We’ve read so many articles, and heard so many discussions on postpartum depression and anxiety, but too often, the cries for help of women experiencing infertility or infant loss remain unheard. Similarly, women suffering from infertility, or the inability to carry a child to term, are also consumed by the daunting feeling of loneliness and failure, while hopelessness and guilt replace the happiness that was once there. Although it may sometimes feel that no one understands you or what you are going through, there are other women out there- scared, lonely, and left alone with their thoughts.
Here is my story…
I had a miscarriage in October 2015. My story is a little different because I already have 2 children. People tried to help, but they only made things worse. I’ve heard every “helpful suggestion” from accusing me of being under the influence to blaming my weight,” or my personal favorite, “ y’all are still young; you can try again!” My pain was instantly dismissed because I already had children and “could” try again. I didn’t realize they became doctors overnight, not to mention pros at how my body works and why. They completely ignored the fact that no child has more value over another, so just because I already had 2 children didn’t mean that I wasn’t hurting over the loss of this pregnancy.
I can still remember the events unfolding as if they happened yesterday. My cycle had yet to begin and I was in a tizzy because of it. Two or three months went by with no period and negative pregnancy tests. What on earth was wrong with me? Of course, at 33 years old, I figured I was pre-menopausal and I shrugged it off. I hoped and I prayed for my period to either come, or for my pregnancy test to show up positive because that would mean my body was functioning properly. My period came. All’s well now, right? Wrong. I began worrying, because, for weeks, I was only spotting- no real flow was present. Google was simultaneously my best friend and my worst enemy. One website told me that I was pre-menopausal (which I could handle), and other websites warned me of ectopic pregnancy. How could I be pregnant and bleed at the same time? My other pregnancies were nothing like that- I was just always hungry and moody! I bit the bullet and took another pregnancy test, just to rule it out, for my sanity. Then I saw it- a positive result. What?! How?! I took another one – positive. And another one – positive. I decided that I probably didn’t pee on the whole stick, and it was time to see a doctor. After some blood tests, my doctor confirmed I was indeed pregnant! By my calculations, from the first day of my last period, I was 10 weeks pregnant. Here comes panic, again, because that was almost the entire first trimester and I hadn’t felt any morning sickness, hadn’t started on my prenatal vitamins, hadn’t even thought of how we could afford a baby.
That day, on the ride home from the doctor’s office, my husband was gushing about the idea that we were going to have a baby! (I forgot to mention that my two older kids are from my first marriage; although he considers my kids his own, he does not have any biological children.) Meanwhile, I was set to begin an Alternative Certification Program to earn my teaching certification. As I sat there, listening to him gush about everything we’d get to do with our baby, I was busy thinking about what the odds were that I’d get pregnant right as I was beginning my career. Mind you, we’d been trying for a while to get pregnant, so I felt the timing was just not on my side. My doctor advised me to stay off my feet over the weekend, and to come in on Monday to check my progress and ensure the bleeding would stop. It didn’t. That Saturday night, around 11 pm, I was bleeding uncontrollably. It was a regular period on a mission to disable me. I prayed and bargained with God as my husband drove me to the emergency room. “Please let my baby be ok. Did I curse us with my selfish thoughts about my stupid certification? I promise, let my baby be ok and I will be the best mom ever.” These were just a few of the thoughts going through my mind.
My world fell apart in the emergency room. I was poked and prodded and test after test was performed on me, only to tell me what I already knew- my baby was gone. I turned to look at my husband, who was trying to be strong for me, and I knew he was holding back an ocean of tears. At that moment, I felt as though I’d failed him. He was so excited about this baby; we’d even discussed names. We had plans. Why was this happening? I revisited everything and tried to place blame on anything and everything I did. I sneezed incorrectly. Why did I sleep in that position? I shouldn’t have eaten out. What if I’d been drinking more water and less soda? I should’ve been getting rest instead of staying up late to watch that movie that I’ve seen a million times, but it’s just so funny. That was it. That damn movie made me laugh too hard. The mental berating was endless and I didn’t speak of it to anyone. Friends and family offered their support, love, and company and I shut everyone out. They didn’t know. I didn’t care if they’d had a similar experience; they didn’t know how I felt!
This October will mark 2 years since I lost my little peanut. I still have his (yes, I was convinced I was having a boy) ultrasound on my fridge in a frame I received from Toys R’ Us that reads, “Baby’s First Picture.” Who would’ve known it would also be his last? People might think I’m crazy, but I still make my husband Father’s Day cards, every year, with peanut’s picture on there with a message from heaven.
We’ve continued to try and get pregnant to no avail. Maybe there are some infertility issues, or maybe I’m just getting up there in age and having babies is not in the cards for me. Either way, I know I will get through this, with the incredible support system I have. You can have that support system as well. I encourage you to reach out and let us be that shoulder to lean on. Remember that we are here for you. Check for our meeting times and come and let us help you get through this.