I gave birth to my first daughter after my several years of infertility. And then 6 years later I had an unplanned pregnancy…
I’m going to issue a Trigger Warning before even getting into this story because I know if I had to read a post like this 7 years ago, I would have loathed the author. And I would have had every right to.
So, if you have been trying to start or grow a family for some time, and reading about complain-y, ungrateful pregnant women makes you feel angry/sad/rageful or any other feeling under the sun, I give you permission right now to close this post, because I suspect you will loathe the author too. And you will have every right to…
Almost 8 years ago my world had become all about having a baby. My partner and I had been trying to start a family for years and at that time we were working with endocrinologists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, Chinese medicine doctors, chiropractors and surgeons to make it happen. I was a doula so there was no stone left unturned when it came to alternative modalities, and truthfully I was willing to try anything.
All I wanted was a baby, I was consumed by it, it took over nearly every aspect of my life. Actually, it nearly ruined some aspects of my life, it certainly ruined some friendships.
But then one day, it happened. One day, all of those feelings of sadness, jealousy, anger and inadequacy vanished and I was pregnant. And after 9 months with a different feeling (worry), I gave birth to my daughter, 6 years ago.
And parenting was hard.
I love my daughter (to the moon and back as they say) and it was hard. I had little to no support, I lived away from home so I had no family around, and I felt overwhelmed. My fabulous daughter cried a lot, would never be put down, and hardly slept. Like I said before, I was a doula, I felt like I needed to be good at this, so I pretended I was and I just kept going at a pace I couldn’t maintain.
It wasn’t until she was a little toddler that the fog began to lift that I realized what I had been through. I could barely even recognize myself in the mirror.
I know this might sound weird to say, but I couldn’t even recognize my own feelings anymore. I had been going through the motions, trying to do my best in all the different aspects of my life, and failing at most, at least in my eyes.
Oddly enough, we decided then to try for #2. Seems like a good idea right? I wanted my daughter to have a sibling. I grew up in a big family, we are super close, my sisters are my best friends, and I wanted that for her. So we tried. For 2 years. And nothing.
There was always the option of going back to the clinics and going through rounds of IUI and IVF. I did know that was an option. But for me, it wasn’t. I clearly remembered what I was like back then and I didn’t want to be that person while I was parenting my daughter. I was finally beginning to feel like myself again, I was enjoying park dates and crafts and ‘us time’ in a way I hadn’t before, and I didn’t want to lose that.
So, we made the very hard decision to be a ‘one and done’ family, and although I had to mourn the loss of the family I always dreamed of, I knew it was for the best. In time, I actually really loved our family just the way it was, especially when my daughter reached school age and we both gained a little bit of independence. She had school and I could focus more on my business. We started travelling together, playing board games, having chats at coffee shops; the baby stuff was done and it was pure bliss!
Then, you will never guess what happened?!
I found out I was pregnant.
Now I know what you are thinking. I’m one of those people who stopped trying and then BOOM you’re pregnant. Well please don’t tell anyone. I hated those people. I also hated the people who told me stories of those people. Not only does this ‘stop trying and it will happen’ story not help anyone, but it places the blame of infertility back on the people trying to conceive. It is simply not possible to ‘stop trying’ when you still want it so badly.
I don’t want to be anybody’s anecdotal evidence that makes someone feel bad, especially when it is not at all backed by science.
So I was suddenly pregnant and instead of feeling happy, I cried. A lot. Every night for weeks. I knew I had choices, but deep down there was no question what I was going to do. So I cried whenever I thought about being stuck at home with a crying newborn, whenever I thought about losing my financial freedom, whenever I thought about never having alone time again. Then I would cry over the guilt for not feeling anything other than blessed to have been given this gift.
Each midwife appointment I had, every ultrasound, confirmed what I already knew yet I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I wanted so badly to be excited, but I didn’t feel much of anything. I went through the motions as my belly grew, hoping I would remember how badly I once wanted this. It was as if my body ran off without me and my mind was trying desperately to catch up.
Deep down I knew that my mind would never catch up if I didn’t take time out and think about what was happening. Instead, I buried myself in more work and whatever else I could fill my mind with so that I didn’t have to sit in the worry I felt about my life changing so dramatically (productive, I know). It is in this ‘busy-ness’ that I spent the full 9 months of my pregnancy.
I do, however, want you to know that this story does have a happy ending. I’m currently writing this post while my little one sleeps beside me. I also want you to know that this story does get worse before it gets better, but I will save that for part two, the birth.
Natasha Marchand is a birth doula trainer, hypnobirthing instructor, prenatal fitness/yoga instructor and business consultant. She is the co-founder of bebo mia and Baby & Me Fitness and is also the proud mother of 6yo Sadie, conceived with ART after a 4 year struggle. She now has another on the way!
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