I want to document my experience of pregnancy from the very start, but that’s going to have to wait. What’s on my heart right now is this sense of waiting and impending doom, and I feel like maybe that’s more common in pregnant ladies than we might think.
I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which means my thyroid doesn’t work well. It’s given me a host of issues to deal with over the past few years, but what weighs on me right now is that it increases your risk of miscarriage. When I was first confirmed pregnant, my TSH was 12. In the two times we’ve tested since then it’s dropped to 6 and stayed at 6, which are both bad, high numbers. Everyone wants it to drop under 2.
I’m also low-progesterone (possibly a complication of HT). That means I get a big shot of hormone in my butt cheek twice per week, and I’m also taking daily suppositories. It’s hard not to feel like a science experiment or a medical emergency that might end in heartache any day now.
Spoiler alert: I’m still pregnant right now.
But. The fear that this isn’t going to work out, that I am now 10 weeks and “it’s going to happen or not in the next 2 weeks,” or “it could happen at any time after that” is unbearable sometimes. It makes it hard to “glow,” or to share the news without wanting to cry and give tons of disclaimers. Or do anything much but stare at things and try to reason this out with God.
It’s also become a spiritual thing that I hope someone can help me with:
- I know God works all things for good
- But the “good” is really, really painful sometimes
- I’m afraid of the “good” that would come from a miscarriage
That’s what’s on my mind when I’m crying on the couch each evening, and what I’m asking the trees and clouds when I amble outside and pretend to get a little sunshine in the morning. When I can’t work, that’s what’s on my mind, too.
(Don’t get me started on work. The freelancer mid-life crisis is in full swing.)
So, yes, another life experience is on its way, fraught with opportunities to “let go and let God,” try to give up control, try to accept that I’m not in control of anything, try to accept that everything that happens will be good. But I feel a little like a traitor or a fake to be terrified of that good and anxious of when it’s going to strike.
What do you think?
“If the body and sex were mean to proclaim our union with God, and if there is an enemy who wants to separate us from God, what do you think he is going to attack? If we want to know what is most sacred in this world, all we need do is look for what is most violently profaned.”
Introduction to Theology of the Body, Christopher West
Growing up in the 1990s, my first memory of “The Talk” was when my mom sat me down and told me that men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love.
Looking back, my mom was clearly trying to protect me from the way the world looks at sex.
But, as you can imagine, my pre-teen self was like:
Unfortunately, talk about sexuality pretty much ended there. I was prepped on the physical side of things (what goes where, and when) and my mom wanted my brothers and I to be open with our questions, but I didn’t get a Catholic perspective on sex except that when you’re Catholic you don’t have sex until you’re married.
Even more unfortunately, that’s pretty much how the rest of society (including myself until age 31) summarizes the Catholic approach to sex: don’t do it until you’re married. And then, silence.
I can’t count the ways in which this is a shame. Not only does the silence create a perfect breeding ground for Screwtape to jump in there and wreak havoc (AKA pornography, premarital sex, friends with benefits, R-rated movies, “explore your sexuality,” “try out homosexuality,” and everything else), but it leaves a huge, sinking whole in the place that should contain the vision of what sexuality is meant to be.
It’s just like our buddy Langston Hughes said so long ago:
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Looking out into the world today, it’s clear that the dream of Catholic sexuality died somewhere. Our idea of love, sex, and marriage in the secular world is barren and lifeless. It’s not a safe place, it’s a battle trench. It’s not empowering, it’s a weighted anchor. And it’s all because Screwtape knows how important sex is to living a full life in tune with God’s plan.
The solution? Let’s start talking about how awesome married Catholic sex is! Not in a prurient, secular way. But in a way that affirms that it’s something worth waiting for. That it’s something special, something to be desired, and something that isn’t “bad until you’re married and then suddenly good, but only for babies.”
God made sex, and God made the body. God loves both. But both are meant for the sacrament of marriage. Outside that sacrament, it’s not that sex becomes bad; it’s that it becomes disordered. It’s no longer a sacred gift from God. It no longer is for your good, nor does it have your best interests in mind. Inside of marriage, sex brings you closer to God. Outside of marriage, sex brings you further away.