2 years ago I knew that our journey would take some work. 2 years ago I knew that it might be hard. 1 year and 8 months ago I had to learn to accept that a natural pregnancy would never occur.
1 year and 4 months ago everything changed, and kept changing.
I was wrecked by our first loss, but had hope and I fully believed that it would happen just fine naturally (and it has, twice now). I was obliviously content and assumed I was invincible, that next time it would perfect. I didn’t struggle with jealousy. I didn’t struggle with baby showers. I didn’t struggle with announcement. I didn’t struggle. Now don’t get me wrong, I struggled with the grief and the surgery and the pain and the recovery process, and the struggle was real. But I was still innocent and pumped up on all the good news that came with the bad (please only read that link if you are able – mentions previous pregnancies).
Clearly, the next two times my invincibility shrank. I lost not only a family and a dream but I lost a lot of me. The struggles became excruciatingly louder with each loss.
Something that has been weighing on me lately is the expectation to be fine and capable of returning back to my “old self” after traumatic experiences and especially early pregnancy loss. Return back to the “invincible self” that could plan a baby shower, oogle over a new-born, obsess over tiny little clothes and precious little booties and socks. Ok, all things tiny! Something that RPL has stolen from me is my ability to be emotionally healthy during other people’s exciting and joyful moments. It has absolutely nothing to do with the mom or the baby or the pregnancy. It has everything to do with me and my ability to keep moving forward and emotionally heal over what was lost in my own life.
I distinctly remember moments laying on the bathroom floor thinking that I’ll never be ok again. I have vivid memories of each of my pregnancies and exactly how they ended and the completely terrifying means it took to make sure that I was physically ok. I remember and often struggle to NOT revisit those dark and depressing places. Each announcement and picture and shower invite (the list can go on and on) provides me on the spot training (and complete surrender and trust in the Lord) to keep myself out of a seemingly ever-growing (not shrinking) pit. It is simply by the grace of God that I have kept anything together at any given point.
Does this mean that I am not joyful and happy about a new addition? Absolutely not.
Does this mean that I am just too jealous of the momma-to-be to participate? Absolutely not. But, of course there are moments that I wish it were me…
But all this is to say that it has absolutely nothing to do with jealousy. It doesn’t have anything to do with my lack of understanding that God has a plan and it’s good and His ways are higher than mine, because I understand that full well.
For some reason I have been feeling like I have to justify my actions, or create excuses upon excuses to try to get people to understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with the pregnancy/pregnant person/etc, and had everything to do with the fact that I am trying to remain as emotionally healthy as possible. And then, someday, I will be able to participate without the fear of derailing into a dark pit of memories and grief. I wish that I could make some people understand how badly I desire my circumstances to be different because I SO want to enjoy shopping for babies, I SO want to enjoy a baby shower, I SO want to oogle and obsess over tiny little outfits of pink or blue. I SO badly want to be emotionally capable of engaging in all of that without still having my losses of pink and blue flooding. I haven’t quite learned how to keep my losses and someone else’s gift separate, but I am sure that god is working on me and teaching me how to do this and removing the pain from me piece by piece, teaching me to enjoy the little things, teaching me to see things from a joyful perspective, teaching me every day to continue to make that uphill climb.
Instead, lately I have to keep defending myself. I have to find a way to justify my reasoning. And, even on occasion, I feel guilty that I have not yet been able to come to a healthy enough spot to enjoy priceless activities. I feel guilty that I still struggle. I find that I end up convincing myself: well maybe once all my EDDs (estimated due dates) and 1st anniversaries of death roll around, THEN I’ll be better. Truth is, I don’t know when it won’t hurt so much and I’ve
struggled learned to have patience with myself. I’ve learned that it’s ok that this season of my life IS all about having a family and that’s ok. I’ve learned that many people won’t understand, no matter how many excuses I make, no matter how many times I justify my actions, they just won’t understand. And that. is. okay.
I love babies, I love pregnant bellies, and mommas-to-be, I love infants, toddlers, and kids. I love it all. It is truly a beautiful, precious gift from the Lord. I won’t claim to know why He allows some to stay and some to go, it’s just another one of those circumstances that has to be ok. Tiny little humans are truly one of the most amazing gifts. I’m just crying out for more compassion and understanding from those who maybe haven’t had to walk through it, from those who have watched from the sidelines. And not just for me, but for my friends and other family members who are dying to not just be understood but for them to know that they don’t have to justify any of their decisions. If you are slapping on your game face at the expense of your emotional health, you’ll never be healthy. If, and only IF, you happen to feel ready to venture out, be fully aware that it has the potential of a set back at any given time (and be ok with that). Take your time, heal.
Slow and steady wins the race, right? Ok, well maybe not always.
But, it has to be ok to not be ok. Even if it takes longer than you or anyone else expected.