It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and that’s because I’m really struggling. I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll start with what’s happened – don’t worry, the babies are fine.
We had our second ultrasound and both babies were measuring exactly on track (7 weeks 3 days) and had HRs of 144 and 153. I found a doctor, or more precisely a group of midwives and doctors, who will take care of my prenatal stuff. I went to my appointment with them and really liked the midwife I saw and the practice.
So, my struggles. This is the hard part, and I have so much to say. And so much of what I have to say makes me feel stupid, and shallow and ungrateful. *sigh*
- I feel awful. Really really awful. I swore I would never complain about pregnancy because I was always so angry at those women who complained. I wanted to be like “STFU, you’re pregnant. Be grateful.” But the constant nausea and vomiting (10-15x a day) really wears you down in both body and spirit. The doctor finally put me on Zofran because I couldn’t keep anything down. Of course, Zofran has very unpleasant side effects and those are in full force.
- We just moved. The house is nice, much bigger and brighter and cleaner than our old place but it’s not home. I’m not comfortable here. I keep waking up and wanting to go home, but I’m not sure where home is anymore. It makes me sad. Plus, there’s a ton to do and I have zero energy or inclination to do any of it. Which means DH has done most of it and is very resentful. Gotta love that.
- My family is far, far away. My mom, dad and sister came out to visit for Christmas, and the day they left I thought my heart would break. I had panic attacks all night. I don’t want to have my babies far away from my family. I don’t want them to only know my extended family (who all live on the same farm where I grew up) from holidays and family reunions. I want to go home. I want to raise my babies at home.
- We got full custody of my step-daughter and her mother committed herself to a mental hospital after trying to burn her fathers house down (with him inside). No joke. Not a Jerry Springer episode. MY LIFE. So, I’m glad we have her and I’m glad she’s safe but going from no kids to a poorly mannered and somewhat out of control 8 year old with no chance of a break is difficult. Us having her full time with every other weekend visitation to her mom is one thing – this is completely different. She is driving me absolutely nuts. DH doesn’t help the situation because he’s never really been a parent to her and is still in “disney-land dad” mode. She is spoiled and whiney and doesn’t follow rules and he doesn’t help me enforce them. When my sister was here for the holidays she was appalled at her behavior. I try to talk to DH about it but he completely blows me off. Every day I shut myself in my closet and cry because I am so unhappy having her here, which makes me feel like an awful, horrible person. She’s 8 and she’s adjusting fine. I’m 37 and I’m falling apart.
- Because I am so frustrated with my step-daughter and the situation I feel like maybe I shouldn’t have children at all. Will I resent them? Am I bad person? Will I be a bad mother? How will I manage with 2 infants and this child who doesn’t listen with no help from my husband? I feel like I can’t talk to my husband – he doesn’t listen and he doesn’t understand. And after seeing him full time with my step-daughter I have serious doubts as to his judgement and parenting abilities. And that scares me to death.
- Financially, things are unstable. Between custody lawyers and IVF we are in serious debt. And I’m graduating and will need a job, but who will hire me when I’m pregnant? And what about after I have the babies? What then?
- I thought that being an older parent would be helpful – I’ve gotten the partying out of my system, I’m (maybe) more patient, have more life experience. But in reality one of the things I’m struggling with is that I have spent a long time carefully crafting my life. I liked my life – travel, friends, gatherings – freedom. And now I feel like that life is ending forever and I’m panicking. What is WRONG with me? No babies could be more wanted than these babies! I went to hell and back to get these babies! And now that I’m finally pregnant I’m worried about my life ending? Enter the guilt. What is wrong with me? How can I possibly be feeling this way? I know so many people who give anything to have this chance and I’m being selfish and petty and immature!! But I can’t help it. I just…feel like that.
The overall idea, I think, is that I am unhappy and overwhelmed. Too much has changed too quickly and I am not good with change even at the best of times. I don’t know if crazy pregnancy hormones are partially to blame or not, but this isn’t how I thought it would be. I’m not excited, or even hopefully. I’m scared and panicked. And there’s no one to talk to. The infertility community is fantastic! There is so much love and support, so many people who can empathize and understand and commiserate.
There is no “pregnant after infertility” community. Because there’s that angle too – I feel what I can only describe as survivors guilt. I feel guilty that I’m pregnant and other people who have struggled even more than me, aren’t. I don’t want to tell people I’m pregnant because I’m worried one of them may be going through infertility and it may be hurtful to them. I’m scared of losing one or both of the babies. Infertility has made me pessimistic and fearful and I have no outlet for those feelings anymore. And I feel guilty for feeling all of things I listed above. I’m a big, sad, pathetic, scared, panicky, whiny sack. Boo-fucking-hoo, by mybrokenoven.
I want to just wrap my arms around you and hug you until all your anxiety and unhappiness subsides….if just for a moment. Don’t feel guilty about a single feeling. You have earned every single one of your thoughts, fears, worries, and even your sadness. Just take it all day-by-day, breath-by-breath.
I’ve been following your blog for a while now. I was searching for blogs about infertile step-parenting and found yours. Let me just say, I identify with you completely! Step-parenting is tough, every day on every level. Add in infertility…it’s hell. I have been a part of an online infertility support group for several months now. It has many different support groups within the support group, if that makes sense. I got pregnant in September and joined the sub-group for Pregnant after Infertility/Loss. When I miscarried later in September, I joined the Miscarriage sub-group. It’s nice because you only have to join the main site once and then can join any sub-groups that fit your needs and it’s all right there on 1 profile. Anyway, my point is that I wanted to share the Pregnant after Infertility/Loss support group with you. I found it to be a godsend during the short time I was pregnant. The website is http://www.dailystrength.org. Just do a search for the group.
I hope things start to feel a bit more manageable for you. Just breathe. Things will settle.
I’ve also been following your journal for a while. You are not alone and your stres is natural. Thenn pregnancy things (finances, job search, step kid, new house) would be enough to send anyone over the edge. Add the pregnancy sickness, hormonal changes, and the natural fears of a first time parent, and it’s no wonder that you’re sad. But this is temporary. Things will get better. I think the main thing you need to focus on now is getting a break for yourself. Is there any possibility of getting a sitter for a couple days or telling your husband you need an afternoon to yourself on the weekend? That could make a big difference. And is there any chance of getting your step daughter into therapy?
Oh dear. things do sound really rough. i think its all amplified by the pregnancy hormones. i spent my entire pregnancy in a state of fear and panic. i was so sure i would lose the baby. to my suprise, there actually is a pregnancy after infertility world out there. and parenthood after infertility. i met lots of amazing women on the blogs who i love to follow along on their blogs. its normal to feel how u do especially all things considered. just hang in there!
One thing at a time…one step at a time, take deep breath and believe in what you are doing and who you are. You’ve come a long way baby- and have way to go! You can do it! This too shall pass xxx
So many things I could have written myself. I felt so horrible and nauseous and felt so guilty for complaining. I actually would only complain to my husband and if anyone else asked I would brush it off. Constant nausea is no joke and you have every right to complain. It doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate your pregnancy. I had a friend tell me I could be happy I was pregnant without actually enjoying pregnancy and it made me feel a little better about it.
As a fellow older parent, I definitely have moments where I miss my child-free life and wonder what I was thinking. So many things I miss. But, I wouldn’t go back. I think it’s normal (I hope so anyway). But, I still feel guilty for even entertaining those thoughts.
Sorry you are dealing with so much now. It’s probably made much worse by pregnancy hormones and feeling so awful physically. Hang in there.
Everything you are dealing with–so many huge transitions–would be pretty stressful for the average bear. I hate the idea that just because you had to fight a war to get pregnant that somehow you’re not allowed to have a hard time with this stuff. Nonsense! Those battle scars give you all the more reason to forgive yourself and be gentle, which is why your husband need
s to rise to the occasion and provide substantially more support. That sounds like a difficult but necessary pow-wow you two need to have. Sending you love, strength, and much deserved compassion!
Change is hard. Transition is hard. Pregnancy after infertility/loss is hard. Dealing with all of them at the same time is nearly impossible. Go easy on yourself. Someone else suggested therapy for your stepdaughter. I started seeing a therapist myself just before our unsuccessful FET last year, and I’m so glad I did because even after subsequently getting pregnant, I was a neurotic/emotional/anxious mess. You’re not alone in feeling like you have no right to complain because you’re finally pregnant. But you’re dealing with a lot right now, and it’s okay to give yourself permission to acknowledge that and vent a little. And to ask your husband to help out a little more! Hugs!
Tina Alberino said:
I know it seems like everything is falling apart right now, but I promise you it will get better. The damage that woman has done to your step-daughter isn’t going to correct itself overnight, but I’m sure you know that. I know it’s been four years or so by now and you would think she would be a bit easier to deal with, but during that time her mother has been in her ear, influencing her and turning her against you. Without her mother’s manipulation, you’ll start to see a change in her. Just be consistent and try to be as patient as you can be. Nobody expects you to be perfect. Since you haven’t raised her, her behavior is not at all a reflection of or indication of your ability to parent.
I’m going through my second round of treatment. It took me almost two years of cycles (and a miscarriage) to get pregnant with my last child. Even after all of that, I went through the same exact feelings you’re having. My first child was 4 when I got pregnant with my second. I had tried so hard to have the second baby and when my treatments finally succeeded, I felt like the new baby was intruding on my relationship with my first. I was worried that I wouldn’t love her as much as my first child. I felt guilty for getting pregnant and didn’t want to tell anyone either. I thought getting pregnant again was a mistake. I was so sick and miserable during my second pregnancy, there were times I regretted it. When I look back at some of my own private blog entries during that time, I laugh at them. I can’t believe I ever thought that way or felt that way. It will be the same for you. 🙂
Once the babies are here, you’ll look back and realize that all of those feelings are just a natural part of the insanity that pregnancy after infertility brings on.
You have GOT to have your husband step up and discipline the 8 year old or it will be hell when she is a teenager. She has to learn that both of you are her parents now and what you say goes. I resented that my kids took away my freedom. I felt like I never got a break, I could never just kick back and vedge without someone needing something. One time I locked myself in my room and ate ice cream while the kids pounded on the door. It was like leave me the F— alone!!! Turn around twice they will be mouthy teenagers! Just hang in there – the first few years can be tough but when they are potty trained and feeding themselves you have turned a corner. But you have to get that 8 year old under control or who knows how she will rebel against the twins.
I wish I could wrap you up in a big bear hug. Not only do I so, so appreciate your candor – you’re also the first person I’ve come across who felt and acknowledged the warring emotions in regards to whether or not you should have children because of something to think, feel, do etc. I’m so sorry that you have so much on your plate, so many things hurting your heart and soul. I can so relate to the financial mayhem – we’re still trying to scrimp and save to even pay for a first IVF cycle, which will have to be out of state with additional costs for travel, lodging etc. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in so long I forgot what it feels like to wake up and feel rested. Just know that you’re not alone, that your feelings are totally understandable, normal and HUMAN. Thank you for making me realize that I’m not the only one who struggles with conflicting emotions and guilt. HUGS!!
I just skimmed, so I hope you understand. First of all, I agree there needs to be a pregnancy after infertility community. I am guilty of being pissed the F off when an IFer gets pregnant, and there just isn’t a place for you. I know when/if I get there, I will come back to my own comments and want to punch myself.
Second of all – I remember what it was like having morning sickness. And while I swear up and down I will never complain about being pregnant, I probably still will. I wouldn’t beat yourself up over it. You can’t pretend you feel lovely when you don’t. It’s possible to feel like shit physically but still grateful to be pregnant.
I am so sorry to hear you are feeling so ill but very glad to hear the babies are doing well. How far along are you? The horrible sickness of the 1st trimester will pass. Statistically, week 8 is supposed to be the worst and then it is supposed to start to get better. In fairness, if you are this ill now, it will probably be week 13 or so before you feel a lot better, but at least you might be on the other side of the mountain where each day you will feel a little bit better. And, please, complain away. The honesty you show in your blog is so incredible and a big support to others of us going through IF as well. I have feelings that I am not proud of too. You may worry that you are sounding unappreciative but that is not how I hear anything you have said. It sounds to me like you are brave and open and a strong role model. Thank you.
As for your stepdaughter, I am probably the last person to give advice since I don’t have a 7 year old or a stepdaughter. But, my first thought would be to let things slide for right now. You are in the worst period of your pregnancy, you just moved, she just became part of your family and her mom just got hospitalized. That is so much going on. For one, you don’t have the strength to take this on right now – but you will in another month or so. For another, are you sure this is her status quo or is she acting out more now because of all the change. I have no idea if it is relatable but I know from the adoption literature, it is common for older kids to act out when they first join your home as they are testing you. They want to see if you will stay with them and keep supporting them even if they are bad. They are scared. My other idea, would be for you to make a one hour appointment with a child psychologist to talk about what to expect and “strategies” with your step-daughter’s adjustment. I would recommend that just you go. For one, you can get a lot more information in a one hour meeting if it is between two adults – which is efficient given your energy levels and budget. This meeting can give you information about whether or not the psychologist thinks there is anything unusual in her adjustment and things to avoid, watch out for… Her pediatrician should be able to recommend someone.
As for you and bonding with your stepdaughter. First, you are first trimester with twins and I think getting through a day without vomiting on your own clothes is a success. Again, I don’t know if it is a good comparison, but in the adoption literature there is a lot of evidence that Moms have a much harder time bonding to their adopted child then they expected. It is not that they don’t bond. Just that it takes longer. And, it seems like one of these things that is brushed under the rug and not spoken about (like IF in general). But, it seems like it is a very common situation. You might feel better reading some of the adoption literature. If it is an apt comparison, then the point would be that you are not alone and that bonding will absolutely happen, but you just have to give it some time.
I also think the anxiety is normal. I would not describe myself as an anxious person but I felt anxiety in both of my pregnancies. It was most acute right around the middle of the first trimester and then got better and completely disappeared by the end. I don’t know if it is all the changes or the hormones or both – but it definitely happened. I tried to talk to DH about it but, especially with the 2nd pregnancy, he was not much help. I think after enduring my 2 years of crying trying to get pregnant he just was so exhausted by my being sad and just wanted me to be happy. So, for the most part, I try to ignore it and tell myself – this happened before, it is normal and will go away. If a mental health professional reads this, they will probably totally disagree. But it has gotten a lot better since the first trimester. I am starting to wonder if anxiety is like morning sickness in the first trimester for me. Something you just have to get through.
Anyway, too long of a reply. But hang in there!! You are balancing so much right now that I can see how it feels so overwhelming but there was also a lot of good news in your post as well!