On Being Anxious and Pregnant

My masseuse doesn't speak often and when she does, her voice is soft and measured. "You carry a lot of tension in your hips," she tells me.

"I know," I sniffle into the face rest, willing the sheet to soak up the feelings leaking from my eyes before I have to flip over.

I have felt it for weeks. The slow build of tightness that starts in my chest and stretches across my entire body until it feels like my joints may snap if I move too quickly. I scheduled a massage in a last ditch attempt at self-care. My weeks have been full of doctor's appointments and blood tests and scans. Pregnancy after pregnancy loss is fraught. Pregnancy after cancer is harrowing. (I say that knowing there are many people who would jump at the chance to switch places with me. I know I'm lucky. I'm not trying to start any sort of Pain Olympics here.)

I spend my 90 minutes on the massage table willing my fetus to be alive. It's not particularly relaxing but firm resolve feels better than haphazard fretting.

Spoiler alert: I had my regularly scheduled (not panic-attack induced) OB appointment yesterday and heard the heartbeat and everything looks great. We're approaching the halfway point. At some point I'll relax, right?