Looking down, trembling on my hands and knees
It’s the third night in a row of major anxiety and incredible difficulty falling asleep. I took a 30-minute nap around 10 pm and after I woke up, I did some online shopping, which was fun, and then I tried to fall back asleep and, again, just as the nights before, the anxiety literally starts to engulf me and I began to feel completely mentally out of control.
I’ve always had anxiety and obsessive, ruminating thoughts, but merely being pregnant is amping it up another level and I’m not really looking forward to the inevitable post-partum mental breakdown that I am almost guaranteed to experience. I can’t stop thinking about future scenarios. Even absolutely ridiculous ones, like: If we’re still living in this current apartment and the child is 14 and starts smoking on the balcony, how am I going to deal with it? Why am I even concerned with that?
The thoughts I’m mostly having tonight are tethered around loneliness and major fear. I’m so scared to have this baby. I’ve wanted to have a baby with F. ever since I met him, but now that it’s like, I’m going to be 28 weeks next week, and it’s like. . . I have to give birth to it now, no matter what: it’s coming out eventually, and I’m going to be “stuck” with it for the rest of my life, and will be responsible for it for the rest of its life. . . I will never not be a parent again. . . I have to figure out a way to provide for it at all times, be stable and not insane. . . What if it destroys my relationship with F., what if F. gets too stressed out and things spiral out of control? How are we going to prepare for all the stressors and improve our communication so things don’t become too overwhelming? We haven’t even found a name that I feel 90% comfortable with. What if the child end sup sucking or being a horrible person, or squanders their life, or gets into terrible social environments, or ends up an alcoholic or other substance abuse. . . that will all, at least partially, be my fault, somewhere along the line.
How can I be a good parent when I’m like, barely a person? What if they fall terminally ill, or get into a terrible accident? What if they’re some obnoxious, extroverted risk taker? What if I can’t handle being touched because I already don’t really like being touched as it is. . . What if something happens to my partner and we fall into severe poverty and it cascades into damaging my child who’ll have already just lost their father? What if they hate and resent me for bringing them into the world? What if they turn out to be some ecofascist or a fucking nationalist neo-nazi?
I’m still an immigrant in France and need to work on getting my citizenship, but what if they hate me because I’m American, or it embarrasses them or somehow causes them problems? What if something happens and I end up having to return to the US without my child? Or, if I have to move back there with them, and they can’t handle it, and it’s too harsh on them? What if I end up alone and single in France and can’t cope living here on my own, but can’t or won’t want to traumatize my child by forcing them to relocate to the US and lose all their memories, friends and culture?
How am I going to handle living with a small child every single day for three years? Will I be able to do everything I want to do with them, as far as education and training? What if they accidentally lick a power strip? We need a perforator to attach the bookshelf to the wall. We need this damn perforator and we still don’t have it and the bookshelf could kill a small child. What if the baby pulls one of the dresser drawers open and because the dresser is in front of the bed, it falls at an angle and crushes them? What if I forget to hide my phone charger and it electrocutes the baby, somehow? What if they take a toy and smash my vitrine and my porcelains? How am I going to explain my mental illnesses to them in a way healthy way? How am I going to be a good parent, especially, considering my mental illnesses, and that I’ll have basically zero shared culture with them, and their mother language will always be non-native to me? What about in school, if they write an incredible paper, and I struggle to fully comprehend it because of my lack of understanding of French, and I can’t express my admiration of their work because I’ll never be French like them? What if they look down on me for being a SAHM? What if famine spreads, how will I feed them? What if there’s another world war, how will I explain it to them and keep them safe? What if I get sick and they have to watch me wither away and die before they’re 20 years old? They’re not even here yet.
My mom’s post-partum depression once involved her taking one of my dad’s guns and locking herself in the bedroom with me. Thankfully, there are no guns here, and I didn’t reproduce at 22 with a man 12 years older than me, who I met in a bar, but still—I’m scared. And I’m scared I’m simply destined to fucking fail and it’s really hard to accept that I will. Failure is unavoidable. And success is more awful than failing, so I’m truly far beyond screwed. The only solace is knowing I can always kill myself. But then, even killing myself will be harder because I won’t want to hurt them that way. . . AH. . . I won’t even have the freedom of suicide anymore. But what if I have a baby and have to kill myself because I’ve failed them so miserably that dying would be less traumatic for them than my continuing to live? I’m also like, “nothing good can ever come from me: this child is doomed.” It’s hard for me to believe that they will be healthy, typical, or have a better life than mine because it’s hard for me to believe that I can create or do anything positive.
The fact we just moved somewhere that I like is a double-edged sword because, although I love our home and where we live, it’s very triggering since it doesn’t feel secure. It’s not yet been a full month here, and knowing now how easily this life can be ripped apart, shattered and lit up in flames makes the situation feel so unsafe and undependable, and I feel like having a baby with those sentiments in the background isn’t very good. It’s already such an unknown and such a massive personality crisis, it’s very hard to manage so much change and instability. Plus, I’m so scared of becoming attached to this place or feeling home—here or anywhere—because of how easily it can all be lost. How will I create a safe, stable home, when I don’t even feel safe or stable here?
On top of that, I had to do my makeup for some government photos today, which was the first time I did a full face of makeup since getting pregnant. I only wore a bit of makeup one other time. . . so, I’ve really limited my exposure. Not that I ever even wanted to do my makeup before, given how unbelievably awful the past five months have been, but it was so nice to do my makeup today and I realized how much I missed it. It was the first time since April that I felt like something more than a formless undefined blob of dough. But then the guilt of knowing the fetus’s blood has been infiltrated by petroleum and plastic and endocrine-disrupting, carcinogenic chemicals. . . And knowing that I likely won’t be able to do my makeup again for months after they’re born. . . That I’ll feel like a formless blob of dough again but probably something far worse. . . And it reminded me of how many fucking gross losers on Twitter messaged me to tell me that if I “had a baby, I wouldn’t post selfies.” (like; probably five, when once is more than anyone ever deserves to read. I remembered this because I took some selfies and I would normally always take selfies whenever I wore makeup before). Anytime I remember being told that, it almost makes me regret getting pregnant. Hexes on those bastards.
Then, there is all the baby stuff to buy and figure out, and the due date is rapidly approaching, and in the worst-case scenario, the baby could be delivered, technically, any day now. And I feel so lost and overwhelmed. I haven’t had some of my bloodwork or urine tests done in a couple of months, so I’m nervous because I need to know what’s going on, and am anxious if whether or not I have preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Although it’s not urgent, I just need to get it done this week, and I’m going for sure tomorrow, it’s scary to know these things are possibilities. . . and if I do have a complication: What will we do? It’ll hurt so much because it will undoubtedly feel like a personal FAILURE. Besides, we still have so much furniture to buy and arranging to do. . . And the fact my parents are dead is really pissing me off because it would be SO NICE TO TALK TO ONE OF THEM IF THEY WERE NOT DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSING FUCKS WHO DECIDED ESCAPING, AVOIDING, AND GETTING FUCKED UP WERE MORE USEFUL AND WORTHWHILE ENDEAVORS THAN ANYTHING ELSE. . . And F. has to go to the south all next week, leaving me alone, which is the last thing I need or want. All this moving and re-packing and moving and re-packing and moving over months, in addition to his shitty, exploitative ********** job, has left me feeling super neglected and alone. All I want for the next two months is 200 times the attention I get on my birthday, almost every day, and to be coddled and spoilt and to dedicate any free time not focused on me, on getting this apartment and everything prepared for the baby.
Gosh, it’s so overwhelming and I’m so beyond terrified. Oh well. <3