Today is the official first day of the final month of pregnancy. Similar to the majority of first time fathers, I am excited and pretty damned anxious. I still have not packed my dad bag, I seriously need to get on that, I’ll do it tonight. I have installed both the car seats. We will be having them checked by the licensed car seat guy at a local police station this week. The Pack n Play bassinet is setup in our room and the nursery is as ready as it’s going to be…we are prepared, but the anxiety is festering.
A couple weeks ago I realized I never have positive dreams, they are either random and really have no point or they are scary (using scary as an adjective as an adult is weird to me, but I can’t think of a better word) or depressing. Luckily, I have not really had any dreams about the pregnancy or having a child, but I have had some really negative thoughts which can be challenging to deal with at times. I worked with children and adults with developmental and intellectually disabilities for almost the first ten years of my career and I heard all types of sad and distressing stories about the etiology of the disabilities. I have also worked in the mental health field, so I have experienced a broad spectrum of the difficulties individuals and their families cope with…and when I start thinking about all these possible issues, I freak out a little. I know I have limited control over these things, but like all parents I want the best for my child.
So what do I do? I typically take a minute or two to focus on the thought, process it, then I let it go. This is not a simple task all and some thoughts do occur more than once, but overall this strategy has worked. I will give the most disheartening thought I have had as the example. As I have noted early in this blog, K had two back-to-back miscarriages prior to this pregnancy. The first was an ectopic which we did not know about until the day the pregnancy ruptured and the second was at eight weeks. I also read other blogs and hear stories from people about other pregnancy related issues, specifically still births. Based on this background, I have experienced several thoughts about getting this far in and experiencing that sort of loss. When these occur I take a minute and think about the indescribable pain and sorrow others have gone through with this experience, then I turn the focus on myself and K and think what that situation would be like and how that tragedy would impact our lives. Then I attempt to think about the facts to this point, how differently this pregnancy has progressed from the beginning compared to the others, how the doctor’s appointments have gone, how K has been feeling, and how remarkable being a father is going to be…then I continue on with my day.
I can honestly say this process is not easy, but I am glad the practice has worked so far. We have four more weeks until the due date, the excitement is building (and I am not an emotional guy). I for one am ready to be completely perplexed why she is crying, because at least I can attempt to care for her.