We All Have A Story…
A series of events happened over the course of the week or two after I saw this video that even further drove my thoughts on the topic of not only stillbirth but of this notion of nature not always “getting it right”. The events included a few friends suffering early miscarriages (which I am no stranger to) and then having the privilege of having two very intimate conversations with mother’s in my circle who have lost babies after 20 weeks gestation. Listening to their stories felt like I was given sacred privileged information and I was now a gate keeper of a tiny sliver of their hearts.
At 32, my Facebook newsfeed and Instagram is heavily populated by pregnancy and birth announcements. Which I truly do enjoy; but being the pessimistic, nervous Nelly that I am- I can’t help but think sometimes how is it that EVERY pregnancy announcement always is followed by a healthy mom and baby? Its not that I want things to go wrong for anyone, but the statistics do not add up in my scientific brain. The tragic inevitable truth is that nature is not without it’s flaws and does not always get it right. A pregnancy does not always equal a smiling mom and baby…or a baby at all… yet we seldom hear or see these stories.
If you don’t know me in person- I am a talker (I can’t help it!!!). I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but I have a hard time understanding privacy. Not that I can’t understand it- I get it- it’s just very opposite of who I am. In the early days of my child bearing journey when things weren’t going smoothly, I definitely felt shame, embarrassment, and hesitancy to speak on a “taboo” topic- but I felt inclined to share my journey anyway. This is my human experience and my experiences make me human. Not only that but I WANTED to talk about- it was therapeutic – I didn’t want to carry around the sadness alone. I think this is why I ask the “inappropriate” questions that you’re not supposed to ask women when it comes to childbearing. Because I guess I feel deep down women want to be asked and want to talk about their journeys and loss and perceived failures but feel afraid to. (And for those women that have crossed my path and really do just want to keep their privacy- I apologize if I’ve ever offended you :-X).
We All Have A Story…
Mine goes a little like this… Moving around a lot as a kid, I craved stability in my adult life and settled down early. I bought a house, got married to a good man, and started trying for a baby all before the age of 27. In hindsight, this was probably a bit rushed, but I really do have no regrets. I suffered my first miscarriage in early 2013 followed by two more over the next 9 months. My darling Mazzie girl is a clomid (fertility drug) baby. Breastfeeding had a rough start with us hitting basically every roadblock we could but I pushed through and came out the other side enlightened with a newfound passion. I had a stereotypical vaginal birth in a hospital with an epidural for my first daughter. My second pregnancy came easy without the help of fertility treatments but was an uncomfortable one that plagued me with terrible morning sickness. I had an unmedicated and somewhat traumatic vaginal home birth followed by severe Post Partum Depression/OCD. I breastfed my first daughter through pregnancy and tandem nursed until she was two years and 9 months old and am currently still nursing my second (that’s over THREE years of breastfeeding!!). This is MY story. Although I had trauma, I also had triumphs and I’m realizing every woman’s story is not so different from mine although the events may not be the same.
I know women who in their mid 30’s have the fertility of a 16 year old and can pop out babies like it’s nothing but for whatever reason couldn’t breastfeed. I know women who have trouble staying pregnant but give birth like a BOSS and handle the post partum phase like a breeze. I know women who are young, vibrant, and healthy yet are devastated and heartbroken by unexplained infertility. I know women who have amazing pregnancies and take to breastfeeding like they are Amazonian Goddesses yet have complicated births.
We are all unique and while our experiences share so much similarity, no two are the same. I try to remember behind every pregnancy and birth announcement; there is a woman, there is a family, there is a story. Sometimes women lose babies that they have already carved out a place for in their hearts, sometimes women will dream of seeing that little cross on a pregnancy test for years and may not ever see it. Sometimes women posing in pictures with their newborn babies smiling are truly suffering inside and do not tell a soul.
I never want to stop celebrating our triumphs, but I also don’t want to be naive to the pain and suffering it sometimes takes to get there. Some day we may find out the answers to the very many questions we have. Like how can a mother survive the loss of a child and what purpose does it serve? Maybe it’s not for us to know, or maybe there really isn’t a good answer. But I do know how a sunny warm day feels after a week of rain, or how the warm embrace of my husband feels after a day of disagreements. How can we appreciate the rainbow if we’ve never even seen the storm?