To women struggling with infertility
Trigger warning – this posts talks about miscarriage and infertility.
What I wish I could tell my younger self – before my three miscarriages and year of infertility
Dear younger self,
You are about to experience the hardest, darkest, and loneliest year of your life. You will experience loss and heartbreak that you didn’t dream possible.
I wish I could give you a hug and let you cry in my arms. I wish I could take away your pain. I wish I could be your confidante, when you feel like you have no one to turn to.
I wish I could tell you that this will be the hardest year of life, but this will also be a turning point. You would never want to relive that year, but you will come out the other end a better person, a more empathetic person, a more caring person, a more courageous person. It will make you a better mother. It will make you a better wife. It will make you understand happiness and joy in a whole new way, which will influence your happiness for the rest of your life. That does not take away from the devastation, but know that good will come from this pain.
The year will feel like an emotional rollercoaster.
When you decide to start trying for your second child, you will get pregnant easily. Months will go by. You will tell people. You will start to show.
Then it will all vanish. In a painful few hours you will lose that baby. It will be so unexpected. It will hit you like a truck.
You will say things like “in retrospect something was off the whole pregnancy”, but in reality, you never thought it would happen to you.
You will not slow down though. You will talk about statistics. How statistically now that you have had one miscarriage, it won’t happen again and your next pregnancy will be successful. You will try to control everything. You will try to control the uncontrollable. This is your defense mechanism.
This is the first thing you will later wish you had done differently. You will wish you had mourned that loss more. You will wish you had given your heart time to grieve and given your body time to heal.
You will get pregnant again quickly. And you will lose it quickly too, just a few weeks in.
You will be devastated. But you will not pause. You will relentlessly focus on how to get pregnant again.
This is the second thing you will wish you had done differently. You will wish you had taken care of your soul.
But you will keep going and get pregnant a third time.
You will lose it quickly.
You will lay on the floor crying harder than you ever thought possible. You will feel like a failure. You will feel guilty. You will feel alone.
You will tell your story because you think it will make you feel connected to people, less alone. But you will feel an isolation you hadn’t imagined. This is something people cannot understand until they have experienced it.
Then you will play a horrible waiting game. After 3 miscarriages in a row, you will spend months and months and months trying to get pregnant.
But you won’t.
You will wait and wait and wait.
You once thought there was nothing worse than the miscarriages, but in the end, you think this is worse, or the combination is worse – knowing you can get pregnant and losing them, and then not getting pregnant at all.
You will learn that secondary infertility is a very real thing.
People will say insensitive things. They won’t understand how hurtful those words can be.
You will cry and feel broken.
You will feel alone. Being with people will be hard, because it only makes you feel lonelier.
Your husband will feel pain, but it will be different than yours and it will be hard. Very hard.
These will be the hardest and darkest months of your life to date.
The worst part is that you will be so wrapped up in your desire to be pregnant, that for an entire year, you will walk through the motions with your first child, but you will not really be “there” with him.
This will be your third regret. That you spent so much time focusing on the future that you wanted, that you will not spend enough time being grateful for what you have.
But you are strong and you are smart. After months and months of the same thing over and over – trying and not getting pregnant, you will step back and ask yourself. Why is this happening? Not just why is this happening in my body, but what should I be learning from this experience?
You will learn about mindfulness. It will help.
You will learn about gratitude and start keeping a gratitude journal. It will help a bit now and it will help a lot months from now, but you won’t even know that yet.
You will learn to meditate and it will transform how you respond to challenging situations in your life.
You will discover resources like Beat Infertility and find other people struggle with the same pain.
You will join the gym and be so grateful that you did.
You will start a journey that will lead you to great things. Those first steps will be hard, but it will be worth it and one day you will even feel grateful that you went through all of that pain, heartache, and isolation.
One day, you will get very lucky (and you will by this point understand that it is luck and not skill), and you will get pregnant again – your 5th pregnancy.
You will learn that pregnancy after multiple miscarriages is terrifying and emotional. It will be harder, much harder than you expected.
But you will make it through.
You will have a beautiful baby boy. Those first few months will be challenging, really challenging. Your baby will have colic and food intolerances and will scream for 4-6 hours a day.
You will use everything you learned about mindfulness, gratitude, and meditation every day. It will help you more than you would have thought possible. It will prevent you from sinking into what could easily have become depression.
Then life will get easier again.
You will be calmer, happier. You will feel like your family is whole. You will feel like your life is whole.
You will mindfully play with your two boys. You will be grateful for the little things that make you happy. You will teach your children to be grateful.
You will always mourn the loss of the babies that were never born. They will always be a part of you. They will shape the amazing woman you become. You will miss that you never knew them, but know that if you did, then you wouldn’t have the second child that you love so dearly. Miscarriage is a hard and confusing pain.
You will make it out the other end of this a better and happier person, but it will be a hard journey to get there.
I wish you would be more kind to yourself as you go through it.