My struggle has never lied in getting pregnant.
My struggle is keeping babies.
I’ve been pregnant 4 times and I’ve only brought one baby home.
I know that there are women who have never seen a positive test, or women who have yet to bring home a live baby. There are women who will never see that dream come true. But I can only speak to my experience.
My experience is that I can get pregnant, and more often than not, I lose the baby.
By the time I saw my fourth positive test, I was feeling jaded. A positive on a pregnancy test was supposed to signal some kind of certainty. But when the plus sign appeared, I felt more scared than excited. There was joy, but there was also fear–and a lot of it.
Losing three babies made that plus sign look more like a question mark.
After having experienced miscarriage and stillbirth, I view pregnancy as a separate experience from having a baby. Having my own living baby has done little to change that perspective. When I see a pregnant woman on the street or in the hallway at work, I don’t think “She’s having a baby.” Instead, I think, “She’s pregnant. I hope that works out for her.”
So many people think pregnancy equals baby but I know better.
For women struggling with infertility and loss, becoming pregnant is not the ultimate goal. What they really want is to bring home a living baby. A positive test, a confirmed pregnancy, is nothing more than another step on a long, uncertain journey. Understanding this may help others understand why pregnancy after loss is such an emotional experience.
We are afraid to imagine our dreams coming true because we remember all too well what it feels like when those dreams end.
This is not to imply that we have given up hope. We haven’t. We know hope, but we also know pain. We know joy, and we also know fear.
The reality of pregnancy and trying to conceive after loss means celebrating the positives and acknowledging the negatives.
Now I know that you must sift through all that hurt of losing your baby so you can find the hope to move forward. You must know your emotions are valid and that you deserve dreams. You must give yourself the grace to understand that hope can look like trying again and, sometimes, it looks like daring to imagine a new dream.
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