Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Emotional and Mental Barrier in Pregnancy

I never thought about the little things people say to a pregnant woman in pregnancy until recently.  I'm five months pregnant after seven losses, and my mind is already in an interesting place, but it's made me realize that everything you say to a pregnant woman has an impact.

The other day, I was involved in a discussion where a woman compared taking medications like Unisom and Zofran for Hyperemesis Gravidarium to Thalidomide and DES (Diethylstilbestrol) that was given out years ago to pregnant women.  Neither of those medications are on the market anymore because of the awful effects they had on the unborn baby, but it takes your mind to a place it doesn't want to go.

Thalidomide caused babies to be born without arms and legs and DES was found to cause infertility and sterility in female children.

It is extremely common to use medications and procedures in pregnancy without proper studies, so this has happened multiple times throughout history until they found they left profound impacts on unborn babies.

It is starting to become more common to research like mad in pregnancy to make sure you are doing the best thing for your unborn baby, but sometimes, you can't avoid interventions such as a medication that hasn't been fully studied.

I have been incredibly lucky this pregnancy and I haven't (yet) had to be admitted to the hospital for dehydration, though this comes at a price that does scare me.  I take a Unisom every night when I go to sleep so I can partially function the next day, and when that doesn't curb the extreme nausea and vomiting, I have Zofran on hand.  Every time I take a pill, I'm scared I am hurting my baby.  I wonder if ten to fifty years down the road they realize these weren't safe and I was doing more harm.

In the conversation where the medications I am currently taking were compared to medications that did cause severe issues in babies, it was really hard to separate the logic from the emotional.  I know without a doubt that for me the medication is necessary.  I have an almost five year old I have to be functional for, and I need to stay hydrated and nourished to be able to grow my baby.  I know this.

However, in pregnancy, your mind doesn't seem to work the same way.  Even if I know all this, all the doubts and worries and fears came rushing back to the surface.  It is incredibly hard to remember why you are making certain choices when the fear clouds your mind.

In truth, it's exhausting when you aren't able to simply let things roll off like you would if you weren't pregnant.

The mental and emotional barrier in pregnancy is thinner, if that's the right word to use.  You aren't just worrying about your own health anymore, there's another person that is completely dependent on you for survival.  It's an entirely different mental state than breastfeeding and raising a child.  Every choice I make right now has the potential to benefit or risk the health of my baby.  In reality, it's a lot of pressure!

Think to yourself, are you making that easier or harder on other women?  I do think that the more information a woman has about pregnancy and birth the better choices she will make for herself, but are we giving them more to worry about because we don't have their whole story?

The woman in the conversation didn't realize the impact she had on me, and probably the other pregnant women involved also going through the hell that is HG.  It's probably extremely hard to understand the mindset of a pregnant woman that feels she truly has no choice but to turn to medication when she has tried her entire life to live naturally.

Sometimes, we need to trust that a pregnant woman truly does understand what she is doing.  Sometimes, we need to let things go because unless we have been through the exact same thing, we don't know why they are choosing it.  Sometimes, it's best not to say anything.

And if what you are saying could cause her to worry more than she already is, especially if her entire life has been about living the opposite way?  It's definitely a good idea to step away and keep your thoughts to yourself.


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