In the modern world of blazing career women and struggles over gender equal pay, the only thing in the world I want to do it quit my job and be a mom. I’m sure it would get boring and lonely, but if there was any way we could live on my husband’s income alone, I would do it in a heartbeat. There are some who would say that people like me completely undermine the feminist movement… to me, that movement is all about equal rights and opportunities for both genders, so this may seem a little backwards to some, but I wish it was possible for me.
Having a child is a point in my life I’ve been working up to for a long time. When I was in high school, I remember having a plan. I’d be married by 22. Have a kid by 24. Have another at 26, and then be done. Life never goes according to plan. I got married at 25 and now all we want is one child. I’m not sure how other couples have gone about “the talk” but mine basically went “When can we have kids?” and watching my husband’s face turn white. I’m not subtle, and I don’t dance around the things I want. He knew that question was coming, and by this summer, he acquiesced.
We got pregnant almost immediately. I’m talking, one try. It was a bit anti-climatic – I was prepared for months of failure, and lots of tears, and completely ruining our relationship while trying. Thanks, Hollywood? I was nervous, and excited, and happy, and terrified. I bloated up like nobody’s business and my boobs hurt. We went to my first prenatal appointment and I loved the doctor and everything was perfect and blissfully happy. Until he couldn’t hear the heartbeat. But they told us everything was fine and we scheduled an ultrasound for the day after our anniversary.
For our anniversary, my husband gave me the sweetest card. Every time I talk about this, I have to bring it up, because it is the central point of all our love and excitement. It represents the pinnacle of happiness before everything went really, really wrong. He is emotionally closed and had left me a bit terrified of the subject of our baby because he hadn’t shown any real concern or excitement or anything… then his card simply said “I’m so happy we’re having a baby together.” And I cried. And every time I think about it, I want to cry again.
Within the next two weeks, we found out that the pregnancy was non-viable and that I had lost the baby at seven weeks. I know a lot of people have strong and touching stories about these things, but my reaction was to resort to cold logic, then spend a lot of time crying in the car and at home in the dark on our bed all by myself. I didn’t – and still don’t – want family to swarm around me and offer support. I like to handle things alone with one or two people if I’m really desperate. I can’ stand to be smothered.
I struggled while we waited for D&C. I know a lot of women choose to pass the remains naturally, but mine was a missed miscarriage; my baby passed at seven weeks and I wasn’t officially diagnosed until twelve. I carried my lost child for over a month with no signs of miscarriage, and I needed the operation so I could heal. I remember a particularly bad day, sitting in the bottom of my tub and screaming and crying and punching the wall because I felt like my heart had been torn out and I was powerless and nobody could tell me what I did wrong (because, somehow, I still feel as though there must have been something I could have done).
The procedure itself was textbook. Everything was quick and easy and painless, and all I wanted to do afterwards was eat. The bleeding was minimal and the check-in appointment the following week was very quick. Wait two cycles, he said, and then you’re free to try again. He said he couldn’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be able to conceive again and carry to term.
I’ve had good days and bad. Some days, I try not to think about it only to realize it’s the only thing I want to think about. My worst moments have been after seeing other happy families, and this is the biggest reason why I’ve left Facebook. I don’t begrudge any of these people their happiness, but it makes my insides ache. There have been times when we’ve visited our best friends, and I’ve cried all the way home. It took all my strength to keep from bawling on Halloween when the children of employees came trick-or-treating. Sometimes, I still get hit with that hollowing sadness, but it’s less frequent now.
Physically, things did not go according to plan. My menstrual cycles took nearly two months to resume, and when they did, it was heavy and painful like nothing I’ve experienced before. I wanted nothing more than to curl in a pile of misery and be done with it. The loss of the anticipation, the fear of them never returning, was a small relief in those moments of crippling pain. The cramps didn’t go away after the cycle, either. They came every day for a while after the bleeding stopped, then every few days. Now they pop out at me like a jack-in-the-box, but at least I have the comfort in having seen my second cycle come exactly on schedule.
Which means we have a green light again.
Everything is different now. I’m twice as scared and not even half as excited. As we try to conceive, I feel jaded. It’s as though I cannot believe there will be a baby now until I hold it in my arms. I have lost every faith it my body to carry a child. While I know that only time can tell me the truth of these things, it takes a great amount of strength and determination for me to look forward and see the path through the charred trees. So we tread carefully as we try again, never hoping to hard, and absolutely not googling any symptoms or fears or situations. Not even advice. Everything seemed to steer me wrong last time, and I refuse to lose another one.
I am quite determined that 2017 will see a new member of our family. That hope helps force me to take better care of the body that will be its home most the year. All we can do is hope, and try, and pray.
This is part one of four of the lifestyle changes I’m committing to making in 2017 to improve my happiness and quality of life. This is also the one over which I have the least control. We can only wait and see…. The next three days I will discuss my commitment to daily yoga, strengthening my savings, and reigniting my creative flame.