Does anyone LISTEN to a pregnant woman?

Getting pregnant is stressful.  Am I pregnant?  Is my period late? Is it too early to take a pee on the stick test?  What if I am pregnant, I once walked through the wine section at Pick ‘n Pay, maybe that would have harmed the baby?

And so the mental psychotic conversation starts and pretty much remains in place for how ever long you are “trying” to fall pregnant for.

Assuming you want to be pregnant, there is about 67 seconds when you see two blue lines on your pregnancy test, and you are elated.

You are high fiving yourself in the bathroom, and you are really happy.

Your hand is urine soaked as you had to hold it in your urine stream, whilst trying to balance precariously, but a positive pregnancy test (assuming you are not 12 years old, or you are doing that one child per man you have dated thing) is truly a moment of divine happiness.

It really is just  that moment in time when you feel like you have conquered the world, and eaten a fat-free triple-chocolate cake that actually made you lose weight!

Then you worry.  Worry becomes you constant companion.  Sometimes he brings along anxiety and a full stress-screaming-like-a-banshee.

You worry because now you need to book at the OGBYN and you worry about whether there will be a heart beat and whether everything will be fine.  So though you are elated, the happiness is singed by a feeling of doom and anxiety. And worry.

At the OBGYN when you see the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa heart beat you are joyously happy again.  But only until you climb back in the car in the parking area, as you are back to worrying about the next thing, and thinking that four weeks between OBGYN visits and the scan is tortuously long.  And you have not even got out of the hospital parking lot yet.

What if I miscarry?

What if something I am doing injures the baby?

What if I decide to name the baby Whitney or Barnabus and my child is mercilessly beaten up at school?

What if the fact that I am worrying leads to a higher risk of there being something wrong, everyone tells me to not be so stressed — but now I am worrying about worrying!

At certain times in your pregnancy (granted only in your first) you feel like you are carrying “the holy one” – everyone fawns over you and when you walk in to a room, you can see people’s features soften and usually someone offers you a seat.  Or a foot rub.  Or unnecessary advice.

I met a divine woman this weekend I had met once before whilst she was pregnant, Nicole.  When I saw Nicole that first time, I thought yikes she looks uncomfortable and she was only about 6 months along then.

Nicole told me all about the last few weeks of pregnancy and the eventual early delivery of Lucas. {I am ad libbing the story, so if you would like to hear the full unedited version, I can hook you up with Nicole, who tells a good story by the way.}

I think the thing that stuck with me after listening to her story, is that she KNEW something was off, and no one listened no matter how many times she put her hand up and said “something is wrong here….”

Things did not feel right, and she kept telling anyone who would listen that “something wasn’t right.”  Everyone patted her on the hand and said things like “now now, dear, you need a lie down and you will feel better when you wake up…”

In the end the fact that she had been leaking amniotic fluid for some time, and clearly going in to full labour way before the baby was ready to come in to the world, did eventually get some attention!

Why must one be on the verge of your baby’s head crowning, and a pool of amniotic fluid collecting whilst you stand in the “10 items or less” queue at Woolworths, before someone takes you seriously?

Nicole finally got to her doctor, and they performed an emergency delivery.  Several weeks following the uhm, difficult emergency birth, her OBGYN confided in her that had she arrived 10 minutes later her uterus would probably have perforated and there was a good chance they would not have been able to save her or the baby.

It made me go cold.

And I think the part that made me purse my lips in a non-attractive way, is that pregnant women are generally just not listened to.  They usually feel too embarrassed to say anything is wrong, partly because when you have a 3 – 4 kilogram person lodged between their diaphragm and bladder and EVERYTHING pretty much feels wrong.

I am not sure of the solution – my only advise to anyone pregnant is to treat your pregnancy as YOUR pregnancy.

Be cautious about advise from do-gooders, and to listen to your body.  If there is a something that does not feel right, don’t take a census to see if everyone agrees.  Make an appointment and get someone with a stethoscope and some KY Jelly (preferably with a medical qualification) to take a look at you.

Insist they find the thing that is making you uncomfortable.  Not going because you do not want to bother your doctor, or be demanding is stupid.

I would rather pay for 10 unnecessary OGBYN visits with scans than have something go wrong, and kick myself that I did not LISTEN to my body earlier.

Congratulations Nicole and Simon on the beautiful Lucas – who my girls are already fawning over!

{With all three children I did more OBGYN visits than necessary.  Georgia’s was definitely the most physically stressful – I had thought she had died in utero on more than occasion. I had arrived at my then OBGYN hysterical – on several occasions. Hysterical and having a loud crying jag does get you squeezed in between visits really fast.  With Isabelle my stress levels were so high I rented one of those electronic doppler things ….but I still stressed}

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Have brain … cannot speak …..

I subscribe to an email which I receive  from the Daily Love each day.  The emails are exceedingly annoying and I often roll my eyes.

But for some reason I do not unsubscribe, though I am itching to.

I probably endure it as there are some of them that really resonate with me.  I scoff and tut-tut them, but the truth is that there is some “truth” in the rather sickly sweet emails and “universal love” messages that appear on my screen each day.

I tend to “delete” most of them, but my eye can’t help doing a quick scan and read.

Today’s email resonated with me a bit.

It dovetails well in to some of the stuff I am working through Dr CBT.  Most of it comes down to what you think the other person knows, but the reality is that they do not know what you want, so are not aware they are not giving you what you want.

In short.  Communication.

The other person doesn’t know, so they do not react accordingly or give you what you need, so you get angry and frustrated with them because they are not doing what you want them to do.

But they do not know.

And so it goes on.

I struggle with the line between not-assertive/assertive and demanding.

Assertive communicating allows for you to express what you need, in a manner that the other person is clear on what you would like them to do.

You make your point, without being judgemental and attacking.  You make it clear what you need in a situation.

You then give the other person the opportunity to respond.  The key difference between assertive and aggressive is the “demand.”

Aggression is you telling someone your preference, and then demanding they act accordingly.  You may demand internally – so you imply it – but it is the expectation that the other person HAS TO DO WHAT YOU WANT OR NEED THEM TO DO.

Assertiveness is you telling someone your preference and allowing them the opportunity choose to either go along with it or not.  It’s a preference and not a demand.  You realise that it is what you want, but you accept that the other person does not have to do anything.  You accept.  What you want is a preference and there is no universal rule that makes it everyone’s MUST DO.

Yes, you would prefer them to go with your preference, but you remain in the space where it is a “preference” and not a “demand.”

It does not mean you are not disappointed when they do not do it the way your preferred, but the key is to keep the thought that it is your preference that they do something, and not your demand.

You cannot force anyone to do something that you want, that they do not want to do – and expect a good result.  Simple concept, difficult to apply.

The reaction to someone not going along with your preference is annoyance.  The reaction to someone not going along with your demand is anger. ** key point.

I make an assumption, and then my assumption turns into my fact, and I start to plan/create feelings based on that – instead of communicating effectively and allowing the other person to state the way they feel, and then I check in with them to see whether my reality is their reality.

I walk in to a conversation with a pre-determined set of demands, because I have internally already had this conversation, so the conversation is not the exchange of preferences, but merely me stating my demands, having decided the outcome, and getting very angry when it does not go to plan.

<<Side bar – it never goes to plan ….. but this does not stop me from repeating the exact same “conversation” over and over again…>>

I saw this on the Daily Love and I read it and thought “Yep that is exactly what I do…”

I had an “ah ha” moment (love those!) over the Holidays. You know there’s a saying that goes something like this… If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family. You know what I’m talking about.

All those times you thought you had grown and become “so spiritual” go right out the door and BOOM – old habits come back like an itch you just can’t scratch.

When they first got here, I was so happy – and then the first hour passed and I noticed some of my old stuff coming up.

And I was shocked, I was SURE I had outgrown it. I went from an almost 30-year-old man into like a 5-year-old boy around them. It was SO funny.

A couple days later I was talking with my dad and I found myself really irritated at him.

And I didn’t know why. So I started asking myself while I was having a conversation with him “why do you feel this way?”

After a few minutes of inquiry I found out that all I wanted was for my dad to say I love you and ask how I was feeling.

And the irritation was coming because that unexpressed expectation wasn’t being met. And my dad had no idea all this was going on inside me.

I was the one who was aware of the Love that I wasn’t “getting” and I was mad about it.

My dad wasn’t aware of this. He has and does Love me the best way he knows how to, and he is a pretty kick ass Dad!

And this isn’t to say I didn’t get Love from them. No, I got a lot of Love – but there was a certain kind of Love that I felt was missing – and I got angry with them because I thought they were withholding it from me.

But my AH HA moment was the moment I realized that I was mad at THEM for something I was supposed to do.

So the breakdown is this… People give us Love the best way that they know how to. They can’t give it any other way than they do. And if we are trying to get orange juice from apples over and over again, not only are we going to keep getting let down, we are actually insane! Haha.

After I started treating my father this way, it was like an instantaneous shift in our relationship. And I didn’t go to him and tell him all this; I just started giving more Love.

My issue that I am having at the moment is that I cannot speak when something needs to be said.   I cannot tell someone what I need from them.  When I do not get what I need, I am hurt, and I then turn that into anger.

But I am not telling the other person what I need  – so they do not have the opportunity to give it to me.  Do you see how fked up this way of thinking is? I am not sure if you are familiar with it.

I wear it like a familiar shirt, over and over again, even though it clashes with everything, and I do not have a pair of shoes to go with it, I still drag this behaviour out and keep wearing it.

I stand there, and it feels like I am standing with my hands crossed over my mouth and unable to speak.  No one is stopping me from speaking.  I am stopping ME FROM SPEAKING.

The result is I get frustrated and then angry, but this only contributes to the situation that I cannot speak when I need to about something I want to change or that I want to happen.

I know how I feel, I know what I should say, but I just can’t come out and say it.

Then the issue gains momentum, and instead of being about one thing, by the time I say something it turns into a violent emotional puke and it is about 12 things, and comes out garbled.

It does not come out in a constructive manner about discussing the issue – it becomes about the fact that I am having a freak out.  And instead of reasonable conversation, it is me screaming.

I am frustrated.  But I can’t seem to speak out about what I need.

I am not sure if this condition is only limited to me, or you may also be a frustrated-communicator ….

The ability to speak in an assertive – non aggressive – manner and say what I think or feel on a subject, without feeling bad is one of the main things me and Dr CBT are tackling to start this year off.  Part of the trick is to practice it, so it means trying to communicate, knowing you are not so great at it, and maybe it not going as you planned it in your heard.

But then you get better for next time.  I am in Grade R for Communicating Effectively at present.

Maybe I am not quite ready to remove myself from the “Daily Love” mailing list – there is a bit too much there that resonates with me.