This week brought a revelation. I mean, an UTTER revelation. After a 9-10 week bloggless existence, I apologise for any garbling.
The background: I’m pregnant. The fact I didn’t actually dare say the words for the first 10 weeks is testament to the journey to get to this point. Things have changed. The dreams I utterly truly believed would not happen for us, ever, suddenly happened.
If you haven’t read the ‘About’ section, the short version of my story is that it took 20 months to get a positive test, following weeks and weeks of tests, intrusive scans, bloods, medicines, disappointment, false hope. Within 9 weeks, it was all over. And in just three short months, it’d happened twice more. 3 out of 3 losses, yet tests revealed absolutely nothing wrong – all just “bad luck”. The first cycle after restarting treatment following recurrent pregnancy loss tests, I felt hope for the first time in months and it felt beautiful. But who would ever have put money on that cycle being successful? I certainly wouldn’t have. Yet it happened. The positive test again.
Suddenly now, here I am at 17.5 weeks. And I’m trying to make sense of everything. People always seem to spout that crappy sentence of everything happens for a reason, both when you’re struggling to conceive and now it’s still being patronisingly spoken to me when we have conceived. I think that’s a load of crap. There’s a reason we had to endure that, is there? Please, do enlighten me! I’d like to say I’d had a huge revelation as to what the reason for the 30 months of heartache was for, why it couldn’t just be easier. Lights shining from heaven, perhaps some cherubs singing or a giant neon sign would be great, you know, let me know I’d passed some kind of test. But no, there’s no obvious reason why we had to go through what we did, yet others sail through. If every effect has a cause, what did I do to cause this?
When we got that first all-clear scan, it made me question things further because I couldn’t understand why now. What made this time different? Why was I getting to this point, yet I was reading about others who have been through more and tried for longer. I know babies aren’t handed out on a ‘who has struggled the most’ basis, but as happy as I was, the injustices of (in)fertility seemed just as rife, despite being on ‘the other side’. Even though we’d struggled and been through so much, this didn’t take away that tinge of guilt – why us and why not X? Why are they still struggling?
And here’s where, after a lot of trying to work through the many questions (in)fertility brings, I’ve only just this week realised a glaringly obvious fact that was previously unseeable. I don’t even know what made it come to my mind, but I cried when it did: (in)fertility isn’t about fairness or qualities of the person involved, how deserving you are or how much you wish for it. I struggled for the entire time blaming myself, wondering why never me, why other people deserved it and not me, that I must not be a good person. Only now am I realising it’s not anything to do with that, it’s not a judgement of me as a person, nor am I any more deserving than I was a year ago. And whilst initially that sounds harsh, it’s oddly comforting, that we are NOT to blame for any of the horrible, horrible pain we have suffered. That’s powerful stuff.
Everything does NOT happen for a reason; this is not due to something we have or have not done. We are not, and never are, to blame.
So, no, it’s not that ‘everything happens for a reason’, but rather I’ve found that ‘everything happens and makes you ‘you’ ‘. I am different from January 2013 when we started trying, without a doubt. This experience has made me into the me sitting here right now.
I’ve always been one to put my all into everything I do, often to the detriment of me but at no time ever in my life have I ever put myself so far down the priority list as I have done this year. I had barely any time off following my miscarriages (none after the second), despite the physical pain I went through (I know some can be ‘just’ bleeding, but mine were the full on contraction types which hospitalised me the third time). My health collapsed, my mental state was in a terrible way and yet I did nothing to preserve me. People kept telling me to put me first but there was no way to. My career is quite unique in that it is very, very hard to miss a day, let alone a chunk of time but from now, no, my family and I come first. Now, though, I’m changed. ‘Us’ before work. That includes my husband, because I really do feel like he’s been neglected for a long time, always supporting, never supported and I’m so happy that he is back to himself after what’s felt like a long time.
I know I have become a far more passionate and compassionate person. The experiences I have had put me in a unique position and since announcing our news to friends and family, the amount of people contacting me to either say that they’re going through similar, to tell me that they’re expecting but very early and need someone to talk to, or that they’ve been through losses and are struggling, and even people contacting to say that our situation has given them hope – it’s staggering and I feel utter privilege to be the person to listen. Really, I would never say the reason we have been through what we have is to be able to help others, because I’m sorry, that doesn’t make me feel any better for the tears I have shed and the pain we have felt. But it is a very, very good by-product, that my friends going through this utterly shitty time will never be alone. And I will be there whenever they need me.
And finally, I am so freakin’ appreciative. Not that I wasn’t before, but I’m going through a whole new level, graduating from GCSE to Doctorate Level of Appreciation. Not once have I or will I moan about this pregnancy. The whole time we weren’t conceiving or when we kept losing babies, I despised reading comments from pregnant women moaning about how ill they felt or how their back hurt or how they were putting on weight, etc etc, and it felt like an extra kick in the teeth. I wanted to grab them and shake them, and yell, ‘You wanted a baby, love, so shut your stupid moaning mouth.’ So for each puke, each moment of feeling really quite poorly, each headache and pain, we high-fived. I am beyond grateful because I know that each of these things is someone a woman just like the ‘me’ from 6 months ago would kill for, but also that it means I am lucky. I don’t ‘deserve’ this any more than the next lady, nor any more than I deserved the heartache, but I will not be heard complaining about the luck I have had.
I am not to blame for anything I went through but everything that happened has made me ‘me’. So for now, I will remain there for any and every person who ever needs me, I will put my family first and I will remain so grateful for each moment I have. Everything is Only For Now. Whether in good or bad times, I hold onto that.