I’ve spent the last two years with an almost singular focus: making it to the second trimester. Of course there were the mini-goals along the way; trying to get pregnant each time, getting through surgeries, waiting through cycles as my body healed from large cysts and lost pregnancies. And then there was the obvious larger, looming goal of simply having a healthy baby. But always there was an elusive land that I wanted to get to, and for many, many months everything I did was aimed at getting me to second trimester-ville.
It almost never occurred to me that one day I might find myself in the third trimester. The third trimester seemed so incredibly far away and out of reach, I didn’t even dare imagine it. But two weeks ago I arrived.
While dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss, your world revolves around one common theme. Uncertainty. The constant swirl of looming questions in your head, “will I ever have a baby?” “when will I get pregnant?” “will this pregnancy stick?”, never go away. As someone who likes to plan and finds safety in knowing what to expect, I became surprisingly comfortable living in constant uncertainty. I somehow started finding safety in that, for if I stayed uncertain perhaps I wouldn’t attach to a particular outcome, or become disappointed or heartbroken with any one turn of events.
And so when I got pregnant, I stayed uncertain. Partly out of habit. Partly out of fear. I felt a lot of emotions, including hope, happiness, anxiety, and terror, but never certainty. And I’ve clung to that uncertainty throughout my pregnancy. Although I started going through the motions of preparing for a baby and speaking in certain terms long ago, on the inside I had yet to feel like it was anything close to a sure bet.
That has started to shift for me. As my baby boy has grown, and I’ve gotten to know him well through his jabs and flips and by him simply just existing along side of me moment after moment, month after month, I started to believe in him. I started to find that if I had thoughts of doubts about the outcome of this pregnancy, I immediately felt a twinge of guilt. As if I didn’t believe in my baby boy, and in his ability to be strong and to survive. If I stayed in an uncertain place, I felt like I was undermining and betraying him. I started to find it harder and harder to doubt him. And although I openly express worry and anxiety, especially when he takes a rest from his karate chops and high kicks and goes quiet, I find it almost impossible to vocalize words like, “if” and “we’ll see.” Words I used to live by.
Since this shift happened so late in my pregnancy, I feel like I am suddenly on a truncated timeline of processing what is about to happen: my shift to motherhood. There is a surrealism to this change that I think all pregnant women experience, regardless of fertility history, that makes the idea hard to truly grasp. But when so much of your energy during your pregnancy has been spent on navigating previous pregnancy trauma, there is little left for looking forward and truly internalizing this shift. I’m starting now, at 30 weeks, to begin embracing this change and shift in my identity; to think about what it means, and try to understand what’s ahead.
I’m thankful that this pregnancy has been so uneventful. My boy has given me no reasons to worry. My body has given me no reasons to worry. Once I surpassed the harrowing first trimester, I’ve had very few symptoms, save a burgeoning belly, some late night aches and pains, and an insatiable desire for cake. My prenatal appointments have been quick and routine; my fundal height growing exactly on pace and my boy’s heart rate always around a steady 140 beats per minute.
I am grateful. And although I’ll always worry about my boy’s well-being, I believe in him, and I have started looking forward to the much desired inevitable: becoming a mother to this sweet baby boy who’s been loyally with me for the past 30 weeks.