Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's All Relative

I am sure I have said this before, but it seems obvious to this mother-to-be that much like MS, the experience of pregnancy is vastly different for everyone. I can remember watching the majority of my friends go through their pregnancies and people usually fall into one of two categories: those that don't mind (or even enjoy) being pregnant and those that hate it. And in many cases - the person who had severe nausea for 40 weeks straight or the high risk pregnancy who ended up on bed rest the last 3 months - you can understand why the experience would be somewhat negative. 

Then again, it depends on your own personal experience, right? I have really enjoyed being pregnant, partly because mine has been fairly routine with all the "normal" symptoms, nothing crazy. It's also partly because how I feel pregnant is a vast improvement over my baseline everyday symptoms. I have rather enjoyed trading nerve pain and spasticity for back pain, leg cramps and a tiny person who likes to kick me constantly in the ribs. 

The things I have struggled with - maybe more so than the average healthy person, maybe not -  is the unfortunate knowledge that when life is going along without a hitch and everything finally seems to be coming up roses, well, that's often when Life sneaks up from behind and knocks you right on your butt.   It's a terrible way to feel, but I would be lying if I said those feelings didn't linger at least a little bit. 

It's so easy to get caught in a spiral of self-doubt and negative feelings when Life knocks you down. You may begin to think the good things in life just weren't meant for you. Maybe you think you are cursed. I know at times I certainly have! All the horrific things sometimes leave us wondering when the next horrific thing will come, not if it will. I found myself recently getting irritated by a friend's off-handed comments about having a second child. I thought, "How dare she! How arrogant of her to think that just because she wants another child that - boom! - her wish will be granted! Life doesn't always work like that, she should know better than to assume such things." 

Then I took a step back and realized there was absolutely nothing wrong with my friend expressing her wishes and goals. Why shouldn't she? It's my own life experience that has made me more sensitive to the fact that having plans and wishes aren't always enough. But then again, here I am (finally) pregnant and  feeling pretty good today. So things often work out the way you dreamed they would, just not on the easy, straight path you originally envisioned. 

At my perinatologist appointment this week, they did the usual ultrasound. She looks great, getting very big. Then the doctor came in to talk to me. She reiterated everything looked great, but then said she had to be the "bearer of the bad news." My heart jumped into my throat - here it was - the horrific thing I had been fearing. Something was wrong. I knew it. I knew it!! I calmly looked at her and waited for the information, cursing myself for not bringing Chris to this random appointment for moral support. 
Finally, she says, "So now that you're 34 weeks we're going to want to see you in the office every week from here on out. Sorry, I know that's a bit of a pain, but we prefer to be overly cautious with high risk people with autoimmune diseases." 

I immediately burst out myself. That was the bad news - that I now had to see the doctor weekly. She couldn't understand why I was laughing. She said most patients were very irritated with having to work weekly appointments into their schedules. I laughed some more as I explained that at my worst, I had doctor/PT/OT appointments 5 days a week. So a measly weekly appt - that was no big deal in my book. But to the average patient who hasn't ever heard really bad news from a doctor, that probably does constitute less-than-stellar-news. 

It's really all relative, isn't it? Each of us is shaped by our own life experiences. I often wish it were easier for people to be more empathetic towards one another, myself included. But it's really hard to see things from a perspective so vastly different from your own. How can you really ever know what it feels like to be in someone else's shoes? I wish there was an app for that. ;-) 

So I try not to worry too much and just enjoy being pregnant, enjoy how good I feel, even enjoy it when she is kicking the crap out of me and I only get 3 hours of sleep. And if I can keep laughing at myself whenever I jump to the worst case scenario in my head and remind myself that I deserve the good things in life as much as anyone...well, then maybe it will all be okay after all. 

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