5 weeks+ 2 days pregnant
I’m a hard worker. If I set my sights on something I will put the effort in to try to achieve it and my hard work has generally paid off. It helped me to succeed in my degree, it got me a career in teaching, it helped me to be successful in my job, it got me the savings for a house deposit, it’s helped me to establish and maintain successful relationships in my life. It’s instilled in me the value that input = output.
We’re constantly told that the road to success comes through hard work and determination. But how does that apply to procreation? Certainly, you can do your part. You can nourish and care for your body and you can calculate the best time for conception and ‘act accordingly’. But that is it. The rest is down to nature. There’s something I find quite hard to accept about that.
When we began trying to conceive again, the stakes suddenly felt a lot higher than the last time. I had already lost a baby. Already failed at being a mother once. I felt like I had something to prove. Or maybe something to disprove.
So in the first month, when my period arrived, it symbolised yet more failure. I took it personally and resolved that I must do more, I must try harder. And try harder I did. I began recording my temperature, I took ovulation tests and read anything and everything I could get my hands on about conception. I obsessed about how my body worked and diagnosed myself with atleast half a dozen different fertility problems! I would not accept that I wasn’t fully responsible for my ability or inibility to become pregnant.
When my second period arrived it was another blow. I had given it everything I could and still I had failed. I put so much pressure on myself and in hindsight it was pointless. But after the total loss of control I felt at losing Nieve, I struggled with the additional powerlessness that came with trying to conceive again.
In the end I was blessed (lucky) to catch on the third attempt. Trying to conceive after loss is a difficult road though. Some of our walks are relatively short and some of us aren’t as lucky and have a much longer trek to make. The sense of betrayal you feel by your body after losing the first baby can be compounded by feeling let down once again when you try and ‘fail’ to conceive again. It can also add an additional layer of grief too, as you grieve each month for the lost potential of another child.
After losing a baby you kind of feel that the universe owes you a favour. A friend of mine commented that after all the bad luck we’d had, we were surely due to win the lottery. If only fate worked that way. If only the universe gave back as much as it took. We would’ve fulfilled our quota of bad luck and be assured nothing but happiness from here on out. But misfortune doesn’t keep tabs.
In society there is also a notion of ‘give good, get good’ but this betrays us into thinking that if you are a kind person, only good will come your way. When I first lost my baby, I questioned ‘why me?’ And ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ I now see that this was something that happened to me, not because of me. Bad luck doesn’t bypass the good, the kind or the brave.
In my pregnancy with Nieve I was ‘conscientious’. I watched what I ate and drank, I took all the necessary vitamins, I read parenting books and strictly followed all the guidance and pregnancy do’s and dont’s. When she died anyway I felt utterly cheated. Surely if you do everything right your baby will live? Surely then, I must’ve done something wrong to make my baby die? It’s difficult for me to accept that what happened to Nieve was just fate. Just nature at its cruelest.
When I found out I was pregnant again, a part of me concluded that I must somehow try harder this time if I want a different outcome. I’ve wracked my brain for what I can do better. Maybe I can drink more water? Abstain from coffee altogether? Do the absolute bare minimum of exercise?
I feel such an urge to control the outcome of this pregnancy but I know I can’t. It’s like gripping tightly to a cliff edge and knowing I have to let go. I can’t see what’s below me but I can only hope my feet will touch the ground. I have to accept that I don’t have full control- that this baby’s fate lies in the delicate hands of destiny.
Dearest Destiny, if you’re listening, please hold tight. Try your hardest.