I thought motherhood would come easily. I was young and I didn’t know anyone around that struggled with infertility, and if someone did, they didn’t talk about it. When I decided that I wanted to become pregnant, the idea that I might struggle wasn’t even on my radar. And I didn’t. Two months after wanting to become a mum, I was pregnant with my first son. I became alive when I was pregnant and knew that I was meant to be a mother.
As my son grew, my uterus ached for him to have a sibling. Although it took a bit longer to conceive, I was pregnant with my second son six months later. Pregnancy was blissful. I absolutely loved being pregnant. Nobody looked at me in disgust with my growing belly. They didn’t see a fat person but a woman carrying life. My autoimmune illness would go into remission. I never dealt with morning sickness. After the birth was a whole other story filled with postnatal depression, psychosis, and an autoimmune illness that wreaked havoc on my body. Yet, I knew that my family wasn’t complete.
Friends and family would ask if we were going to try for a girl. And I would always laugh it off. I didn’t care either way. To be honest, being a boy mum was pretty great, and having a third son would be just as wonderful. Shortly after my son’s first birthday, my husband and I started trying for baby number three. Little did I know that the next three years would be filled with such tragedy and loss.
After a couple of months, I became pregnant. I couldn’t wait to tell my family and friends. I went to the craft store and bought things to make a shirt for my youngest son to wear. It said, “Big Brother in Training.” He wore it when we went over to my mom’s to go swimming. We didn’t say anything and waited for her to see it. And she read it as soon as we walked into the door. She was my favourite person to tell that I was expecting because it brought her so much joy. And, I loved seeing that. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. I could not wait to hear the heartbeat. And waiting was the hardest yet most exciting part. How far along was I? Did I get the due date right? Will there be more than one heartbeat? There was just an endless stream of happy thoughts.
The day of my appointment finally arrived. AHH!! This is it. I even planned on recording the heartbeat on my phone this time around. And after the appointment, my husband and I were going to head to Babies R Us to celebrate. He took the whole day off! And we were going to have dinner at my mom’s to talk all about the appointment. I had butterflies in my stomach sitting in the ultrasound room. I couldn’t wait to see my little gummy bear. Except, nothing was there. There was a sac but no heartbeat. No baby. In an instant, I felt utter heartbreak. Instead of talking about due dates and measurements, we talked about ways to abort. I had three options. To see if my body would remove blighted ovum on its own, medication to help speed up the process, or surgery. I wanted this to be over fast, so I picked surgery.
I wish I could say it only happened once. But, in three years, I lost six pregnancies. I was open about my struggles with infertility. With each pregnancy, I would make an announcement. I felt that if I celebrated every one like it was the first, the baby would stay. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stay pregnant. How could I be a mother of two and struggling with infertility? It made me so mad. I rejoiced each positive pregnancy test and crumbled with each loss. Six miscarriages to grieve through.
As I opened with my struggles with infertility, so did family and friends. Yet, I didn’t complain out loud. How could I? I had two beautiful sons. I was lucky to be a mother when people I knew weren’t able to. I spoke about the heartbreak, but I would always wrap it up in warm, fuzzy reminders that I was fortunate. Not only did I have the shame of infertility, but I also had a tremendous about of guilt for thinking or speaking badly about it.
Looking back, it seems so unfair that I couldn’t grieve because I was already a mother. Even to this day, I feel as if I’m saying something wrong by complaining. But aren’t I allowed? Each loss hurt. Each loss was unfair. Each loss broke me. That’s the truth. I hated my body for failing me. I wanted to SCREAM but instead, I cried softly in the shower or in the darkness underneath the covers of my bed.
Yes, I am a mother. But I am also a person that has suffered through six miscarriages. My children didn’t take away the pain. I hid it because of them. It’s hard to not wrap up this article with an inspiring message because hope helps. But what is inspirational about infertility? Give yourself permission to rage and grieve. And don’t let anyone tell you that your suffering isn’t real.