Ever since I began seeing A. about two and a half years ago the fact that she is very obviously of child bearing age and would thus in all likelihood at some point want to have children has been brewing at the back of my mind. It’s one of those worries that has been there from the get go, and on more than one occasion I have actually talked myself into believing A. was pregnant when she wasn’t. Rather unsurprisingly, this has usually been at times when I myself have been particularly worried about the possibility that I may never get to experience motherhood.
The one thing I’ve always said is that when it does happens, well, I won’t deal well with it. I will hate it.
Now that it has happened, it feels very different to how I imagined it would. I can’t really say whether I’m dealing with it in a good or a bad way, I’m simply dealing with it on a day-to-day, session-to-session basis. Some days it all feels very OK, and on other days not at all. Sometimes the way I feel about A.’s pregnancy will even shift within a single session! And whether my feelings are positive or negative is definitely more random than cyclic.
As I mentioned in my previous post, prior to A. actually telling me she’s pregnant, I had already somehow worked it out, but decided to push it aside. Even though I on almost all levels knew this wasn’t the case, I tried very hard to convince myself that it was just another one of those false alarms, that it was all in my head, all to do with me, nothing to do with reality. I was working very hard at pushing myself into denial, until A. burst the bubble.
The way she broke it to me was something along the lines of “There’s something I need to talk to you about. I think you may already know..” at the very beginning of a session. She then told me she wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to work, in terms of her having time off, but that she thought she’d have three months off. My instant reaction to that was “That’s not very long” failing to explain that by that I meant that it wasn’t very long for the baby. For me, any break longer than a week is an absolute eternity, and fills me with out-of this-world anxiety.
Child-related themes have always been fairly frequent in my therapy, as having children has been my number one dream since I was a kid myself, so it’s hard to say if A. being pregnant has pushed those issues more to the forefront or not – it’s never particularly far off my mind – but I can say one thing for sure: having someone sitting across from you looking very pregnant will inevitably be a bit in your face; it’s not exactly something which can be readily ignored. [Although I have read case studies of clients apparently doing just that right up until the baby was born].
There are so many different aspects to all of this. There’s the outrageously jealous she’s having what I want most of all aspect, there’s the classic but I want to be your baby aspect, the I don’t want to share you with anyone sibling-rivalry perspective and – of course – the I really don’t want to think about it but you’ve been having sex borderline Oedipal side to it. There is also feelings of wow I’m so unbelievably happy for you and the somewhat odd I feel really sad that I won’t get to know this child I see growing before me.
There are moments when I really wish A. wasn’t pregnant, and other times I’m genuinely panicking at the thought of anything going wrong with the pregnancy.
I guess in a way you could say that A.’s being pregnant is one of those boundary blurrings that can’t really be avoided, and as I have said to A. more than once, I have a feeling that the next few months will be a bit of a roller coaster in terms of how I’ll respond to it all. Some days I feel completely freaked out by the huge unknowable factor which comes naturally with something like this: there is no way of knowing exactly from when A. will need to be off, there is no way of knowing when she’ll be back [in my mind I am mentally preparing for a much longer break than three months], there is also no knowing where I’ll be at when the break does happen, and there is no knowing where I’ll be at the end of it. What if things just plummet? What do I do? And, oddly just as frightening; what if I deal really well with the break, cope in a way I hadn’t expected? What would that say about the work we have been doing? About our relationship?
Scary stuff, all of it, let me tell you.
So.. watch this space and brace yourself for more than one serious freak-out.
All the very best and more,
Massive Attack – Teardrop
It really is scary stuff but it seems like you have a good handle on not-having-good-handle…..if that makes sense. During my long-therapy-life I’ve had two different pregnant therapists and I can tell you that I wasn’t half as aware as you are, which means I didn’t deal with it well at all.
Good luck, and I think you can handle your freak-outs!
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Also great to hear from someone who’s been through it – and survived! I am really anxious about this break, and also coping with my ambiguous feelings regarding A.’s pregnancy. It can be hard to own them, especially the negative instincts, but I try.
Once again, thanks for commenting.
Really feeling for you. I have difficulties with pregnant women myself (as we have been trying to have children without success for several years – very painful) so I can empathise with the pain, and to add on top of that the fact that she will be taking all that time OFF! Just awful. :(
Hey you – my most supportive of commentators!
Definitely can be a painful struggle to cope with A.’s pregnantness! [YES, g-darnit, pregnantness IS a word!! — As is g-darnit!!]
It’s hard to watch someone about to have what you want most of all, and dealing with the fear of never having it for yourself.
But, you never know, hopefully – both for you and for me – we, too, will get to experience this miracle.
And all the uncertainty around A. having time off. So hard. I don’t deal well with breaks at the best of times, but when there’s no way of knowing when the break will actually happen, or for how long.. it’s agony..
Lots of thoughts, love and prayers,
You’ve managed to pin point the complex and contradictory feelings a therapist’s pregnancy might evoke. I would be freaking out beyond reason if my T told me she’s pregnant. Definitely be high on jealousy. And anger at her abandoning me (maternity leave) in favour of her “other” child. Keep up the writing. This is good stuff.
Jeffrey, once again – thank you for commenting. I will definitely keep the writing up. At the moment I’m very up and down about how I feel about A. being pregnant. Lots of anxiety regarding The Big Break, but so far – and I’m surprised to say this – abandonment issues haven’t been at the forefront. I’m sure it will though before this is over. Big time!
Landed here by chance after typing “my counsellor is pregnant” into google!
So pleased to see someone feeling the same. Wondering if she’s now had the baby – how did you cope?
Got one session left with mine. Absolutely terrified something will go disastrously wrong for her. :(
Love this post! So self aware.
Thanks for your very kind comment.
Yes, my therapist is now back (and I made it through to the other side!), but only working part-time. It’s been quite a bumpy ride, in terms of rebuilding trust and starting over, as well as getting used to having fewer sessions. But, we’re definitely getting there.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read.
And thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
It sounds like things are very difficult for you just now. A therapist naturally takes a special place in a person’s life and so having that threatened will inevitably be hard to deal with, I think. I struggled a lot both before and during A.’s maternity leave, and at times it got so bad that I had to get extra support from the crisis resolution team in my borough. But, somehow, I did survive the break and although it took a long time to get back to normal, rebuilding trust and restoring confidence in our relationship, we got there in the end. That said, I have to admit that I even now worry about a second maternity leave, so I can absolutely identify with your worries.
Take good care of yourself and once again thank you for stopping by.
Pingback: “Help! My Therapist is Pregnant” | Understanding Me and Her