Friday, June 8, 2012

Fighting Fear During Pregnancy

Part of my decision to announce this pregnancy so early was because I wanted to be able to share my experience of what being pregnant is like after experiencing pregnancy loss. I, obviously, have not given very many updates on this pregnancy. In part, because the last two months have been a whirlwind of events--packing up, traveling for nearly two weeks across the country, and attempting to get settled in and all of the odds-and-end yet urgent things taken care of--and partially because perhaps I haven't wanted to write how I've really felt.

When you put your thoughts or feelings into words it solidifies them--perhaps making them a little bit more true and real than maybe you want them to be. I think that has been me lately.

In spite of being committed to loving my pregnancy it has been a challenge. I knew that it might be an experience that is laced with fear --and it has been just that. I haven't wanted to really accept that, so I think that is partially why I have avoided writing about it.

The first trimester was probably easier because I had a constant reminder that I was still pregnant--nausea. It was never too bad (I am so blessed with "easy" pregnancies) and I only threw up twice. And one of those two times I actually thought was quite a comical experience.

As I started into the second trimester the nausea was dissipating, which for most people is a great thing; however, for me not feeling pregnant was no comfort at all. I wrote about wondering if I was even still pregnant just before we heard our baby's heartbeat for the first time in April. In that post I wrote about the peace that I received from Christ's words in the scriptures.

It seems as though my life, particularly this pregnancy, is a continual ebb and flow of fear and pleading to God in prayer for an increase of faith and then receiving tender mercies, experiences and teaching moments which bring me to a place of comfort and then I fall into fear again.

I know some moms feel really connected to their babies from the moment of conception, I can't say that I'm one of those moms. Excited and thrilled and filled with love for this unknown spirit --yes, most definitely! But would I say I feel close to babies early on in pregnancy. Not really. Which is weird because no one else is closer--the child is inside of me!  But that's just the way it is for me. It was that way with Luke and it has been that way again. It's hard this time though because I have a very deep longing to feel close to this baby and to feel it nowWhat if this is the only time I have with this child? I need to love it and embrace it before it is possibly taken from me. So I plead and pray that I can feel close to my little baby.

It doesn't help that my body carries babies in a way that I can see and maybe close family members or friends who are familiar with my build can start to see about now, but to anyone else I don't even look pregnant for a long time into my pregnancy. I, of course, was hoping that that would be different this go-around. You're supposed to show sooner with each subsequent pregnancy, right? Well not me. My ribs widen and my hips widen and everything pretty much stays tucked inside all nice. I'm sure most women would love to carry their babies this way. You don't really feel fat, no bump gets in the way, it's easy to still sleep on your stomach, your regular clothes fit you for most of pregnancy. Sounds great right? Well it's awful!!! I would give almost anything for physical evidence that this little child is still alive and growing.

I am so grateful that I have a loving Father in Heaven that hears the pleadings of my heart and blesses me with sweet tender mercies. Some members of my family have already read this, but I've decided to share a very momentous experience that occured during this pregnancy. I wrote about it in my journal and will include a portion of that journal entry.


May 19, 2012 

This morning I woke up early and prayed and read my scriptures and went back to sleep. (Tired pregnant mamma). The next time I woke up (around 8 am) I laid there thinking about my baby--wondering and wishing for more evidence.

The Lord hears our pleas and the prayers of our hearts.

I laid on my back and began to feel my stomach--pressing ever so slightly to try to feel if my uterus was actually indeed still growing and getting bigger (in spite of me not really looking very pregnant at all . . . even at 3 and a half months!). I could feel it and continued to press gently, but firmly around feeling things out. I slowly increased the pressure to see if I could feel my baby. Not at first, but with time I could begin to feel what felt like our baby! I thought back to when Brindy (Sherri's apprentice) would press firmly and feel around to locate Luke and recognize what direction or position he was in. I proceeded to do as she had done feeling around and acquainting myself with what has going on inside of me. It felt as though this baby was near the top of my uterus and acquainting is just what happened! As I poked and prodded ever so lovingly I felt a little nudge back at me!

A gasp of excitement and almost disbelief. My heart raced with excitement and joy and gratitude greater than words could express.

"Hi baby"

I continued to prod some more for reassurance that it wasn't just my imagination, even though I had felt it more sure than ever! I felt another movement in response to my nudge and tears were simply flowing from the corners of my eyes as I laid on my back. I have never wept so much from joy and happiness. I couldn't have been more thrilled. I couldn't have--in an instance--felt more connected to my baby. I continued to cry and gently nudged around some more just pleading for a third little acknowledgment that this baby was really here. Really still alive and really still with me.

A third movement! 


After that sweet experience I did not continue to feel my baby regularly. And actually didn't really start feeling regular flutters of movement until this past week. This, in a way, sometimes caused me to allow the fear cycle to begin again, but I have tried to not forget this experience of reassurance which I was blessed with. I have tried to remember it and to share it with others. I have tried to remember that God gave me a sweet gift when I needed it most of being able to feel my baby move and to feel the life that this baby, who is currently in me, has. I have tried to remember that this child's life is in the hands of God and that I need to have the continued faith and trust in His will --the faith that I have had in acknowledging His control and plan for Luke. He has a plan for this child too and I need to trust Him -- even if sometimes I worry and fear and dread His will, because it may not be what I want for me. 

Oh what an increase of faith I still need!  But even though my faith is not perfect I am so grateful that our Father in Heaven loves me enough to bless me with comfort and answers to my prayers. In spite of my weakness and lack of faith He has made His Hand visible in my life. I am so grateful to Him for this!  


  1. So wonderful - I am so happy for you and hope you are all doing well! Thanks again for sharing your faith and courage with all of us! Love you!

  2. Three things:

    1) I still feel you're one of the bravest women I know. Thanks for your example.

    2) Reading this and hearing how you carry your babies, I thought 'Gee, that sounds wonderful'--I've been in maternity pants since week 4 because I've been so bloated and big! I'm definitely carrying my baby straight out in front of me! It's a comfort, to see the evidence, but it's a jump into a new wardrobe straight from the start (yay for Maxi dresses!)

    3)When are you due? I'm due at Thanksgiving, and I have a feeling we're right about equal on the time schedule here.

    Best of luck--and if it's all the same, I feel the same way you do. I feel very pregnant, but I don't feel my baby yet, and so I have a hard time feeling a relationship with baby. I can't wait to feel little movements down there :) Then maybe this will all seem more real--and not just like a terminal illness!

  3. Your post is so beautiful. It reminds me of the father in the scriptures who brings his ailing son to Jesus to be healed, and when his faith is questioned he replies, "Yea Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!" I think that account expresses the very real feeling many of us often have of being faithful--and still a bit fearful--almost at the same time. I think the Lord's merciful and miraculous response shows how much he understands our hearts and accepts our faith with all its imperfections, while still being eager to bless us with strengthened faith. Thanks for your inspiring words, Shelley.

    1. Shannon, thanks for sharing. The past few days I have thought back on how I've felt and this scripture. I don't think I had really understood the father in this particular event very well especially because his words seem so contradictory --believing yet having unbelief, but now it seems like such a real connection to how I feel.

  4. There are so many things I'd like to talk to you about....I'm so sad you're so far away!!! I can't imagine the fear you feel every day... After what happened to Luke I was so scared during Kaleb's pregnancy. I think about what a pathetic, tiny, fraction my fear is to the fear you must feel and I feel guilty again. I pray that you can find comfort here and there and I pray for your new precious baby. I hope those little movements continue to get stronger and more frequent, they are so reassuring. Thank you for sharing, I'm often afraid to comment because I'm afraid I'll say something stupid, hopefully I haven't done too bad... I love you!

    1. Oh Lizzy, I appreciate your comments so much and I don't think you'd ever say anything stupid. I would not blame you for feeling any amount of fear during your pregnancy. When we have so much love for our little ones I think it is impossible not to. Thank you for your prayers. I am so blessed to be loved by wonderful people like yourself. Love you!

  5. Shelley, You have a beautiful way with words and I was inspired reading about your faith filled reflections on Luke and your current pregnancy. Your birth story, although heartbreaking to read also brought me peace that God truly is over all. Thanks for sharing this with me.

  6. The Lord is wonderfully merciful in comforting us at our most trying times. You are amazing with your words and your testimony.

  7. First off, What an incredible experience with your little one. Heavenly Father is so tender to let you feel your baby. Second I can't imagine what you are going through. I have no idea how I am going to respond once I actually get pregnant. I have not been pregnant for so long that I have forgotten what its even like. I hope, like you that I will be able to connect with my baby and enjoy the time we have together, because we never know what the Lord has in store for us. I love your faith. You inspire me. Miss you cutie! I hope you can have some peace during this pregnancy.