The daily crying jags were a clue, of course, but at first I chalked that up to late-pregnancy hormones. In the past week I've alternated between feeling really energetic and nest-y (in an anxious sort of way) and feeling horribly weepy and inadequate, which I figured was normal.
But now...now, having survived four months of bedrest (and two months of restricted activity before that), having gotten through one of the saddest, loneliest, most miserable times of my life, now, with the end of it all within my grasp, all I can focus on is grief for what I've lost. Six months of my life, which I know in the grand scheme of things isn't very long, but still--gone. My ability to prepare the kind of home environment I want for my baby--stupid things, like curtains and artwork and a dresser that doesn't make her clothes smell like chemicals and even a chair to sit in while I hold her. My ability to do even the simplest things for myself--laundry, cooking, making the damn bed.
More importantly--my friendships, which in my heart are irreparably damaged by my resentment at how I've felt alone and abandoned this whole time. In the past couple of weeks I've suddenly been getting all kinds of calls and emails asking how I'm doing, how I'm feeling, and all I can think is, "Where the fuck were you two months ago when I was alone and scared out of my mind and needed you? My mental and physical health, which have deteriorated from four months of sitting indoors, unable to cook for myself or exercise or breathe fresh air or look at a goddamned tree or anything other than the same four walls day in and day out. Even my marriage has suffered--I resent my husband for being able to walk out the door, for working long hours and leaving me alone, for being able to enjoy life, for not truly seeming to understand how miserable I am. (He thinks, or hopes, that once the baby is here I will feel so much better. I am terrified that I won't.)
And oh yes, my ability to take joy in my coming baby. Beth wrote about this too. Yesterday I had my apartment cleaned--one last scrubbing before Bat Girl arrives--and the young woman who does our cleaning (a recent luxury, indulged in, of course, because I can't clean myself) said to me, "You must be so excited to be so close to having your baby. I can't even imagine--it must be like the anticipation from the best Christmas and birthday and everything rolled into one." I stared at her blankly and said something like, um, oh, yeah. The truth is, I feel no joyful anticipation. I want this pregnancy to be over, oh god do I want to not be pregnant anymore, but rather than looking forward to having my baby at last, I am filled with fear. I find it impossible to imagine that I will be any good at this. What if I don't love my baby? What if she doesn't love me? How could I possibly be anything other than a spectacular failure at breastfeeding? What if something I did or didn't do during this pregnancy has irreparably damaged her? What if I do something terribly wrong and something happens to her?
This morning, for example, as we were lying in bed, my husband remarked that it had been pretty cold in the apartment the night before, and we might need to get a space heater for the baby's room. My thoughts immediately spiraled into an out-of-control maelstrom of anxieties--but what if the room overheated and she died of SIDS? on the other hand, what if she got too cold and froze? What if being too cold or too hot makes her sluggish and she doesn't wake up to feed and she starves? What if OH MY GOD I WILL BE THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD----
In my better moments, I know, intellectually at least, that everything will work out somehow, that I am a competent person and I will not break my baby, that someday soon I will be able to go for a walk, snuggle my baby in the park, taste sweet freedom. The fact that some part of my brain can still understand that is how I know that I'm not too far gone. And yet, when I try to express my fears and sadness and anxiety to others--my husband, my mom--and they just say, "Oh, that will never happen," or "Oh, it will be fine, stop worrying," or "Oh, you'll feel better when the baby comes," it is exactly the wrong thing for me to hear. It fills me with rage and helplessness. And a feeling of, what the hell is WRONG with me, then, that I can't seem to shake this off?
And to the well-meaning person who emailed me a few months ago from this blog, saying, "At least be glad you're pregnant! I'd give anything to have what you have!"--I mean this in the nicest possible way, but: Shut up. I already feel guilty enough.
I don't want to be sad like this anymore. I'm so afraid that the sadness will take over and I won't be able to enjoy my baby. And after everything I've been through, that would be the saddest thing of all.