Wednesday, November 7, 2012
What You Want Is Not Always Worth It
I said I wasn't suffering from morning sickness. Well, that was a week ago. Two days after I published that post nausea hit me hard and it does not seem to be going anywhere. It's paralyzing. I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) in my first pregnancy and it is clear I am suffering from it with this one as well. I thought I was going to cope better this time around, because I knew what to expect. It doesn't matter. I swore when I was pregnant with Kai I would never do this to myself again. It's only been five days, but feeling as shitty as I do and remembering it lasted for 9 months with Kai, I can't believe I made it through and I can't imagine I will again. For those of you who are itching to ask: "But it is so worth it in the end, isn't it?", here is my most sincere answer - I don't think it is. This might be hard for you to understand or accept, so let me explain how it works.
I went for a job interview a few weeks ago. It was just when I found out that I was pregnant and still felt fine. I interviewed for a position that I was truly interested in, at a place where I would love to work, with people who seemed like a perfect fit. I left the interview thinking: "If only I wasn't pregnant I'd do anything to get this job." But I was pregnant. And I was dreading that I would accept the position and then have to work while being as sick as I was when I was at my last job. I was dreading it so much that while I was waiting for that phone call, I was thinking of turning down the offer once it comes and telling Peter I didn't get it. For the first time in over five years I was seriously considering lying to my husband.
Because you can't say: "I got a job offer and it's great, but I'd rather not take it just in case I get so extremely sick again in a week or two from now." You can't say it because most people - Peter included - don't entirely understand just how bad it is. I didn't get the job and I did not have to lie to Peter. I could forward him an e-mail that said I was not the chosen one. But the truth is that one thing (like hyperemesis) can lead to a completely different thing (like lying) that leads to a whole set of other issues.
Here is the real problem with "morning" sickness. Everything makes it worse. Smell, touch, breeze, heat, car motion, shower, teeth brushing - everything. Hugs make your skin ache and your stomach flip upside down. Kisses make you throw up. Sex is out of the question. The nausea disappeared right after Kai was born, but other things stayed. I can't stand the feeling of somebody's breath on my skin. It doesn't matter if it's Peter, Kai or myself. If I lie in bed and Peter snuggles, he has to make sure his nose is nowhere close to my bare skin. If I am falling asleep on my side and my arm ends up under my head, I have to put a blanket over it, so I don't feel my own breath on my own skin. This is because while pregnant, as little as a sensation of breath hitting my skin would push me over the edge and make me rush for the bathroom. If you spend 9 months without hugs, kisses and sex (more or less), then you have formed a new habit. You get used to it. Your brain is rewired and you suddenly have to relearn now to hold hands, how to give a welcome kiss, how to be affectionate. If you are not being affectionate, then you are just two people who live next to each other. I am not saying that's a bad thing. It's just not a relationship I want.
It can be fixed. We managed - the first time around. But here we are, doing it again, and I am not as naive as to think that love can conquer it all. I am not saying that I am afraid my marriage will fall apart because of my second pregnancy. I know us and I know we can withstand more. What I am afraid of is that another little spark will die out, and it could be something more serious than my aversion to one's breath on my skin. What I am saying is that when you spend a certain amount of time in a survival mode, it's very hard to unlearn it. What I also want to say is that if you aren't forced to stop holding hands, then make sure you don't.
I can't change the situation I am in. It is what it is. Some things will get better. Some things will change for the worse. And that's why I think that in the end, no matter how much you want something, it is not always worth it.