When I was pregnant with Amy, I relied quite a bit on the power of positive thinking. I’ve always believed in the power of the mind over the body – the placebo effect kind of speaks for itself, in my opinion. So when I was pregnant, I engaged in all manner of positive thinking and visualizations. Before I went to bed every night, I would visualize my blood flowing nicely through my body, unobstructed, not clotting. I’d visualize Dan and I with a baby. When we got to the hospital, and they told me what we needed most was for the amniotic sac to get up off my cervix, I spent hours in the hospital bed visualizing the baby floating up towards my rib cage, and then, when they pulled me off the magnesium, I spent hours visualizing my uterus being relaxed and my cervix being tightly closed. Anything positive I could think of.
The night I woke up and realized I was leaking fluid, fairly certain it was my water breaking, I was so scared and upset I started shaking, but then I remembered it was my job to stay relaxed, keep her safe, so I just went back to positive thinking. Visualizing us with a little girl, an older little girl, one who clearly had survived this terrifying time and was now happy and doing little girl things. I still see her sometimes.
But it didn’t work. She’s not here. And now, I’m a little down on the power of positive thinking. Lots of days, I want more to collapse into a puddle of “why me’s” and “everything bad always happens to me’s” than to engage in a series of positive visualizations that so clearly didn’t pan out last time. When I landed in the hospital, I was so positive, so calm, so utterly and completely optimistic – I wouldn’t have thought I was capable of such calm. I have an anxiety disorder; freaking out is my status quo. But I was calm, and I was positive, and I was planning for the future with my baby. My mind was unable to control my body. So why should I think it could the next time?
I feel a little like I’m planning to jump without a safety net, because that was it. And I’ve also lost my favorite anxiety game, which is “what is the worst that could actually happen?” forcing myself to discard obscure, extremely unlikely scenarios. But the answer to that isn’t exactly comforting anymore, either. And I can’t even be one of those people who says, well, I’ve already experienced the worst that could possibly happen, so let’s go for it, because I didn’t, really. Losing your baby is almost the worst thing that could happen, but there is one thing that would be worse, which is that we could both die. Where am I supposed to go from there?