Thursday, 1 October 2009

Baby Edition: Fear


You are messing with my mind. And my body. Why, do you ask?

Well, as we get further into this, I'm being made VERY aware of the body/mind separation. The body is a very old, very traditional thing. It does its thing, growing the baby, taking what it needs, doing its baby making...whether or not my mind actually agrees with what it's doing. And if the body is tired, it doesn't matter technically what the mind wants to do. The mind is, basically, screwed.

And it's so weird to think that there is such a separation. I never thought it before. But it's true: the mind is just the topping on the cake. The cake will do its thing regardless.

And. And.

It's not you. It's me. Well, maybe it's a bit you. Why? The people that ask to touch the belly (even when I assure that there is nothing to feel there yet) astound me. But the people that just reach out to do it with no advance warning? They freak me out more.

I mean as in, literally freak me out.

Please do me a favour and remember this : there's something like one in six women that was physically (sexually) or emotionally abused as a young child. I'm one of them.

For these women, you invading their space and, in some cases (as what actually happened to me the other day and why I am including this in this post) giving them a flashback - back to that time, back to the insecurity, the fear, the ... lack of control ... everything. The whole kit-n-caboodle, as they say.

It is not fun, I assure you.

The nice thing (I suppose) is that this happened, and I did find out that it is very common for survivors of abuse to have these feelings and flashbacks during pregnancy, because it is a very losing control type of time. So now I'm working through these new issues (after the time I thought I had dealt with everything stemming from it. *sigh*)

It's just so odd to have this happen and realize how prevalent it is. And how absolutely, utterly determined I am, bar NOTHING, that anything bad will happen to you, little Loks, if I can help it. Or if your papa can help it. We got your back, little baby.


Benjamin Stürmer said...

My sincere Mitleid that you had to endure someone touching you without your permission. I've seen people do that to pregnant women before, and I cannot comprehend what they think they're doing, patting some strange woman on the tummy without so much as a "please may I."

I had a similar experience a couple of months ago while I was interpreting at a trade fair in Brussels. The first day, the guy I was working for just reached out and gripped the flab on my side with two fingers, and just stood there pinching and pulling at it while he told me how fat I was getting. It felt incredibly invasive and, as you said, like a loss of control over my own borders. I fortunately never had the sort of experiences you did as a child, so I can't imagine how awful a flashback to something like that must be.

In any case, as far as I'm concerned you have every right to smack anyone who does that right upside their head. One unwanted touch deserves another, no?

Kerri said...

I adore you, but I think you know that. This wasn't an easy post for you to write, and I think you've hit on something pregnant women feel, but don't talk about. Not only is there an internal little someone controlling your body, but externally, people feel that your body has become community property. Now I know years back, my mom was always touching pregnant tummies. Like always. Then about a year ago she did it and the woman really told her off. My mom didn't get it, and I tried to reduce it in simple terms, and she understood.

And that's what I think this post will do, make others understand that even if their intentions are innocent, they need to remember it's not their body, their memory, their baby.

(((hugs))) BB!

sarah e stevens said...

I am sending you huge amounts of love, my dear friend. Love for you and heaps of admiration for how brave you are in writing this post. It brought tears to my eyes because of its raw truth & power.

Brave, brave, wonderful Jen!

Heidi Yantzi said...

Thank you for writing this... not just for your baby but for every woman who's ever known that feeling.

I love pregnant bellies, but I won't reach out and grab someone I don't know! Even though I want to! If I know her, I'll ask her if I may. I remember trying to turn away to avoid a stranger's hands. It doesn't matter how irrational those fears are - they're yours. That baby is yours. Your body, even though you're sharing it right now, is still yours. Pregnant bellies are not public property!

You just brought out subjects few people are brave enough to talk about. Thank you. And your child will thank you some day for your bravery and your beautiful honesty.

pseudosu said...

Oh bb. Wonderful post, very brave. Very brave, so brave of you to be going though with this whole baby thing in the first place. The losing control aspect is just one of the many things about it that is simply too terrifying for me to contemplate.

Also, so weird-- yet another thing we have in common bb. Just remember you're a survivor not a victim. Love you kiddo. :)

Ello said...

Jen, I'm so sorry that you had such a horrible thing happen to you. I'm giving you a big hug.

And I understand how invasive pregnancy can feel. I was never one of those radiant pregnant moms. I didn't enjoy the invasion of my body. But it is all worth it and my 3 girls are everything in the world to me. And you will do everything you can, bar none, to protect your child. It is an innate Motherly instinct.

Erin Halm said...

This was a great post and one that I´m sure wasn´t easy to write. You are very brave and what you have overcome is incredible.

I don´t know what it is about people and pregnant bellies, but everyone does seem to want to touch you. Maybe it´s some sort of Jung-esque collective unconscious thing. But it is annoying when you are the pregnant woman being pawed all the time, even when you know that the intentions are good and supportive ones.

I´m glad the pregnancy is going well though. All that you have been through in life will make you a better mom too.