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Sunday, 29 July 2007


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I think I get where you're coming from. You've got the furniture and the baby isn't here yet...perhaps it's one of those see-it-to-believe-it situations. You've been through a lot and the act of buying this furniture says "there's a baby coming"...but the baby isn't here yet. It's a strange emotional circle. You are doing so well, and it is perfectly fine to feel what you do. Mom will come around.


That could have been me shopping with your mom. Not only would I have had concerns about having a live baby to actually use the stuff, but I would have agonized about choosing the 'perfect' things (like the furniture that you have in your mind -- not that which was available in the shops).

I do think however, that your concerns about a take-home baby are stronger than they should be. You're far enough along, that odds are great that you'll have a healthy baby, even if it were to arrive today. Having said that, I can still understand the fear that something else could go wrong.

As for your mom being the perfect person to help postpartum, I think she's the only one convinced of that. I hope you're in a position to be able to send her away if you're feeling confident enough after the baby is born to not have her stressing you about everything.


I was completely and totally overwhelmed when I went shopping for baby furniture when I was pregnant. It's like I almost couldn't breathe in those stores. I'm sorry your day ended in tears, but I really do think it's a natural reaction given the situation.

And I have to disagree with the previous poster. I had very, very strong fears about not getting a take home baby in the end while I was pregnant, even up until when I walked into the hospital to be induced. I was terrified, completely terrified even when I "should" have been in the clear. You have to feel the way you feel.


I am still terrified at somehow losing the baby and I am at 36 weeks. In fact I cried hysterically yesterday because of the stress. I don't think people who have not lost a pregnancy can understand what is it like. And shopping for a baby is extremely stressful too, because there are so many choices involved, you want the best for the baby, but you have no idea what you will really need. Your mum can not be useful because she is from a different generation when having a baby was not such a big deal (you could drink and smoke and have the baby sleep on her belly...). It was hard for me to order the baby stuff, but I did it on the internet and it was easier that way. Good luck with everything.


Everything you said made sense to me. The fear is awful and it doesn't go away. You seem like a tremendously well informed and educated person, as am I (I'm also quite modest about it, apparently...), and I must say that hurts us a bit when it comes to this stuff. It's terrifying to know too much about what can go wrong. When my perinatologists learned that my husband and I each had PhDs in the sciences, one of them cautioned us that, if we possibly could, he would recommend us trying to remain as ignorant as possible of much of the worst-case scenario possibilities unless they proved necessary to know about. The grammar there was awful but you get the idea. Anyway, we didn't entirely follow his advice at the time, but in hindsight I can see that he was trying to protect our fragile emotional state as best he could. Anyway, once you have the knowledge, there's no going back, and it's terrifying. I do believe you have the best possible chance at this point. You're so far along, the odds of anything terrible happening now are really extremely slim.

Try not to worry about your Mom. I know, I know, but do try. Hopefully she remembers enough about what it's like to be immediately pre- and post-partum to know that everyone is an emotional basketcase around this time, and of course it's going to be drastically worse for you after all this. And she's your Mom-- she'll love you no matter how bizarre your behavior gets. That's the nice thing about Moms.


I may be talking out of my ass here (as I normally do), but here's my thought:

It's hard enough sustaining one's belief that one will make it through 9 mos of pregnancy and come home with a healthy baby, especially when infertility and miscarriages preceed. Maybe for you, it might feel like you must also carry that belief for your mother, or anyone else who has all the dreams and plans for your baby and as you get closer and closer to your due date, the more people will build on those expectations. Expectations of you.

I honestly wouldn't know what to advice you on how to defray that except by asking those who are closer to give you to understand that there's certain pressures you uniquely deal with. I just can hope that it will get easier.


Dear Thalia, I wonder if there will ever be a post of yours that makes me think "Naaa, no idea what she's on about." Here, again, you've described something I have been feeling for some time. I can only imagine how fraught that shopping trip was. Even thinking about it makes me anxious -- I've avoided practically all purchases so far, and the stuff that's going to be lent to us will stay where it is for as long as possible. I can't even begin to articulate why a shoppiing trip strikes fear and dread into my heart, when at this point it looks so likely that things will work out. Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that there are less than two months to go now, and that is so unfathomably soon for something that I still cannot fully wrap my head around.

As for your mother, I understand that part of it viscerally too. I'll be in a similar situation with mine staying for a while after the birth, and I'm so afraid that, while she'll want to help, she might be just exactly what I don't need. There are far too many emotional layers and obligations mixed in to make it a completely worry-free setup, so I'm wondering whether emotionally it may be more than I can handle.

Just my way of saying I hear you. I wish I could have gone shopping with you instead -- it might have taken some of the pressure off. Plus I'd have given you some of the trail mix I usually keep on hand for emergencies.


I was incredibly stressed when we were putting the nursery together. We started much earlier because of the possibility the twins would arrive early so I had not yet even come close to really believing that the pregnancy would end with two healthy babies. I did have the bedrest excuse so I didn't get out much for the shopping - in a way shopping online for stuff made it seem much less real. It helped to do things that way.
I guess I'm just trying to say, it's understandable the way you feel. It is exciting to be buying things for the baby but it also involves a commitment to a happy ending that we're just not used to getting.

B. Mare

I so know where you are coming from. I had to take a major leap of faith buying the baby stuff- it was really, really hard at first, and still is some days. Today when I was buying the curtains which I had been excitedly drooling over for a few weeks, I kept having dark moments where I wondered what we will do with all of this stuff (and what a lot of money I will have wasted) if we don't ever get to bring our baby home. Lovely, huh?

My assvice is to do is one piece at a time, one day at a time. And as it comes together, I think maybe you will start to become a little more confident that there is going to be baby at the end of this.


You know, although all of the emotional stuff is certainly very real and no doubt played a large role in your exhaustion from yesterday, I wouldn't dismiss the role of the physical toll of pregnancy. It sounds like an exceedingly long day, and not being properly fed surely contributed to everything being that much more difficult.

I hope you're ultimately happy with the furniture you choose--I'm sure it'll be lovely. Try to get some rest today!


No assvice here, just sending you a big, big squeeze, friend. Thinking of you. xx


To echo some previous posters, lack of food can do this exact thing to me. If I'm a bit emotional, I'll get weepier. And if my husband didn't help when I called and gave an excuse of being hungover? Ahhh, they are lucky to have been dealing with you. I would've been ten times more upset.

Thalia, I sincerely truly believe that your baby will be fine, healthy and perfect. You've taken heparin, and baby aspirin and your Doctor is happy and those are all logical things to keep repeating to yourself. But I've been through a pregnancy after a loss, and I know you won't believe it will all work out until the baby is here & kicking. It is perfectly absolutely normal for you to feel that way.

My first pregnancy we bought everything, furniture etc. and were completely clueless and happy all along. And it worked out, and I had lots to pass on for the next baby, who didn't make it and didn't get to use any of it. When I finally got pregnant with Mac and managed to stay pregnant, I couldn't buy anything. I finally convinced myself to buy some newborn diapers and seriously? That was the hardest purchase I'd ever made in my life.

I was frozen with terror the whole trip there and back. I finally managed to buy some outfits for him only because I convinced myself that if he died at birth he'd still need to be dressed for the funeral. Ridiculous, insane, illogical, but it was my thought process.

I had to buy a glider rocker and a new stroller ahead of time as well, but instead of buying them that day I just ordered them and arranged for them to be delivered after the baby came. Inwardly I just kept thinking that when things all went wrong I could cancel them. Again, kind of dark thinking, but it made sense to me!

As for your mother? Hmmm, how about having her and a nanny on hand to help? I know that friend of mine would know of a service for sure. Then if your mother drives you a bit nuts, (mine would....) well, at least you'll have a backup plan.

Jo in Utah

I think the mother stuff is some of what is going on for you. Which is why this is tied up with your mother too. With this baby, EVERY single relationship in your life is going to change. The one with your own mother is fraught with emotions, and after all this, all these years, tears and heartbreak, you stand on the the threshold of finally being a mother and how in the world are you going to do it right? Every woman is scared to become a mother, it is normal to be terrified, to have nightmares about doing something really stupid. It'll get better. Be kind to yourself.


Sounds like a riot. I hope your mum takes it in her stride. I also find it hard to get appropriately motivated when I'm not in the mood. Hopefully the next mood swing is up, up, up.



I am dealing with a bit of this post-partum. I truly wasn't confident about having take-home babies until I heard them cry after delivery. Now I feel a bit blind-sided by how hard it is to have newborn twins when I spent so much of my pregnancy hoping and praying we'd actually get to this point.
The odds are SO in your favor of having a take-home baby, but the fear is normal after everything you've been through to get to this point.


Oh yeah. I remember having a complete meltdown over the color of the crib sheets. I still don't know if I could pinpoint exactly why it was so difficult to make those decisions and why it seemed so important, but I think some of it was the (self-imposed) pressure of, I wanted this baby so badly, now I need to be the perfect mother (perfect apparently extending to nursery decor) to show that I'm worthy. And if I made the wrong decision about even the smallest thing, it would prove I didn't deserve it.

I hope your mother came away from that realizing that she's going to need to learn to handle her own upset right now. It's a tricky thing, because of course the birth of your child is an important life event for her too (something I found really hard to remember when I was in the depths of bedrest self-pity and annoyed at my mother-in-law for this or that). But in those first few weeks post-partum, you're going to need people around you whose feelings you won't worry about hurting--or at least can suspend worrying about hurting for the time being. I made my mother wait two weeks before allowing her to come stay with us, and was indeed "horrible to her with impunity." If you decide that you can't have her stay with you right away, that is completely OK.

I hope you are feeling better. And give yourself a break--between hormones and total life upheaval, it's only natural that you'll feel unhinged some (most) of the time.


I'm so sorry it was stressful for you. I had an incredibly hard time making decisions while pregnant. Every choice was emotionally charged. Take a few days and if you still feel the furniture isn't right, go change it to something else. My husband calls me the habitual returner. I hardly ever keep my first purchase b/c I end up feeling forced to make a decision and then once I think it over, I return it and get what I really wanted.

And with your mom staying after you come home with the baby, maybe try to limit the expectations of how much help you need. I know my own mother drives me batty. I had my husband at home the first week, then I was fine on my own, even with a c-section recovery both times. I had my mother come for a day here or there to help with housework and minding the baby while I napped. I couldn't handle her there 24/7.
Good luck!


Reading this post & imagining myself in your position, I completely understood your breakdown. It WAS stressful! And I also understand why it makes little sense now. In hindsight, it almost seemed ungrateful & spoiled. That's why you feel rotten about it now. We understand. I hope that makes you feel better!


Meltdowns are just part of the process - when we infertiles have been through so much disappointment, we forget how to process joy. I had a meltdown the day my agency told me I would be traveling to get my baby in less than a year...my brain just couldn't believe it. The good news is that the baby WILL be here, and you WILL get through it all, and very soon those meltdowns will be in between moments of pure unadulterated bliss. Hang in there!


Don't be too hard on yourself; I had an anxiety attack and started crying when I went into the baby item area of our market - and that just had baby food and nappies!

When you've wanted something so much for so long, it's frightening because you don't know that it can't be "taken away". It's still tenuous. And buying furniture for the baby's room IS a big deal. Plus, your hormones are on overload. Melissa's suggestion to keep your expectations low/reasonable is key - for your mom, and everything else. Hang in there - you're doing so well, even if you may not always feel like it. :)


There's way too much emotion and energy and history tied up in buying baby gear for it not to be difficult. Give yourself permission to be emotional, you have well enough reason.

I too was worried about having my sometimes difficult mother on hand after the birth of my twins. It turned out fine in the end and I was enormously grateful for her help. It actually helped repair some infertility-related damage the relationship had endured.

Almost there! Hope these last few weeks are peaceful, healthy and happy.


Although I had all these amazing plans in my head for the nursery, I ultimately just went out and bought all the cheap stuff. Cheap crib. Cheap changing table. We put the clothes in cheap baskets painted white. I think that it was my way of avoiding the need to be perfect and the feeling that putting together the "perfect" nursery, the look I had imagined for so long, was my first way to demonstrate my skills as a parent. Putting together the nursery made me feel like I did when I was choosing my wedding dress, at the ripe ol' age of 34 and dealing with almost a lifetime of imaginings.

Your doing well, fine, and more than fine in getting through this. Hang in there!


I am sorry you are feeling so overwhelmed. Don't underestimate those pregnancy hormones -- they intensify everything to the point that it is unbearable so much of the time. I do hope that you can find the right combination of preparedness and "not-taking-this-for-grantedness" that you can feel more comfortable soon.

Hang in there!


"Should" and feelings rarely belong in the same sentence. You've had a tough fertility journey and you're in the home stretch. And having a baby in any case is terrifying--those who aren't at least occasionally anxious are probably skilled at denial.

Feel free to cancel the furniture, especially if it makes you feel better, or even might do so. You can put a hold on the order. Furniturewise, we bought a glider (still in use nearly 4 years later) and a co-sleeper beforehand, nothing else. A few months after baby we bought a crib. We used an existing dresser and put a pad on top of it for a changing table.

My opinion is that baby gear is much like wedding paraphernalia--it's an industry sprung up to make you think you need things, and to distract you with shiny, pretty things from the big life change ahead.

Decisions are hard even when there aren't so many of them, and you aren't in a hormonal ruckus. Try to be gentle to yourself. Imagine the advice you'd give to someone else, and try to take it yourself.


Wow, you could be writing about me and my mother. We have had very similar interactions. I just want to say "hey, I'm the pregnant woman here, I'm the one with the hormones, you don't get to be so sensitive when I say stupid things. You should understand!" But of course, I can't say that. I too am struggling over having my mother come when our baby is born.

And both my husband and I have freaked out in baby stores. My husband with this pregnancy, me when we were adopting our first child. And I mean I had a major anxiety attack.

I can't explain it, but I sure understand. Know you aren't the only one!

Lut C.

Are you kidding? That's quite an ambitious shopping trip.
I've entered a baby shop 5 times in the last 2 months and haven't bought a single thing. One exception was a gift for a baby's christening.

Last weekend we went to a big store, just to look at suitable strollers. We had to measure them to see which one would fit in our building's elevator. I was feeling stressed out and ready to leave after trying to measure just one model!

We left without buying anything, again, even though there were still some sales going on.

And indeed, in the back of my mind, I'm still wondering whether this is really our time.

Lady In Waiting

First, you summed up my reaction to Romeo and Juliet perfectly.

Shopping for baby furniture certainly brings all your feelings to a head: what you went through to get to this point, your fears about this pregnancy, etc. Your reactions throughout the day make perfect sense to me. I am impressed that you made it in and out of all of those stores without breaking down. Honestly, if I went into a store like that right now I would have to fight back tears. And I have only been in IF hell for 14 months or so.

Your mother needs to understand where you are coming from. It sounds like you did a fine job explaining your feelings to her by the end of the night. Bravo as I often find that so hard to do with my own mother.


Your reaction strikes me as totally normal, honestly.

Before my son (IVF #4) was born, I had. myself, bought for him precisely one item of clothing. In a consignment shop. Because I stumbled across it and it had the nickname I use for my DH on it. And in a fit of optimism, allowed myself/him to be feted by two very kind and generous sets of friends at two showers. And accepted a loaner bassinet. And had the nursery painted -- but the room needed it anyway and the color is neutral. Oh, and I did make sure we had a good, safe, infant carseat and that this was fitted safely in the vehicle.

That's it. Even that, honestly, felt optimistic. I did not read a single book on breastfeeding. Or babies. Nor did I buy the car I would need, as the one I had offered no place for an infant seat to go (DH's does, and drove us home from the hospital). No, no, no.

And he arrived, safe and sound, as the statistics indicate your baby is very, very, very likely to do. But the anxieties beforehand? Totally normal. And couple those with the pregnancy hormones? Honestly, I think your Mum should have expected your reaction and not been the least startled by it.

Oh, and I am tremendously close to my Mum who was a tremendous, tremendous help after DS was born but even then...I did want to be LEFT ALONG sometimes. I'm just warning you (and giving you a heads-up because that, too, is normal).


Blech. The anxiety sucks. I wanted to crawl off to a cave and be alone the whole time I was pregnant.
I hope it gets better for you soon.


Oh, my dear -- please cut yourself some slack! You are dealing with both raging hormones, and with trying to "believe" in your pregnancy after prolonged infertility. In the interests of making nice, you should not actually say it to her -- but you know your mum was at fault here. Although it was a while ago, surely she remembers the general nutsiness of pregnancy? (I was a complete nutcase in the last two trimesters, and then for a couple of months after the birth -- and I am someone who has never ever been bothered by PMS or any hormonal stuff.) And all that running around all day, trying to make decisions about something you've worried about for a long time, and not eating enough -- and then you wonder why you had a meltdown? Puh-leeze! You know, we make fun of the term "delicate condition" now, but really, pregnancy is rather a delicate condition! So be good to yourself. Surround yourself with people who can be good to you without your having to prompt them or fight for it. And feel free to take back the furniture, or anything else you please. Nobody's gonna argue with the pregnant lady! :)


This is completely understandable Thalia, the fears, the stresses, the worries about it all. It's totally exhausting doing all that shopping shit and that's when you're NOT pregnant. Let alone after extended infertility.

It's ok. Your mum will be great after the baby is born, you will be glad to have her with you. You just need to let her know that you are on edge and scared and tired and it wasn't her and that you are glad to have her with you. Get your husband to ring and tell her if it's too hard or speak to her in a couple of days.

You are doing brilliantly. Be kind to yourself.



This is completely understandable. It's so strange to be finally having a BABY!

That said, I would consider hiring a postnatal Doula for some additional help, ostensibly to take some of the load off your mum ...


Oh, T. That is a stressful day. You've had so many emotions pent up for so many years with the hope of getting to needing a crib. Then, it is here and it is overwhelming.

I, too, picked out things without my DH (he was working). I had a terrible time choosing things and it was terribly stressful. Like yours, my mother wanted to be SO involved in it since she was SO excited about her grandbaby, but I kept pulling her back. Calming her down, reminding her that we might not make it. IF stole a lot from me and now I see it steals from other people too.

I am sure your mother will understand, as she pointed out that she can handle your "impunity." I am sure when you talk to your mother again you'll be able to explain a bit better.

Be easy on yourself, T.


I felt that way shopping for Lucky, and I was holding him in my arms. It's such a culmination of all the highs and lows you been through. It's understandable!

Urban Chick

oh gosh, totally normal, i'd say

((hugs)) for you, Thalia



i have had days excatly like this. it doesn't matter that you're far enough along to know things will almost certainly be just fine. that doesn't change what you've been through or the MASSIVE change you know is about to take place in your life. no one should expect "rational" from a pregnant infertile in this department.

plus i would not diminish the significance of shopping all day without satisfactory meals. the blood sugar thing in pregnancy is no joke and has a huge impact on my ability to handle stress and emotional swings.

i hope you got a day of lounging in the bath or [insert your preferred indulgence] after all that.

Pamela Jeanne

If I put myself in your shoes I think it's perfectly understandable that your emotions would be see-sawing about during this kind of experience. While I've never been pregnant, I can't imagine it would be easy to fall into preparing for a baby as though the anxieties from infertility never happened. Those impacts are long lasting and the hormones from pregnancy and the stress from mother-daughter visits all added up to be combustible. I think I would have reacted the same way...


Oh Thalia ~ you described (so accurately) exactly how I felt from the moment I got pregnant until I gave birth. Its all overwhelming - you are on the verge of a huge life change and this is the case for anyone. The stress that you endured to get to this point makes it even worse. Just let yourself cry when you need to, stop when you have had enough baby prepping, and remember that the love that you have for this child already is more then enough to make you a most excellent mom.


You were out shopping all day long, having to make big decisions on your own, without good (or any?) food and I'm sorry - what? Honestly, I don't understand why your Mom got upset (was it your tone?) - I would have had to have collapsed as soon as I walked through the door.

And just like Amanda, I was absolutely petrified that I still wouldn't get a take home baby. Actually I was afraid something would happen to the baby on the way home from the hospital too - so you're alright with me! But then again, it's me, so...


I went through a similar pre-birth experience. It's very normal. You are feeling very overwhelmed and to have to make that many decisions in one day is HARD. At one point, I couldn't even decide on what colour I want in hooded towels, let alone pick a style and stain for the furniture. One day at a time.
Take care.

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