A pregnant woman's guide to worrying yourself to sleep at night, and then some

J, my darling husband, has been beyond supportive since I've been pregnant, even buying and reading a men's guide to pregnancy to try and educate himself on everything I've been going through. The problem, however, with pregnancy literature geared towards men, in my opinion, is that it addresses a lot of practical issues, like how much the baby is going to cost and leaves out what I think is most important, and that would be a section titled something like "What to do when she worries. A lot. And then five minutes later she is worried again about the same thing you guys just talked about. And it never ends."

I'd like to stress what I've mentioned before - that I really like being pregnant. I feel happy and good about myself and remarkably healthy, better than I feel when I'm not pregnant, in fact. The emotional toll has been minor so far. There was that part in the beginning where I wanted to kill anyone who got in the way of my getting to bed by 8 p.m. And then there were those few weeks around the beginning of my second trimester where I cried a lot, but even then, I wasn't sad, just weepy for no reason. Other than that, I've been a model of serenity, really.

Except for the worrying.

I hope J will agree that I haven't been terrible, it's just that when I do get stuck on something, I worry about it constantly until someone I've deemed reliable tells me not to or until something better (bigger) to worry about comes along. Luckily, J proves a very good reliable source in these instances, and he's helped me realize I don't need to get upset about really minor things. Or things I've made up in my head, which I tend to do.

The pregnancy-related things I've worried about have been legitimate issues, for the most part. I mean, I was extremely worried for a while that riding the Metro North train so often - because sometimes it gets very bumpy - would have a detrimental effect on the development of the baby. J told me I was being ridiculous but I figured he was no expert (no expert on imagined pregnancy issues) and I asked the doctor at one of my appointments. Once she told me not to worry, and I had to admit to myself that I'd concocted that particular concern out of thin air, I got over it.

But the thing is, there's plenty to worry about in the pregnancy books, stuff you don't even have to make up. There's all the stuff you're not supposed to eat, for instance, like deli meat and unpasteurized cheese, which can give you listeria and, you know, KILL THE BABY. The rules sound easy enough, but if you spend enough time thinking about them, they're not. Like, how do I know that this cheese on the salad I just ordered is pasteurized cheese, even though it's not one of the cheeses the book told me to avoid? Do I ask the waitress? Does that make me crazy? Or sensibly cautious? (The answer is crazy).

You're not supposed to eat raw stuff either and I found myself the other day freaking out a little when I realized I'd eaten caviar that came on top of something I'd ordered, and that's not sushi, exactly, but it's certainly not cooked, and where do you draw the line? And how can you be good at pregnancy, but also enjoy life? And not live in a hole? Eating only saltines?

Luckily J sat me down and explained that not only are the bacterial infections that can affect pregnant women extremely rare and hard to contract, but also, more importantly, that I'm doing a good job.

Because that's it, really. I just want to do a good job without losing my mind. Honestly, although it's fun to play my concerns up for storytelling's sake, but I have gotten a lot better about not worrying, and thanks to some friends who've been through the pregnancy thing before (thanks Becky and Emily!) I've gotten some really helpful advice when the books aren't enough and a call to the doctor's office seems ludicrous.

Still, there is a lack of control aspect that comes along with being pregnant, and it's been hard for me to accept - that even though I may do everything exactly right, something could go wrong. So when I find myself asking those ridiculous questions (Why hasn't the baby moved for the past hour? What if all my amniotic fluid leaks out? Does my belly look too big? Does it look too little? Is the shower water too hot for the baby? What if I hurt her?) I think what I'm really getting at is the overall worry that something bad might happen and it will be all my fault.

That's when I've got to give in and accept that I can't control everything. And most importantly, I have to remind myself that I'm having a really easy time of it. That I'm really lucky, and I should shut up and enjoy it.

So, I do. I really do. I've gotten better.

Just in time, too, because it's almost time to start worrying about actually giving birth. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to dedicate all my energy to thinking about that.