Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part V

Anxiety.

A very big part of my PAL journey is wrapped up in that one little word.

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I have been continuing to write weekly entries into a Word document where I am essentially journaling through this pregnancy, mostly for my own sake, but perhaps to share in snippets with others (now or in the future), and anxiety has been one of the most frequently recurring themes. In case you’re curious, joy seems to be giving it a run for its money; humility and thankfulness being runners-up.

It takes a big bite of courage paired with a gulp of honesty for me to publicly share how real anxiety is for me.
How big a part it has played in my life this year (and not just this year, but since that’s my current topic of conversation, it’s where I will stick for now).
Let me share, by picking & choosing, a few of the more notable times I have written about anxiety in this PAL journey with my Sweet Teen.

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Four Weeks …~…~…
I invite you to share with me in the Lord’s work—to walk through the hope and rejoicing, to navigate the fear and the anxiety, to experience vicariously the psychoanalyzing of every twinge and the microscopic scrutinizing of every piece of toilet paper.

Five Weeks …~…~…
Anxiety is bubbling up around me in more noticeable, tangible ways than it has yet in this pregnancy. I feel naked, exposed, vulnerable.

Six Weeks …~…~…
I am so afraid to hope and so afraid to be joyful. Even though there is a sliver of me that wants to shout from the rooftops that the Lord has filled my womb—I want to plan and prepare and anticipate and expect an autumn baby—I want to let the kids kiss my tummy and pray aloud all day for the little baby without wincing in my heart of anxiety.

Nine Weeks …~…~…
Coping with the emotional aspects of very real and present anxiety can be the ugliest and most monstrous of challenges—it is the type of battle where my enemies are invisible, my battle lines are blurry, my armor is thin, my weaponry is inadequate. This is a challenge where understanding sympathy is harder to come by… the average joe can not grasp this mysteriously invisible war on anxiety…
Anxiety can be my worst enemy. I focus a lot on purposeful resting right now, on breathing and praying, on being still. Meanwhile, anxiety threatens to clench my chest and speed my heart until my palms are sweaty and my ears are ringing. I run to the bathroom neurotically, not because I have to go, but because I want to make sure I’m not bleeding—I just need to check that tissue once more. There is part of me that just assumes that one of these mornings, I will wake up in a pool of blood. And every day that it doesn’t happen, rather than revel in the unbelievable joy that is the Lord’s tender mercy made new yet again, I tend to resign myself to thinking, well, not today but maybe tomorrow.

Sixteen Weeks …~…~…
Of course, staying in prayer and in Scripture and reading good things to encourage my spirit in the Lord is good always but I won’t pretend that it is a magic fix for my anxiety and worries, or that suddenly when I seek to hold my thoughts captive by resting in the Lord that it all clicks and works 100%. It doesn’t, because I am still a sinner, and I still live in a fallen world.

Seventeen Weeks …~…~…
In those moments when the anxiety is particularly cutting—when there is a pink tinge on the toilet paper, when it has been two days since feeling movement, when I can not quickly find the heartbeat on the doppler, when I am feeling tender pressure “down there”—I want to focus less on the worry and anxiety, and more on trusting and committing my way to the Lord.

Twenty-Four Weeks …~…~…
This pregnancy has not been without its complications, and it has been full of abundant anxiety on my part. But it’s miraculous.

Twenty-Seven Weeks …~…~…
As I was thinking this evening about going to my OB appointment tomorrow morning, I started to panic rather fully and ended up in tears simply because of my vivid imagination running away with me and getting the better of me. I was imagining being there by myself—usually I don’t have to go alone, but I will be alone tomorrow which scares me so much—and them not being able to find the baby’s heartbeat, and having to be by myself at a terrible ultrasound or something. How just thinking about something like that could get me into a total panic and a total teary mess is ridiculous. It shows how absolutely vulnerable and anxiety-prone I truly am.
It is not only my duty but also my joy and privilege to trust in Him alone. If I give up of myself—including the inner turmoil of anxiety, worry, fear, doubt—my trust in Him will cause my roots to be deep, strong, and abiding to the point of producing good fruit.

Twenty-Eight Weeks …~…~…
In my moments of the most anxiety, the most doubt, the times when I am tearful and feeling sick… these are the times when I know I need to throw myself at the feet of my merciful Lord! Why is it so much easier to have that knowledge in my head than it is to actually follow through with it by faith?

Twenty-Nine Weeks …~…~…
The physical struggles that have come with this pregnancy coupled with the overwhelming anxiety that darkens my eyes and fills my heart now on an almost daily basis leave me feeling vulnerable and naked before my family, the friends who peer into my life right now, and even You. Lord, would You clothe me? Please cover me with Your pinions and outstretched hand. Put Your whole armor on me. So often these days I feel the schemes of the devil himself threatening to choke me—he taunts me in my pain and nausea, he plagues me with blinding anxiety that fills my days and my nights with terrors and fears. Wrestling the physical battles of flesh and blood is real enough in pregnancy: the pressure, the pain, the inability to sleep comfortably, the continued nausea—just to give a few common examples, but Lord, You know the deepest and hardest parts. Wrestling the invisible battles are even harder because keeping my feet up, putting ice packs on my neck, taking Tylenol or Zofran—they don’t do a thing. When I close my eyes and envision the nightmare of delivering my baby ten weeks too soon, it is spiritual forces of evil in their invisible cloaks that are grasping and twisting my nerves, slicing my heart to pieces, making my heart pound and my eyes overflow with tears. Oh God! Strike down these powers and these dark rulers and authorities—they have no power over me!
There is nothing like the anxiety I have been battling recently, especially this week. The internalized fears paired with the physical things that exacerbate my worries threatens to choke me every day, and has me in tears by the time evening arrives. Even in sleep, my dreams focus on the anxiety and inhibit my rest.

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Please know that as I share these selected snippets with you, they are just that: selected snippets. The document I have been writing during this pregnancy is already 82 pages long, so very clearly this is just a small and very narrow glimpse into my experience. I wanted to share with you a view into the side of PAL that is anxiety… but it is only one facet. Please remember that. Please know that the Lord is my shepherd, and I am His joyful sheep. Please know that my husband, my parents, my children, and my medical team are all not only aware of the anxiety, but participating in both the struggles & the solutions with me.

That said, if you too find yourself overcome with anxiety, especially during a Pregnancy After Loss(es), I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to be reassured that it is a normal part of this particular experience. I want you to know that your level of anxiety does not say anything about your walk with Christ, nor does it generally effect the child within your womb.
And as always, please remember that I am a comment or an email away. If you need someone to walk alongside you during a similar journey, I’m here ~ and I want you to know that I truly believe in living out Romans 1:3-4 in a tangibly empathetic way.

2 Replies to “Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part V”

  1. Anxiety is certainly a real thing for many of us. It can be in us, surfacing here and there and beat back by faith and a strong effort at focusing on other things, but then in a time of trial and testing come back overpowering, paralyzing.
    Thank you for sharing this part of your walk. Thank you for not pretending to be perfect. Thank you for showing your weak spots to the world in order strengthen others by them.
    <3

  2. ((Hugs))
    What Bobbi said… thank you for being so real and for sharing your heart and your journey with us. Christ is very evident in your life!

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