When I found out I was pregnant with James, I swore that I would not let myself worry. I think I mostly succeeded (at least, until I hit the “bonus week,” that’s when I lost my head). Looking back, I know that the reason I was mentally able to get through the pregnancy is because I did not let myself care about the baby, at all.
Miscarrying really got into my head, and when I realized I’d had more bad outcomes from pregnancy than good, I braced myself for more unhappy endings. I had so much spotting at the beginning of my pregnancy with James that I was certain it was only a matter of time before I lost him. Since there was nothing I could do to stop it, I mentally checked out. But when I didn’t lose the pregnancy, I never really checked back in. I was too afraid.
Even though losing Madeline was a million times harder than miscarrying, I did eventually let myself connect with Annabel when I was pregnant with her. With James, though, I couldn’t – it was like I had a block. I didn’t want to get attached to him only to lose him and have to grieve in front of Annabel. I still fought hard, medically speaking, for the idea of James, but as far as actually getting excited for him, it never happened. I never let it.
When he was placed in my arms, I waited for the rush of love but I mostly felt fear. My baby was finally here, but I was too afraid that I was going to lose him. He was so little and helpless compared to Annabel.
Those first few months, I was really going through the motions. Recovering from my c-section and all the weirdness that I experienced left me so exhausted that I was just trying to survive. It was by far the hardest of my three births and even now, four-and-a-half months later, I still feel like I haven’t fully emerged from the haze. I kept slogging through, telling my brain that I had to stop being scared, willing my heart to open and start letting this baby in.
One day, the fog cleared out just enough. I looked down at my baby boy, and I saw him. He lights up when he sees me, snuggles into my touch, and places his head on my chest with a sweet sigh of happiness. I saw him and I finally fell in love, and it was scary, but wonderful.
And now, I can’t imagine ever being afraid.