On Being Pregnant…Again
First, I want to get the “usuals” out of the way.
- Yes, we know what causes this (I’m a freaking doctor, for crying out loud).
- Yes, this was planned. (See #1).
- No, we were not/are not “trying for a boy”. We always knew we would have “3 or 4”…(see #2).
- And this is how we announced it:
Ok, now that those are out of the way, we can chat.
You see, this pregnancy—this baby—is different.
Yea, all pregnancies are different, I suppose.
[And, oh my, are all children different!] But this one carries an even deeper love than I could have ever though possible this early in the journey.
With #1, everything was new and different and wondrous. We knew very little and learned so very much the difference between ignorance and reality.
With #2, we wondered and worried about how we would be able to have enough love and time. But after meeting her, it became so simple. Our hearts expanded, even among the fiery personality and increased energy that she has brought to our table.
With #4…we’ve been cautious. Worrying. Waiting. Wondering…if we would even make it this far. Longing for another little one to love…loving the moment we got a “+”…Breathing a big sigh of relief when we first heart the heartbeat. And knowing that we still aren’t “in the clear” of passing the first trimester… But there is no question in our minds that we will have enough love…
Because, you see, #3 was very short-lived.
Our closest people knew.
We never got a picture.
And yea, being a doctor…I know the genetics, the possibilities, and the causes…and that “sometimes these things just happen” and “it was nothing that you did”.
But even with all of my book knowledge…
I questioned everything that I did leading up to the miscarriage.
Everything I ate. Every time I picked something up. Everything.
A part of me worried that I may never be able to carry another baby successfully.
And I cried. I went to work. And I cried. (And ate a lot of junk food, honestly).
And why am I telling you all of this?
Believe it or not, this is not a pro-life spiel.
I’m not here to tell you that I “knew it was a baby”.
Because the truth is that the pregnancy was most likely “genetically incompatible with life”.
[This is not something we are going to discuss here.]
I’m here to reach out to you, my friends, my patients, and you, stranger on the proverbial street…
To tell those of you who spend years longing and questioning and wondering and crying—that I do not take the position that I am in lightly.
Yes, there are times I absolutely take my kids for granted.
[I don’t know a parent who doesn’t get frustrated with his or her kids…and if they say they never do, they are liars.]
But now, I remember watching people announcing their pregnancies for when I should have been due….
And that sting was brutal.
In my mind I always “knew” it was.
But I have caught a glimpse.
So if you are in that place, I don’t have an answer for you.
I don’t know the depths of what you feel.
I really don’t.
But here’s what I will say.
If you can’t hang out with us (or even just me) because it’s just too much…
You will not offend me if yet another baby shower is just not going to work for you…
If you “unfollow me” on social media because of all the “baby posts”…
It really is ok.
If you want to talk, I’d love to.
If you don’t, I can understand why.
And if you ever do get that “+” sign—I will scream in delight for you and with you.
When you breathe that sigh of relief hearing each and every heartbeat, I’ll breathe right along with you.
I cannot pretend to fully understand, but I will listen.
And if nothing else, maybe I can offer this up to make your journey a little easier.
For those of you who maybe have not been in this or a similar situation, I would like to share a practice that I’ve already adopted since being in the medical field and now with my own experience. I would urge anyone reading this to adopt it, or something similar, as their own:
– Don’t ask when someone is planning to have a baby. They may have been planning for years.
– Don’t ask about reproduction in a big group. Chances are they will be polite…and that it will keep them up at night.
– If you do feel that you are close enough to ask, perhaps approach the subject a little more gently (and in a private conversation). “So, do you guys think you’ll want to have kids at some point?” This gives an opportunity for someone to say “Oh, maybe someday!” and move on…or to actually open up if they want.
– Refrain from discussing your simple fertility if it is not asked of you. Trust me, I get it. We were some of the first to have kids in our group of friends—and for us it has been simple. But the more friends that got on the marriage and family boat, the more we realized that it is not so simple for many…
I’m sorry to those who have dealt with the naive me, who violated most (if not all) of these guidelines.
But perhaps by passing this along, I can save a little heartache for those of you who are already on a difficult journey…