When Fear Doesn’t End

FearisaPrison

It’s been a while since I shared my thoughts, fears and hopes with the world. I loved blogging about my journey at Loving An Angel Instead. It was a beautiful way to share my feelings and thoughts, and heal a little bit further with each post I published. But then lightening struck once more, and my world was shattered even further when my mom passed away unexpectedly in October, only 5 months after my daughter was taken from my womb. At that time, I had the feeling that my life had turned into a bad soap opera, with the most unspeakable events occurring in a short amount of time. Although I might have looked strong at the time, I was devastated… I shut down, I stopped blogging, and in a way, I stopped living.

Then a new year arrived. We had been trying to conceive again for a few months, but with all that happened just weeks before, I had told myself that new hope would take time to arrive. I went to sleep one night, with my exercise bag packed for the next day. That night I dreamt about my mother… She told me to put the backpack away, and take a pregnancy test. So I did. And yes, it was a lot more than just a dream. I was… pregnant!

Filled with hope and joy I told my husband, and at the exact same time of speaking the words “I am pregnant” out loud, a breathtaking fear grabbed hold of me as I imagined the worst happening again. Not only because it happened before, but also because the timings were exactly the same. I got pregnant with Sahar during a city trip to London, and I got pregnant with Ayden during a city trip to Paris. Sahar was due September 5th, and Ayden was due September 16th. So many similarities… Some days I told myself that this was a gift Sahar sent us, and other days, it just terrified me as I saw the season change and my bump grow, all exactly like the year before.

I didn’t tell anyone about my pregnancy. I even kept the truth from family members by avoiding gatherings and parties. I adjusted my clothing to hide my bump (which was soon enough noticeable). I stayed away from public places. I disabled tagging and public posts on Facebook. I did most of my shopping online.

But it would only be temporary! Sahar was diagnosed as incompatible with life at 22 weeks gestation. Once we made it there, things would get better. Then I would be able to enjoy. Then I would be able to celebrate. Then I would be able to share my pregnancy with the world. Then I would be carefree again. But for the time being, I had to keep it a secret. I had to be careful. Because I couldn’t imagine myself telling everyone about another loss, I just couldn’t.

Those 22 weeks arrived and passed, and my little rainbow was inside my womb, safe and sound, growing, kicking and getting stronger with each passing day. But my anxiety only increased. Thoughts of loss grabbed a hold of me even more. I became obsessed with feeling my baby kick, but even that wouldn’t entirely calm me. The only thing that would calm me and take away the fear for a brief moment, were the ultrasound dates I had with our little rainbow. Those brief moments in which I could see him with my own eyes, and hear the doctor repeating the words: “He’s completely perfect.” But then I would leave the practice, and sometimes anxiety would catch up with me that same day.

My OB warned me about post-partum depression. She told me that I was more susceptible to it because of the loss we suffered with Sahar. Seriously? Post-partum depression? That’s impossible. After all we’ve been through? If I get to hold this bundle of joy I will be happier than I could ever imagine! There will be no room for depression or sadness, I said. Once I finally give birth, everything will be better. Then he’ll be in front of me, I will be able to hold him, kiss him, and see with my own eyes that he’s okay. If something is wrong I will be able to take him to the doctor and help him. I will be in control. And all this anxiety will go away. That’s what I kept telling my husband. That’s what I kept telling myself. And I was truly convinced that that’s how it would be.

Ayden filled our hearts with joy, love and gratitude on September 15th as he entered this world crying after a very long delivery (but oh so worth it!). I knew I would be ecstatic to finally hold him in my arms, but what I had imagined didn’t even come close, it was so much more… It’s a feeling I just can describe in words… He is… everything. Now my anxiety will finally be gone, all is going to be better! And in many ways, it is better. He fills my heart with so much joy, that I’m living la vie en rose. I truly am. I love every single minute of motherhood: the happy, the tired, the funny, the sleepy, the tender, the loud, the quiet, the challenging, the rewarding, the wet and smelly, the love… I love them all.

Except those times… The ones that I wake up at night 3 hours after his last feeding wondering why he hasn’t woken up yet. The times I set an alarm max four hours after a feeding just to check up on him, but it never actually goes off, since my inner clock does a far better job. The ones that I go check up on his breathing, even when he’s lying right next to me with the angelcare monitor turned on. Those times when terrible thoughts play like a real life movie inside my head and my heart cringes ‘till I hold him in my arms. Those times when I’m counting the hours to call daycare and ask how he’s doing, even after a month. The ones when I realize that there are no guarantees, even after a successful pregnancy.

And there aren’t any guarantees. Life is full of misfortune, terrible accidents, and downright evil. It’s always been that way. It wasn’t different before I lost Sahar. It wasn’t different before I lost my mom. It’s always been this way and it always will. The only difference is that now, I’m constantly aware of it, aware of every little thing that might possibly happen. My radar is always set to danger.

It’s an article, Understanding Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: What I Wish I’d Known as a New Mom, that the incredible Lindsey Henke shared on Facebook, that made me realize that this anxiety that I’m feeling, these thoughts that I’m having, are all symptoms of PTSD and / or post-partum depression. Yes post-partum depression! I had a completely different idea of how that would be. Not being able to bond with your baby, wanting time away from baby, stuff like that. But that’s not necessarily the case. Just minutes after reading that post, I was calling the therapist that was helping me throughout my pregnancy. I have an appointment next week. I need help to deal with these feelings, fears and thoughts. It will take time, work and dedication, but it’s possible, it can be done.

I am so ready to be completely and profoundly happy, I am so ready to be the best mom I can be to Ayden and Sahar, to live life to it’s fullest. I am so ready to be free!! Here starts a new journey. Here starts a new road. Life, joy, happiness, peace of mind, healing… Here I come. If you recognize any of these symptoms: acknowledge them, take a deep breath and join me.

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By | 2016-10-13T17:17:21+00:00 March 3rd, 2015|Emotional Health, The First Year|1 Comment

About the Author:

Laila Bougria
Laila Bougria was born and brought up in Antwerp, Belgium, but will soon be moving to London to pursue new dreams and adventures with her family. She is software developer and photographer, but above all, she is a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife, and last but mostly, a mother to two beautiful children. Her firstborn girl Sahar, was born on May 7th 2013 at 22 weeks gestation, after being diagnosed with severe hydrocephalus and therefore incompatible with life outside the womb. She stayed to say goodbye for a very brief moment and now lives in the hearts of her parents and family. Her little rainbow boy Ayden, was due just 11 days shy from his little sister Sahar, and arrived safe and sound into this world on September 15th, 2014. After losing Sahar, Laila started a healing journey through a blog at Loving an Angel instead, on which she shared grief and joy, sorrow and hope, fears and dreams. It was a bit quiet over there during her rainbow pregnancy, but she has now found her way back to it. She has been a guest writer on Lindsey Henke's beautiful site at Stillborn and Still Breathing, and is deeply honored to share her experiences with our readers here. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, or through her blog.

One Comment

  1. […] support about my journey in pregnancy and anxiety after loss. Writing that post (which you can read here), hit me like a tsunami. It was hard and so incredibly beautiful to do at the same time, and the […]

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