The overwhelm has been big lately. Between working full time, parenting 3 and 4 year old boys, the exhaustion of the 3rd trimester, and the extra anxiety that comes along with being pregnant after loss (PAL), there has been little time for me to focus on me. Truth be told, I’ve never been good about putting myself first. I’m more of a make sure others are taken care of before myself kind of gal. This became more apparent over the years, during our quest for kids, multiple pregnancies, and in parenting after loss.
For me, and I suspect for many others during PAL, it is easy to put all of the focus on the baby. After all, it takes just about everything to get through each day wondering if this is the day something may go wrong. And the thing is, I know how important self-care is, and even encourage it amongst friends. But when it comes to me, well…
So recently, I did something uncharacteristic…I took a trip to Bellingham, Washington. By myself. For a girl’s weekend with my college roommates. And it. Was. Amazing.
When the notion of this trip came initially came about months ago, I asked my doctor what she thought. I was going to be 31 weeks, and it would be a four hour plane ride, followed by an hour and a half car ride. She told me then that there should be no reason why I couldn’t go, but as it got closer, even though I knew I wanted to go, and that I should go, the fear of “what if” loomed large. But as plans came together, the excitement of being with everyone for the first time in seven years got the better of me, and the trip was booked. I sheepishly told my doctor at my next appointment, and she was all-in, especially when I told her it was just the girls. “Hell yeah, you should go!” I believe were her exact words. (Did I mention I love my doc?)
Having that time away got me outside of my own head, a true feat in itself. It reminded me of the importance of having a group of friends who can take me way outside of my element without even trying. This trip was a reminder of the importance of having a variety of friends surrounding me during PAL—those who understand the PAL experience, and those who can distract me from it.
For a short while, I was a “regular” pregnant lady laughing hysterically over past memories, while creating new ones. It wasn’t about my past losses. It wasn’t about my current pregnancy. It wasn’t about about my family back in Chicago, or my work. It was about me being present, and enjoying the moment. It was about letting go, and once again finding a sense normalcy. This trip gave me the permission to relax and be the me before my current me. Permission I’m pretty sure I took away from myself long ago. And you know what? It was worth it.