Unsurprisingly, I’m still full of questions and doubts. So many doubts. Lots of whys. Lots of what ifs.
I can’t help but wonder if maybe the what if’s played a part in it all. I wonder why the world has to be so cruel. I wonder if I’d done anything differently would the situation be the same? If I’d been happier, would I still have an additional heartbeat thumping through my belly? If I’d not been so scared of what others would say or how they’d react, would my baby have kept on living?
A friend told me that things happen for a reason. I told her that I used to believe that too. What could be the reason for hardship and heartbreak and pain and grief? I used to believe that things happen for a reason too.
But, what could the reason be for me falling pregnant not once, but twice, unexpectedly? What could be the reason for me going through not one, but two, miscarriages? What could be the reason for me having to live in hope, immense hope, not once, but twice, to then have it all taken away from me?
What reason can anyone give for me having not one, but two, babies die inside of me?
My bestie has been tremendous (der). She’s checked in on me daily, she’s made sure I’ve got out of the house and has made plans with me, offered me support and advice and a caring, listening ear. But she was also honest – she can’t know what I’m going through. She’s had not one, but two, successful pregnancies. She has not one, but two, incredible children. Children who light up her day, her night, her week, her life. Not one, but two, children whom I adore.
I’m not asking for anything when I talk about what I’ve been through. No one can ever truly understand what someone else is going through unless they themselves have been through it. I’m not asking for understanding, sympathy or even empathy. I’m not after anything.
I just want – need – to share. Last time I bottled most of it up – I did reach out to one person, but he was not equipped to help. The one person who may have had some inkling as to what I was going through. Obviously not in the end.
This time, I don’t want things to be the same. Clearly, I can’t reach out to that one person who may feel the same – because they know nothing. They get to go on living their life completely unaware of the pain and heartache, and brief life they helped create. I’ve chosen not to tell them, I can’t reach out, and I can’t be bitter with them. I’m trying hard not to be bitter with myself, with life.
How can I not be bitter? When something is given to you not once, but twice, something that you didn’t think you would ever get, something that you didn’t realise how much you wanted – needed – until you had it taken away from you; how can you not be bitter?
I went through counselling last time; I’d previously seen a psychologist to help with self-esteem issues (yes – I had self-esteem issues), so went back to seek help with what I had thought was depression. Turns out, I was grieving. Heavily grieving.
She helped me work on self-care and gave me tools to help me through. Instinctively, I’m using those same tools this time. The biggest tool I had was to write. I started up another blog last time and kept it personal. I told only a couple of friends about it – it was immensely private and raw. But it helped.
This time I don’t want to shy away from anything – I don’t want there to be any secrets and I don’t want others to be nervous around me, to shy away or hide their own happiness. I want things to be different. I want people to feel comfortable giving me a hug; smiling at me; sharing good news. I want to be a part of others’ happiness. I want to keep on living.
Last time I shut myself away in my lonely apartment and went to and from work, the supermarket and my psychologist. I had far too much time on my own. I was driving to and from work, left alone with my thoughts. I had a big secret inside of me I wasn’t comfortable sharing with anyone. I had to act happy and nonchalant when asked about my own family; when jokes were made about me clearly not having kids, as I didn’t drink coffee; when others were excited about their own families expanding.
This time I’m not going to shut myself away. This time I’m working on my fitness and getting outside in the sun; I’m trying to maintain a ‘healthy’ diet; I’m not hiding within myself.
This time I’m not going to keep my heartache a secret. I’m not going to shout it from the rooftops (just share it in a public blog….), but I’ll be honest about how I’m feeling. I don’t want to be uncomfortable about what I’m going through. I want to be comfortable in my own skin and I want to show others that I’m okay. I’m doing it tough and still don’t understand, but I’m doing okay.
I’ve been commenting a lot about missing travel and the person I became. I’m happiest when I’m in love; I was immensely in love with my ex, I was immensely in love with travelling. I was falling immensely in love with myself. Last time I ran away to find myself. This time I can’t run away. I can’t see myself feeling immense love in the near future.
I’ll always miss travel when I’m not doing it. I can always look forward to my next trip, my next overseas adventure. I can save and plan and book and explore and I’ll be ready. Travel will always be an option. There will always be places to explore, people to visit, drinks to be drunk and experiences to be had. I can always know what, where, when and how. I can plan for that and prepare for any setbacks or obstacles. I can save and know ahead what is going to happen. I can have insurance for the unexpected and work on back up plans. I can’t do any of that with pregnancy.
I’ll always miss my two babies. But I’m scared to look forward to a safe pregnancy; doubt will always fill my mind. I can’t know how it will go; I can’t plan or prepare for any setbacks. How can I possibly prepare myself for a third or subsequent lack of heartbeat? How can I alter my thoughts and plans of being a mum and picturing what my child will look like? How can I prepare for more grief? I can’t get an insurance policy for losing a baby. I can’t go to a back up or have contingency plans in place. I can’t right now in all honesty, look forward to pregnancy.
As much as I want to, I don’t know if I can look forward to another baby. What if after all of this, the mothering and nurturing I love, isn’t supposed to relate to my own actual real life baby? What if I’m actually not meant to be a mother? What if the reason I fell pregnant was to see if I truly was happy… and then have them taken away as I was happy enough without them?
I do know that life would be very different had I given birth one year ago. I wouldn’t have spent last year overseas on an epic adventure. I wouldn’t have made the friends I made, met the people I met, or did the crazy things I did.
If this baby had stayed with me, where would I be a year from now? Would I still be living with mum and dad? Would I have found a job? Would I have an involved father for my child? Would I be happy with myself as a person? Would I be longing for more travel, more overseas adventures?
Did my second baby hear these thoughts and make up my mind for me? Did they hear the doubts and the fears running through me? Did they mistake my fear and nerves at telling people about them as shame?
At the end of the day, I am a responsible woman. I know how to look after myself and about consequences and living with decisions made. Had this baby’s heartbeat continued, I would have loved them beyond anything possible, I would have cared for them like my life depended on it and I would have rocked at being a mum. Their mum.
Can I look forward to that now? I don’t know. To be told twice that miscarriages just happen, that the pregnancy, for whatever reason, isn’t viable. To be told that the next pregnancy should go full term, that there shouldn’t be any issues. Why should I believe any of that?
People joke about how travel is their baby. Well, perhaps for me it needs to be. I can always look forward to travel and make plans around that. I can go away and come back. I can save and spend and save again. I can have the world at my feet and not be held back. I can travel endlessly and aimlessly. I can look after travel as if my life depends on it. I can be the world’s best traveller.
Once all the travelling is done, will I still want that baby? Will I still want to be a mum? Will I still want to experience that nervousness and excitement at reading a pregnancy test? Will I still want to overcome my fear and hear a heartbeat on an ultrasound monitor?
Yes. The answer is yes. I love travel and who I am when I travel. But it’s not everything. I can have both. I deserve both.
What reason could there be for me not being able to have both? If everything happens for a reason, there has to be a reason for me wanting – and deserving – both. There has to be a reason for me experiencing the early feelings of motherhood. There has to be a reason for me wanting – deserving – to be a mum.