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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