After much back and forth I have decided to share this post. I was worried I’d freak people out or out myself as a weirdo. I even asked a good friend to read it and let me know if it was too much. She responded with, “Oh my god I had the SAME THING.” So here it goes.
*WARNING* I’m talking about some disturbing thoughts in this post. I won’t go into details, but proceed with caution.
I’m coming to the end of week 30 and this week has brought on a new and…. interesting symptom. I’m calling this a pregnancy symptom because I have never experienced it before pregnancy and because I have learned that hormones basically run everything. EVERYTHING.
Recently I have started to have horrific thoughts flash through my head. Often. Imagine any weapon that can be used to harm or kill a person being used directly and solely on a pregnant belly. We’re talking Violet Turner on Private Practice (season two) violent. Yikes right?!
Sometimes these thoughts are triggered by loosely correlated stimuli, like grabbing a butter knife to make a sandwich and then BAM, what a knife could do to a pregnant belly pops up. But sometimes they are completely random. They are super graphic and they are always happening to me personally. It’s quite disturbing.
Now for me these pop up and then disappear. They don’t make me anxious, I know they aren’t based in reality. They don’t linger. They don’t scare me (other than wondering wtf is wrong with me that my brain is concocting these). They just are there and then they are gone. I’m sure it’s rooted in some primordial survival instinct to protect my young or some crap. Whatever evolution.
Anyway, they have had me thinking. I work, and have worked, with a fair amount of people for whom thoughts like this are not a pregnancy symptom. For them thoughts of being harmed or killed are their daily, weekly, yearly experience. But for the people I have worked with the thoughts do not come and go without harm. They get stuck. They work their way into the realm of possibility, making them debilitating.
If I were to imagine for one second that any of these thoughts could or would actually take place, I’d never leave my house. This is yet another symptom that has given me a greater understanding and empathy for the experience of others.
To go through life with these thoughts and pictures as a normal occurrence would be exhausting and terrifying. So now when people talk about this phenomenon I can have a better sense of the helplessness of it. But what do I DO with it? To try and relate my experience to theirs would be unfair. I’m not impacted (other than brief inconvenience) by these thoughts, but they are. To say, “Oh hey, me too!” would be so invalidating. So how do I translate new awareness and understanding into something concrete, something helpful? This is a never ending question in my work.
I am always aiming to better myself as a professional. I seek out CEUs (beyond those required), conferences, trainings, and certifications. But who woulda thunk that all the craziness that comes with pregnancy would be so impactful to my practice as a therapist. Not me. Good one universe.
For now my take home message is, TALK ABOUT IT. Talk about what you are going through, pregnant or not. We humans often think we are the odd balls, the outliers. I almost didn’t publish this because I was afraid of what others would think of me, I still am. Which helped me realize that’s exactly why I should publish it. The thoughts that no one talks about are the ones we feel alone with. So say what you’re afraid to say. As a therapist I have probably heard it before, really. As a fellow person I might just say, “Oh my god ME TOO” and it will feel a hell of a lot less lonely for the both of us.
*Written at week 30, then sat around for three weeks unpublished because I’m pregnant and tired and spell checking was just too much. This symptom has since gone away (mostly).