Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Living with IF, Loss, and Pregnancy


A few people have asked me recently how I cope with being pregnant after infertility and loss.

It's not an easy answer to articulate.

The short answer is that some days I am fine and others I am not.

Infertility has affected me in so many ways, while loss has affected me even further.

Just because I am pregnant now doesn't mean I am not still infertile or a grieving mother. I am both of those things - except now I am also an expectant mother.

Sometimes these labels blend together into a confusing mess. Some days it's hard to enjoy this new baby and all the wonders that my pregnancy has given me because the memories of my past interfere.

After I lost the twins I remember forgetting I wasn't pregnant anymore. And then it would all come rushing back and I would relive the whole ordeal over again. Other moments I would struggle to remember that I was ever pregnant to begin with - stuck in that infertile nightmare of feeling like it would never happen for me. It felt like I had some kind of short-term memory loss where nothing ever felt real. I wasn't sure what my reality was.

Even to this day, I have moments like that.

I will wonder if I am imagining baby Raz. Then I'll wait to feel some kicks to confirm that I am indeed 30 weeks pregnant with my third child. It seems strange that I still don't feel the truth of my current reality. These times of limbo are fewer then they used to be, but it's proof that a pregnancy, at least for me, hasn't faded the effects of IF and loss.

My experiences have made me a better person - I can say that. Before all of this, when I was blissfully ignorant of my impending future and the IF world in general, I did have a good dose of compassion inside me. Now, after feeling what real loss is like, what it means to truly struggle and live with a broken heart....I have a whole new appreciation for what others go through. I can better put myself in the shoes of others and find ways to understand their situations. Even if I have never been through it before myself.

I also have a bigger appreciation for the little things. I don't take as much for granted or forget to be grateful. I can feel everything more intensely and fully than I used to. It's true that this can be hard sometimes. We don't always want to be thrown in the middle of someone else's pain and hurt...but on the flip side, it's wonderful to be able to really appreciate someone else's success or excitement. The emotions run higher when you are open to these more intense parts of life, but isn't that what living is about?

I've been able to celebrate each new milestone in this pregnancy in a way I couldn't have before. Before, I didn't really think I would lose my babies...not really. I'd never had a miscarriage or late term loss so I had no reason to think it would end badly. I knew it did happen to people, but does anyone ever think it will happen to them? So although I did appreciate and love my first pregnancy, I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I didn't cherish every little nudge or each day that passed uneventfully.

This time I do.

I know what it's like to not only struggle to get pregnant in the first place, but also what losing a pregnancy feels like. And even further, what losing children after birthing them feels like.

This time around, I am not missing out on a moment of this experience. Knowing this could and probably will be my last pregnancy, I am sure to make each week's progression a celebration. I take time every night to put my hands on my belly and feel baby moving and ask my husband to do the same. I won't have this belly forever and I am so grateful to be able to know what it's like to grow a child with-in me. I wish with all my heart that each woman who wants this experience could have it. I know that doesn't happen for everyone and I would give anything to change that reality.

The worry of losing what you have worked so hard for , is always there. No matter how far along I am in gestation. It's always something. That's the biggest negative in this IF/loss journey. You have to really push yourself to appreciate every little thing because that self-preservation you've acquired along the way is telling you to shut down those parts of yourself in case the worst happens. You don't want to attach too fully just in case...

I am continually fighting against that, trying to keep a positive attitude and preserve what hope I have found. You would think that as far along as I have come this time around, it would be more natural to maintain a positive outlook - to push aside that cautious voice in my head. Well it's not natural. My instinct is to keep my head down and distract myself until this baby makes his appearance, healthy and alive.

But I can't and won't do that. So I keep fighting.

Both good and bad things have come out of my experiences and from the last 3+ years. Most of the time I wish I'd never had to go through it all, because it's hurt so much. But sometimes I think about what knowledge I've gained, the women (& men) I've met, and the love I've known for the first time in becoming the mom to two angels. When I think of that part of the journey...it doesn't feel so pointless.

I can't wait to know what it's like to parent a living child and feel a little catharsis after all that has happened the last few years. I can't wait to move forward instead of backward.

I won't be able to forget and I don't really want to. There is too much to be gained by remembering.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful and heartfelt post. Sending hugs and joy. I needed to read that and am grateful you poured your heart out.


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