5 weeks pregnant
“But what if it goes wrong again?” My friend asked when I told her of my plan to record this second pregnancy journey in a blog…Like I hadn’t thought of that?!
I think anyone touched by the loss of a baby, at any stage, knows something of the fear that history will repeat itself. Just because things went wrong before, doesn’t mean we’re owed a happy ending. Disney lied. Nothing in life is certain. That realisation has shaken me to my very core over the last few months. It’s put a question mark over everything. The world feels unsafe and out of control.
But beside her comment echoing my own greatest fear- that it may indeed happen again, there was something else that bothered me about what was said…. what if it did happen again? Does that mean that my story would no longer be valid? If I lose this baby too am I to slink off quietly to protect the rest of the world from my pain?
We seem to live in a world which frowns upon ‘airing dirty laundry’. Social media is a prime example. It’s a superficial playground where people create a false reality- one in which their lives are always happy and perfect. I too am guilty of it. I proudly posted my pregnancy announcement and scan pictures but when my baby died I felt such a deep sense of inadequacy that I simply deactivated my account and disappeared off the radar.
There is a social convention of not announcing a pregnancy until 12 weeks gestation. Does this really protect the family? or just the rest of the world? Maybe if we could break the silence over baby loss then this could help raise understanding and awareness. But who will stand up and speak out? I’m afraid to.
Because there is something about baby loss that feels shameful and I feel this very strongly as a woman. Society tells me my primary function is to procreate. When I lost my baby I not only lost my future hopes and dreams, I also lost my success as a woman and as a mother. Losing Nieve feels like a personal reflection on me. Doesn’t every tragedy have a culprit? To lose my baby makes me feel defective. Responsible.
I have pinned my identity and self worth on my ability to reporoduce but I recognise how dangerous this is. When Nieve died I lost it all. When I found out I was pregnant again I got a little bit back. But it’s a dangerous place to be- my whole sense of self worth wrapped up in the success of another pregnancy.
One thing I have learned along this journey is that I need to be more than just the mother of the babies in my past and future. I’ve forgotten who I am. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a partner. I am a teacher, a friend. I have achieved things, been places, built relationships. I have wonderful friends, I have skills and interests and ideas. I need to learn to feel enough.
I purposely titled my blog ‘My journey after loss’ rather than ‘my pregnancy after loss’ because although the pregnancy isn’t a certainty, the journey is. I don’t know what the outcome of this pregnancy will be. Maybe, if you’re reading this in a year’s time you will know. A story already written. Oh how I wish I could skip to that page. What I’m realising is that although I can’t control my destiny , I can control my response to it. And that is all I can do.