a new blog and move your posts over? (Can't help making intrusive suggestions to new bloggers--it's a curse.)

  2. I can't imagine having HG with twins, as I assume it would be worse. On the other hand, you only suffer once and get two kids out of it. Enticing. :)

    I'm actually not crazy about the title of the blog; I just didn't have any better ideas at the time and nothing I've thought of since seems quite right. I'm open to your intrusive suggestions - how else can I make things better? :)