My theme for the year, 2016, is “Bravery.” I will explain one of the reasons I chose this theme in this post. Other reasons I chose this theme, I will disclose at another time.
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. The first step is giving ourselves permission to show up.” -Brene Brown, The Daring Way.
I continue to wrestle with how much of my story, my experiences, my life and thoughts, I should share in a public forum. It’s always a vulnerable experience to click “publish” after writing a post.
The experience I am going to share in this post feels particularly vulnerable and I’ve thought about my motivations behind wanting to publish it or not. And I decided I wanted to express it in a public way because of the quote I shared at the beginning of this post. In the last six months, I’ve had experiences I feel, perhaps not ready, but willing to talk about. These experiences are part of my story and giving voice to those experiences is one of the ways I practice self-compassion as well as a way I can “show up” in my life. Giving voice to these experiences also is a way for me to honor those experiences and validate my own reactions.
So without any more preamble, I will directly address what I am alluding to: Within the last six months, I have had three miscarriages.
Trying for another child feels incredibly vulnerable and brave for us.
I know the last time I talked on the blog about planning our family, I believe I shared that we were in a “holding pattern” per-say, of “not deciding” whether to have more children. The tide slowly shifted as we worked through a lot of our reasons for not wanting to have more children. I also recognized that I don’t have all the time in the world to sit on the fence about this as I continue to just get older (turning 34 next month) and my girls continue to grow up.
In August, I expressed willingness to start trying for another baby but did not expect that within that same month, I would be pregnant! It took us 7 months to get pregnant with Cami so I was more than shocked when my period didn’t come as expected. However, a little over a week later, that pregnancy turned into a miscarriage. I noticed with the first miscarriage, I felt relieved. I had barely begun to wrap my head and heart around the idea of trying for another baby and felt overwhelmed that it would become a reality so soon. While I felt relief, I also felt increased awareness that I do want another baby.
So we kept trying.
I won’t go into many details of the next two miscarriages. I’ll just say that even with the help of prescribed progesterone, both pregnancies were lost at six weeks.
This last one has been the hardest emotionally and physically. In many ways I’m really grateful I miscarried early, before I got too attached. But I did get attached to my little blastocycsts. I could feel my body react and change to their presence, preparing itself to grow a baby. And then I’d suddenly stop feeling those symptoms and within a couple days the bleeding would start.
I feel confused. I feel like something is wrong with my body that I would have three miscarriages in a row; especially when I was given added progesterone to support the most recent pregnancies. I’ve had a miscarriage before these three, but my body has been able to grow and sustain and give birth to three live babies…so what is different now? Will we figure out what is different/wrong? Will we be able to fix it? Will I be able to carry another pregnancy to term?
I feel sad. I feel like life just keeps reminding me that I don’t get to plan my life the way I want. I feel sad that I keep accumulating more losses. I feel tempted in moments to throw myself a well-deserved pity party. These miscarriages bring up my grief for Charlie and that is painful.
I feel upset. I feel upset that life continues to be unfair. The self-righteous part of me protests that we’ve already gone through more than any parent should be asked to go through so we deserve to have a continuous flow of blessings, when and how we want them! (Yes I hear how pretentious I sound) Or at worst, we shouldn’t have to keep feeling hurt and keep losing. While I am upset, and I believe those upset feelings are completely valid, I also know that I am blessed that I have been able to give birth to three babies that I have been able to cuddle and kiss. That’s three more than a lot of people get the opportunity to have.
I feel existential angst. These miscarriages trigger all my questions about God and whether He’s involved in our lives or not and if so, how much? Is He to blame for my miscarriages? Does He want us to have more kids? Is there any meaning in the miscarriages? Or should I refrain from giving God credit and recognize that something is going on with my body that we need to figure out? Should I pray and ask that we can get pregnant? Will that help at all? I have certainly learned through losing Charlie, that I can’t control God…but it also makes me hesitant to ask Him for anything. It feels too vulnerable. Why are we encouraged, as Christians, to express gratitude for anything positive in our lives and call them blessings from God, but refrain from blaming Him for bad things that happen? How to we reconcile that? It certainly causes me to have serious attachment issues and want to withdraw.
I also continue to feel hope. While three miscarriages in close succession has been pretty hard emotionally, I’m not down for the count. Not by a long shot. I actually feel like we’re at the beginning of another journey and we need to seek answers. We meet with my OB in a little over a week to discuss where to go from here. I imagine we’ll likely pursue seeing a fertility specialist at this point as well.
In the meantime, I’m trying to stay present in my life. I’m trying to appreciate more each moment with my girls, engage in those things I value, and practice mindfulness and self-compassion.
We’ll see how this journey progresses. While I know we won’t have a new little Packard in our arms this 2016, I am determined to make amazing memories and have great adventures this year!