Crazy Comparison & Self-Doubt

The other day I caught myself wondering, do our lost babies count? Does my suffering count?

I know, crazy thinking, right? But hear me out.

So many women/couples try 8 or 9 or even 12 pregnancies before they stop trying or get their one. So many women go through IVF just to try to maintain a pregnancy. I know we all reach our enough at the time that is right for us and so it’s different for everyone. Yet, our history includes 2 chemical pregnancies and three “real” miscarriages 3 of them stopped growing before they even hit 7 weeks, with the heart rates actually stopping (i.e. fetal demise) for two of them at about week 8. And while we terminated one at week 14 and technically in the second trimester, but we knew from 6 weeks that it would not develop into a healthy child. Only once did we have a “healthy” baby, which also ended up dying.

So, some days I cannot help but wonder does all of this even count?

To virtually everyone in my real life (asides from Mr. MPB of course), I am not a mother. To everyone else in my life, I do not get to partake in the pregnancy conversations because I do not “have” children. Just the other day I watched two women have a conversation about pregnancy, I wanted to say something and yet I didn’t. I felt like my opinion wasn’t worthy. No-one said or implied anything like that, but yet I still felt that way. I felt like, a 4 or 5 month pregnant lady who doesn’t know us well enough to know about our losses doesn’t want to hear about me and my version of pregnancy. I felt like my story didn’t justify my involvement in pregnancy talk.

And then I started questioning, do chemical pregnancies count? Sometimes I think they do. Our very first pregnancy was a chemical pregnancy and I thought my world was crashing in on me. Yet, at the same time I also did not have enough time to get my hopes up and to get super attached. Both Mr. MPB and I now refer to our chemical miscarriages as our “easy” ones – they were a walk in the park compared to our “real” ones.

For that matter, do miscarriages even count? A lot of people who hear of our losses always ask how far along were you? As if somehow losing a child early in pregnancy makes it hurt less. I don’t know, maybe it does? I look at women and couples who lose their babies in the second and third trimester and I’m always just so devastated for them, I cannot even begin to imagine experiencing a loss at that point. I honestly just don’t know.

So, where does this leave me? How I do participate in pregnancy conversations? Do I just ignore my pregnancies? Do I just pretend it didn’t happen? Do I just let myself assume that my pregnancies aren’t enough in others eyes?

Honestly, part of this was simply that I was fearful of negative and unsupportive comments. Having experienced many hurtful and insensitive comments (some intentional and most not), I have become almost fearful of potential comments that just leave me reeling.

And at the same time I felt all kinds of weird insecurities about my losses, as if somehow I haven’t suffered enough. As if somehow because no-one saw our babies, they didn’t even exist to anyone else. Really, more than anything I felt myself feeling unworthy. As if my version of pregnancy means that I don’t get to participate. My pregnancies didn’t last long enough for people to recognize our babies or my experience. And what hurts the most is that I am left feeling like our babies didn’t live long enough to count.

.

After writing about this interaction and my thoughts on it, I see just how crazy my thought process was during this one simple interaction. No-one said a word to me about my losses not counting, yet this is where my mind went. I know this is at least in part, if not entirely a result of the fact no-one in my real life has ever recognized our lost babies or our experiences. No-one wished me a happy mother’s day last year and no-one talks of our babies. Literally, not one word. This has to change – society has to change. Our miscarriages, both the experience and our babies should not be a taboo subject.

I also realize that this new found self-doubt is a result of RPL, our losses and my decision to leave work an the resulting my resulting identity crises. I know without a doubt that the last two years have shaken me to my very core. Prior to this experience I was oozing with self-confidence, some would say professionally I may have even verged on arrogant. And so here I am now, doubting myself and my experiences in a way that I never would have before. Honestly, I have to stop letting these thoughts in, because I know better! All of this, absolutely all of it does matter and there is no place for doubting my experiences, my path to motherhood, and my babies.  Because you know what, it all matters! Each and every piece of my personal history matters, and our babies’ short lives matter. I have to stand up to anyone who suggests otherwise, even if that includes standing up to my own self-doubt!

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59 Comments on “Crazy Comparison & Self-Doubt

  1. Sweetie, Each and every pregnancy counts. Don’t doubt yourself, you are a mom to angel babies. Your “earth” baby will come soon, but that baby will not “make you a mom” because you already are one!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I’m going to let you in on a secret… THERE ARE NO RULES. We can feel however we want. If your pregnancies count for you, then that’s all that matters.

    It is so important that we talk about all our experiences with pregnancy and motherhood. There is this quote by Andrew Solomon that has been rolling around in my head for the last few weeks.

    “I believe that in the same way we need species diversity to ensure that the planet can go on, so we need this diversity of affection and diversity of family in order to strengthen the ecosphere of kindness.”

    By sharing our stories, we’re expanding the idea of what motherhood means, how it is created, and (hopefully) building a greater capacity for kindness.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. The first time I tried to enter a conversation about pregnancy after my loss it was with a woman who had a 4-month-old and one who was 14 weeks pregnant. They were chattering non-stop, and when I tried to enter, I got shut out. It felt like – well, the woman with the baby was giving advice to the newly pregnant one. I thought I had something to add (I had my loss at 24 weeks) – but then again, who wants advice from the woman whose baby died? I felt like they assumed there was something wrong with me, that I had done something wrong, so of course no one would ever want MY opinion. Just to say: I know how much it sucks to be left out of these pregnancy conversations. And a very happy Mother’s Day to you, from another Invisible Mother (there is a group of us on FB and elsewhere – there are more of us out there than imaginable!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your understanding of a similar situation. It’s always nice to know that I’m not alone in these experiences! Yet, I also find myself a bit frustrated that this is a common occurrence – I’m sorry you have experienced being shut out.
      Wishing you a wonderful mother’s day as well, filled with memories and hope for the future.

      Like

  4. You are a mother, I have no doubt. You have worried for, lost countless nights of sleep over, sheltered and protected (to the best of your ability), nourished, grown (those eggs came from you- and they did develop into embryos and a fetus), fiercely advocated for, doted over, were ecstatic over, and loved and cared for your angel babies. The fact that they were taken from you is an absolute injustice, but no one should ever question whether you are a mother.

    I hate how the first thing people ask after they find out that you’ve have a miscarriage is “how far along were you?”. It’s a question that serves no purpose other than to judge or quantify how much “pain” or “grieving” grace should be provided to you. Loss is loss. We all experience and process it differently, and shouldn’t be measured up against any one else’s perception of something that they themselves (usually) haven’t been though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My friend, thank you for this. Thank you for always being so kind and loving, and always saying exactly what I need to hear.
      Wishing you and DW a beautiful mother’s day today filled with memories of what was, little kicks from what is actively growing inside of you and hope for what will be in the future. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know this weekend will be difficult regardless, but maybe you can start you own tradition for Mother’s Day. Reclaim Mother’s Day for yourself, your angels, and your baby(ies) to be. I am sending you lots of love this weekend and always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your idea! No new traditions this year simply because Mr. MPB is currently working. But, what is new this year is that I am hopeful for next year, and that’s pretty awesome. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The loss of a baby, regardless of how long s/he was carried, is still a loss. You are a mother, and it’s disgusting that other women (and men) treat us in a way that says we are not mothers because they cannot see us holding our baby(ies). That talking about our losses makes THEM uncomfortable, so we should just shush. This needs to change.

    I had 3 doctors and a few nurses tell me that my chemical pregnancies (2 of my 3 losses) “didn’t count”. It tore me up because those 2 babies, for the small amount of time I did carry them, counted TO ME.

    No one can tell us how to feel after a loss (or 3, or 5). It is our body, our pregnancy(ies), our baby(ies).

    Sending you lots of love, my friend x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for sharing this Beanie! It’s nice to know I am not alone in how i feel. I too had a doctor tell me that our chemical pregnancies didn’t count in his opinion – such cruel words coming from a doctor who specializes in babies and pregnant women!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I totally agree with the previous two comments. Also… just a few thoughts that came to me as I was reading. Firstly, with regard to participating in pregnancy conversations. The thing is, I believe most pregnant women are more emotional, more prone to anxiety, than we are normally. I honestly would hesitate to share stories of loss with someone who was currently pregnant, not because your stories don’t count – they DO – but because that’s a scary thing to be thinking about when you’re hoping your own baby is going to be okay. So … maybe not. On the other hand, few people are as well equipped as you are to be a supportive, empathetic friend to someone who is experiencing a loss.

    I know this sucks. You want to be able to take part in talking about how those first few months felt. But I really don’t see how you can – not to another emotionally vulnerable young mom. I’m so sorry.

    And as regard Mother’s Day … my dear, it would never have crossed my mind to wish you a happy Mother’s Day, because I’d have assumed that day of all others would be beyond painful to you. But as we approach Mother’s Day (a tough one for me with both my daughter and my mommy a whole planet away), I do want to tell you that yes, you are a mother, and this day is for you too, however you choose to spend it. Because your babies DO count, for the very simple reason that you love and remember them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts my friend!
      I should mention the conversation was specifically about cravings, something of which I can relate to without discussing loss. We made a decision very early in our losses to never tell someone who is pregnant about our losses for exactly what you’ve said – they don’t need more worries then they already have.
      And in respect to mother’s day, maybe the right thing isn’t to wish me a wonderful day, but to acknowledge that I am a mother. Do you know what I mean? Well, I suspect you do, because your words at the end of your comment are perfect. Thank you! 🙂
      Wishing you a wonderful mother’s day today.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You matter. Your experience matters. Your babies matter. ❤ You're right that self doubt should not hold you back. I love how honest you always are and that you shared both what you were thinking at the time you wrote this and your reflections afterwards. You are an amazing person. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for affirming that my babies do matter and for encouraging me to continue to be so raw about the emotions. You too are an amazing person and I am so thankful for you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I may not be someone who has suffered a loss or even RPL, but in my eyes, you are just as much a mother as anyone who has a take home baby. Your experience, your fears and worries, you expectations and all of that, while you were pregnant with those little angels, is just are real as any other pregnant woman. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. I know that deep down inside there somewhere, behind all that self doubt, lies that confidant woman that you talk about. I’ve notice in your post, a little at a time, you and Mr MPB are chipping away at that wall you’ve built. It all comes with time. Another thing, I really hope that Mr. MPB realizes also that he is a dad too…that of you together were the best parents those little ones could have had…and in case I don’t “talk” to you over the weekend—> Happy Mother’s Day friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind love! You are right, slowly but surely we are chipping away at the wall we built up over the last few years and I’m re-finding my self-confidence one day at a time. Part of me thinks moments of doubt aren’t necessarily a purely bad thing, they’ll keep my humble. 🙂
      I hope you and Callie had a wonderful mother’s day! I can only imagine the excitement that was happening in your household today! 🙂

      Like

  10. They count.

    I too sometimes feel like my loss isn’t “enough” because it was “only one” and I never met my baby. But try telling a grieving mother (yes you ARE one!) that their grief isn’t real or as hard when they’ve lost a baby they were not blessed to meet.

    It’s up to you whether or not to share, but you are always justified in your opinions. Mother’s Day came within weeks of my miscarriage and it was awful, and no one really understood. But there are plenty of women who do.

    I’ll be thinking of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this Stacey. You are right, no matter how many losses, no matter how long each baby lived, they were our children and loved deeply. Thinking of you today and wishing you a wonderful Mother’s day!

      Like

  11. This struggle of thinking if they “count” or not is real. And hard. Even currently pregnant, my opinions and input about pregnancy don’t count. It’s amazing how many woman talk down to me. It is truly one of the hardest topics. BUT – in my eyes…. You are a wonderful momma. You deserve to be celebrated and honored. There is nothing that makes me more mad than when woman who have lost are felt left out or looked down on because we don’t have little mini me’s to show for it. I could go on, but I wont. Do what’s best for YOU, you’re amazing and only deserve the best! XOXOX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for understanding Mrs. Brooks. I found it fascinating that even now, you are still being talked down to, as if you have no idea what pregnancy is all about! I had no idea that actually happened, and I’m sorry you are experiencing that!
      Sending you love today and thinking of you and your Colton and your Crosby. I hope you had a wonderful day full of memories and hope for the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Heck yes, it all matters, every last bit of it. Your babies matter, they count. So, so much. I think you are right that you are your likely your own worst critic. It’s incredibly hard to stand up to that voice of self doubt. Although other people sure can say some a-hole things. I hate, and I mean HATE, the “How far along were you question?” Unless you’re a doctor, why are you asking that? What does that matter? Every time I answer that question I feel like I need to justify my answer with something like, “It was pretty early, but it still hurt.” I can also relate to the “Have I suffered enough?” question. But oh my gosh, you have suffered enough — way too much. You are a f*cking warrior princess!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for this! I’m slow to respond, but I read it a few days ago and am beyond thankful for your words. You are right, I am my worst critic. And like you, I too hate that question and always feel like I have to justify that our losses we almost all within the first trimester. It’s just crap that we even have to answer that question in the first place!
      Anyways, thank you again! Your too are a warrior princess!! 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you so much for relating and understanding. I hope you have had a good day today, remembering your little Emme and enjoying your second little one currently growing big and strong! Sending you love my friend, you are an amazing mother!

      Like

  13. Very thought provoking…..

    I’m confident you know the truth of your losses in your heart.

    I feel that there are variations in our losses that sometimes make it hard to relate to one another, and even to ourselves sometimes, and maybe that’s just as it is when there are countless shades of gray to navigate. Not being able to get pregnant at all, chemical pregnancies, first trimester miscarriages, stillbirths and the number we’ve endured, however their battering effects may differ, DO all fall under the category of horribly unjust. An exceptionally harsh common thread, to say the least.

    Almost a year ago, we buried the photographs of our 24 beautiful embryos underneath a newly planted dogwood tree. I often get the strangest looks should I mention this to people, like I have 37 heads or something. I know society does not recognize this “no physical child, no pregnancy whatsoever” situation as a loss. However our embryos, though not physical children, were the culmination of four years of blood, sweat and a plethora of tears. I handed over my life and was diligently and intimately involved in their creation. I made decisions on their behalf and was fiercely protective of them. I feel their loss deeply. And most of all, in my experience it is our dreams of and for our children that initially make us parents. Four years of cultivating those dreams is quite a haul. So I feel that anyone who is not willing to grasp any of the above can totally go suck it.

    That said, my insistence in being true to my own losses does nothing to bridge the societal gap of which you write. Yes, perhaps no one said a word about your losses not counting, but the inferences of silence and utter lack of social construct are insidiously potent. When my losses go unrecognized, or when I’m in a conversation for which there is no outlet to plug them in, I still feel demeaned and isolated. And that’s OK.

    You said it – society needs to change. There needs to be more freedom in sharing ALL of our reproductive experiences, not only so that we can find connection and gain the recognition we deserve, but also come to a level of acceptance of our differences. There will always be gaps in our experiences, but at least a few little conversational footbridges between those gaps would be nice.

    PS thanks for the excellent quote, thecommonostrich!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, your love and your encouragement with me! I so appreciate everything your shared here, thank you! And, I think burring your photographs under a tree is a beautiful memorial!

      Like

  14. It counts. Every single one. Even “just” a chemical pregnancy is the loss of a dream, a future, a potential family member. I’ve had four that haven’t made 5 weeks and the consultant at the clinic I went to talked about our history and took them out of the equation – she actually said “if we disregard these ones…”!! Yes, we also know them as the easier losses, but it’s all relative and there is nothing truly easy about RPL. It is a slow torture of providing a dream and removing it, over and over. You ARE a mother, you have made heart-breaking decisions for yourself and also for a baby. Don’t ever doubt your feelings, or downplay them. The grief from lost pregnancies is unlike anything else I’ve ever known. Keep processing and working until you are confident in what you’ve been through – that day will come. No one else can tell you how to feel, and nor should they, not on a subject like this. I count our “chemical” pregnancies the same as the others. Wishing you peace xxxx

    Like

    • Oh, I despise when people, especially medical professionals disregard the “early” losses.
      Thank you so very much for all your support and love, and affirmation that I am in fact a mothers, just as you are, to my lost babies. I loved them so profoundly, in a way that I had never loved before.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, all of it counts. You are their mother. You are still a mom. You just don’t have babies to hold, but I really really wish you did. ❤ Wishing you peace!

    Like

    • Thank you so much Finding Hope! You are right, I am still a mother even if my babies aren’t here in my arms, rather they are here in my heart. Thank you for re-affirming this for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I struggle a lot with this, too. I guess my real struggle is the fact that I had a blighted ovum, I never truly had a baby at all, I just had an empty sac that refused to fill. I don’t feel like that counts as being pregnant at all. I feel that I have no soul to mourn, and no angel to think about. I feel it’s different for all of you though, who have seen your little ones on a monitor or heard it with a doppler. I feel it’s different if you had some kind of proof that there was a little life growing inside of you. Of course your littles count, they were really there and really growing, even if they didn’t make it to the finish line. I wish more than anything that you had some of them in your arms, but I know that whenever you DO have one (or some!) to hold that you’ll still be an excellent mother! ❤

    Like

    • Amy, I firmly believe a blighted ovum is being pregnant and your heart makes you a mother. Both because you are desperate to have a baby in your arms, but also because you have expeirenced the joy that comes along with a positive, and the gut wrenching sorrow that comes along with finding out your baby and your dreams are not meant to be. I firmly believe you are a mother, and an amazing one at that! And I am so excited for when you are a mother with a child in your arms! Love to you my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. I struggle with this all the time, I just feel lost and have no idea what to think of it. It’s also hard when all of you guys agree that I’m still considered a mom, when the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. I’m just hoping that some time soon I won’t have to worry about this anymore, and I really will have a baby in my arms.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the rest of the world are the ones who don’t get it. In my mind, you are absolutely a mother now and you will be the most amazing mom when your baby finally is in your arms!!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. It all counts. So much. We all have our different paths to motherhood and embracing each other on this journey is so important because we all count, no matter where we are along the way. This was a really great and thought-provoking post; as always thanks for going where most won’t:)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I totally understand this. I had “only” three miscarriages and none over 9 weeks 1 day. Heck, only one even had a heartbeat (and a pathetic one at that). Of course they count, but it’s natural to compare ourselves to others. ❤

    Like

    • You are right, each one of our (yours and mine) babies do count!! Thank you so much for sharing and for reminding me to remember what I already know – my babies do count!

      Like

  19. Such a good post. And so thought provoking. For me, life begins at conception. So as far as my super early miscarriage? It matters. And your babies matter. You are a mother. Much love to you sugars!

    Like

    • Thank you so much Elisha. Like you, I believe that life starts at conception, so I too believe that each one of our babies counts and do matter! They may not live in my arms, but they do live in my heart, and for that I am thankful!
      Love to you today. I hope you are able to celebrate and enjoy the mother that you are too!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Phew! I’m glad you figured out by the end that your babies absolutely count and so do your pregnancies (or I was going to have to fly to Canada and have a little chat with you)! 😉 You are absolutely a Mom and you should be recognized on Mother’s Day. It’s a hard situation, we’re Moms, but our babies are Angels already and people just don’t think about it. Sending you much love on this Mother’s Day and know that I am thinking about you and all of our IF/RPL Sisters. Even those who haven’t had a miscarriage are already Mothers in their hearts and I think the world needs to recognize that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ya, sometimes I’m a bit of a slow learner, and clearly with these feelings of doubt I was a bit slow to figure it out. 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words of support and love. Sending you so much love today, and thinking about the amazing mother that you are!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. MPB rest assured it all counts.

    As I sit here on my first and very bittersweet Mother’s Day after delivering our stillborn son just 9 days ago and having had a missed miscarriage just 8 months ago it definitely counts.

    Back in September after my missed miscarriage my Doctor had said to me that despite miscarrying at 11 weeks “it is still a baby, your baby.” I am so grateful for that acknowledgement.

    You are a mother and I am a mother let’s not forget that. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so sorry you have experienced such horrible losses – my heart breaks for you. You are right, all of our babies, no matter how short or long, do count. They mattered and they still do!
      Love to you and wishing you a special mother’s day filled with memories and hope for the future.

      Like

    • They do count, all of our babies do count! Sending you so much love today my friend, I know you are an amazing mother to your lost babies, and I’ve been thinking about you today.

      Like

  22. I think we have to believe it ourselves. I do. Like so many other things, we often look to others to give us validation, self-worth, and importance when those things need to come from within.

    I, too, feel gutted when all those around me are celebrated and honored on days such as these, but there IS a Very small circle that honors me, and the three babies I lost are among them.

    I want to stop looking to others for what I can only give myself: my truth.

    And here it is:
    I am a mother.
    And, MPB…
    so. are. you.

    Full stop ❤

    With heart, dear one,
    Dani

    Like

  23. Your babies may not have got to walk the Earth but they lived inside you and your heart, you are a mother regardless of what anyone else thinks. From the moment you realise that life exists (whether it’s before or even after you lose it), when you feel the toll on your own body and do everything humanely possible to protect it you become a mother.

    Sometimes people are horribly insensitive and hurtful, sometimes we are our own worst enemies and punish ourselves far more. You are right, things have to change and I hope one day they do. Until then all we can do is be assured in ourselves and help others feel the same.

    Like

    • Thank you so much for reinforcing that I am a mother. I know it to be true, but some days the doubt just seeps in! More often then not I am my own worst enemy, when I really should be focusing on showing myself more compassion. Thank you for the reminder.

      Liked by 1 person

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