I’ve been MIA lately as I’ve been struggling a bit. I’ve found myself getting very anxious lately. The fear is stemming from the unknown – what way will my birth go, will my baby be healthy, will I be able for what’s to come; but it’s slowly crept out into all areas of my life. I’ve found myself sitting at home and almost hyperventilating because of the tiniest things. I’m worrying about work so much more than I should be. I’m worrying about the changes that might take place in my relationship with my SO. I’m worrying about things that were said ten years ago, about relationships that ended, friendships that fell apart, judgement from others, pain I’m feeling, things I should/shouldn’t be doing. The fear has started to become consuming.
Yesterday, I sat with my SO and talked openly to him about it. I explained that the reassurances that people have given me – saying “don’t worry, you’ll be fine” – essentially does nothing but belittle how I’m currently feeling when it comes to childbirth. I’ve never done this before and whilst I know that millions of women have gone before me and lived to tell the tale, I’m terrified. Telling me not to worry isn’t helping.
I’ve been chatting to some of my friends and I’m proud of myself for speaking up about how I’m feeling. It’s not easy being pregnant in a pandemic and not seeing any of my friends. I’m barely seeing my family and at that I know I’m pushing it – I shouldn’t be seeing them at all, but it was something I had to do for my mental health as I was really struggling after Christmas. I’d been feeling better for a few weeks, but with latest news reports of stillbirths being related to Covid-19, I’m feeling even worse today.
I woke to the news that there are reports of a rare condition associated with Covid-19 and pregnancy, where one’s placenta gets infected by the virus and may be linked to stillbirths. There were 4 cases of this reported in Ireland and health officials are saying that it’s extremely rare. However, take a step inside my catastrophising brain and you’ll see me panicking and crying and feeling absolutely terrified that this is going to happen to my baby. I’m really not feeling ok after reading these news reports. As if being pregnant during a Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t difficult enough, now there’s this to contend with too. I’m petrified. I know my fear is irrational as I have not contracted Covid-19 and therefore can not have the condition, but I honestly don’t think I’ve felt more afraid of Covid before now. For so long they told us that there we had no reason to fear it when pregnant, that teaching in multiple classrooms with multiple teenagers a day was perfectly fine and that we had no need to worry. Norma Foley continues to repeat her mantra over and over and over again that “Schools are Safe.” I’m calling Bullshit.
There’s been a lot of backlash to these news reports. People are giving out to the Irish media for scaremongering, for upsetting vulnerable women who are going through enough as it is, and I agree. I don’t need this extra stress right now. If you could feel my heart racing right now, if you could see the tears streaming down my face, you would see that I am just a 32 year old girl who has done everything she can to keep herself and her baby safe over the last 7 months. I want and love this baby more than I thought was humanly possible. I really could have done without this horror story on top of everything else I’ve been trying to contend with. I’ve only 10 weeks left to go, but I don’t know how I’m going to make it through them.
I feel like I’ve had to see my parents in order to cope with the anxiety that I’ve been feeling. Now I feel like I can’t see them any more because it will increase my chances of catching the disease and therefore increase my chances of harming my baby. Both scenarios will be detrimental for my well being, I’m very much aware of this. Most of my coping strategies for anxiety have been pulled from underneath me; spending time with friends and family, yoga, walking, going to places of natural beauty such as woodland and coastal areas. I can’t do any of these things now and I’m struggling to comprehend how I’ll manage to get through the next 10 weeks. This post is most definitely a stream of consciousness, release writing activity, but I just needed to let this out.