One of those things you get to learn when you go through a tough time is, who are your real friends? And which friends have the courage to be there when you need them the most, even if they have no idea what you are going through. We sure have learned the answer to this one!
So, first let me explain that only two of my absolute closest friends knew about the first two pregnancies. We figured, the first two are statistically normal, so no big deal and no need to tell the world. We typically keep to ourselves, so we didn’t really want people to know we were trying. We wanted to have a surprise for our families when we had good news. My psychologist wanted us to tell people, but we kept saying no – our families won’t be supportive. I think this kinda annoyed her, but she respected our decision (not that she really had a choice). And as she got to know us better later in our journey, she started to understand our decision and eventually even admitted that we were right since some of the reactions were just as we expected – unhelpful and even hurtful. She recommended that maybe the best course of action is to start building friendships with people who will be supportive. Although, I’m still not sure how to do that – put out an ad in the classifieds or kijiji “looking for supportive friends, who don’t have children and won’t focus all conversations on babies?” Anyways, I digress.
Of course, by not telling people for the first two, we were also constantly hiding the fact that we were pregnant and/or trying to be pregnant. We call this the pregnancy bubble – living in all aspects of our lives the “healthy” lifestyle – no alcohol, no lunch meats, no chia tea lattes (and I love these), no strenuous activities, no cleaning products, etc. We got really good at avoiding Friday and Saturday night social events which almost always included alcohol, with excuses like “our dog’s sick” or “I have a migraine”. We got really good at planning breakfast get togethers (something we had always done every few months, but suddenly were doing more frequently) and any other time we went out, I was always the designated driver. It became a constant and annoying juggling game of which small white lie had we told to who, and making sure we kept our stories straight.
So when we hit the critical 3rd loss mark which meant we are now part of the 1% of the population who experience repeat miscarriages, we decided to tell a few more people. We were still very select on who we told and made it very clear to them, that we were not ready to tell the whole world and we expected them to keep our secrete to themselves. My husband and I are very logical in our decision making (as we usually are), so here is a few of the key reasons we decided not to tell the whole world:
- I’ve been through enough in my life to know that I do not like being the centre of attention for negative or positive things. I much prefer a quiet congratulations, or a small celebration and not having to answer questions.
- Telling people meant that we had to admit to the world what we were going through. Somehow this made it more real for me. We couldn’t hide from the fact that we may not be able to have children anymore.
- I had no desire to have people tell me it will be okay, that you can try again or maybe next time it will work. These are some of the most insensitive comments I have heard in the last few years. It belittles our loss. It leaves me empty every time I hear one of these comments. I feel like screaming at the person (who presumably actually trying to say something supportive), but of course I have to keep my cool and remain calm and smile and node.
- We didn’t want our future family decisions to become decision by committee. This is our decision – an intimate decision between a husband and a wife. A decision that deeply and profoundly affects every element of our future. Outside opinions are not welcome. So far, people who are in the know of our situation, have respected this. They may ask questions about how we are doing, but they do not try to tell us what we should do next. This has been a blessing, because I’m pretty sure if someone tries to give me an opinion on if we should try again, they will get to take the brunt of my anger.
I woke up early this morning, well actually truth be told, I barely slept last night. I had about a thousand thoughts running through my mind, and by the time 6am rolled around, I decided my best course of action was to start a blog to share our experience.
I used to be a good sleeper, but in the last few years a mix of personal stressors, professional stressors and my husband’s snoring, have conspired to changed that. But, last night was different. I didn’t just think about the normal thoughts of “why us?” or “why now?” or “how many more times do we have to endure this?” or even the dreaded “what if?” questions. These are all questions I think about, but last night, I kept thinking about how pathetic it is that the only person outside of my marriage that I can talk to about this, is a paid professional psychologist. If only 1% of the population experiences repeat pregnancy loss (which is defined as 3 consecutive miscarriages), how am I supposed to find someone who actually understands? Someone to share stories with, someone to call when I need to talk, someone who know what to say and more importantly what not to say (i.e. well you can always try again, or how far along were you (as if the time matters). Not that I wish someone else to be enduring our heartache (I wouldn’t wish this experience upon anyone), but since I know there are other people out there going through this, I guess it would just be nice to actually know someone.
So, here I am now. If I have all these thoughts, then maybe someone else does too. So, maybe, they will stumble upon this blog and find comfort in knowing that they truly are not alone.
Over the next few weeks/months, I plan to share my story about our repeat pregnancy loses / miscarriages. I think I’ll post about:
- How each miscarriage experience has been completely different.
- How our support networks (including friends, family and the medical system) have helped and hurt us.
- How we are getting through this together as a couple.
- Why we keep trying for a healthy baby.
- How we look at the future, which may be nothing like either of us ever dreamed.
I am not a medical professional, nor is my husband, so please understand that this is just my experience and my thoughts. For factual medical advice, please speak to your doctor and/or psychologist – they are the experts.