Fertility is Personal
It’s very challenging to write about something that is both deeply personal, and also something I‘m supposedly a “professional” expert on. The truth is, even I, as a professional “fertility expert” have experienced three miscarriages, a challenging pregnancy, and a c-section. My journey into motherhood was not glamorous and it certainly was not graceful. It was full of heartbreak, grief, loneliness, and isolation. It is difficult to describe how you would feel after being told a pregnancy is no longer viable within your body. I still hold back tears thinking about the moment I thought I would hear a heartbeat, only to be told there no longer was one.
The loss is real, the grief consumes your body, and the isolation begins. Then the real challenges begin. Anxieties surrounding going to the doctor. The numbness, resentment, and judgment you feel about yourself. Aimlessly trying to find ways to trust your body again. It’s a complete loss of all control, and I understand all of this. It is challenging to feel strong, trustworthy and hopeful about your body when you only feel betrayed and alone.
On top of the internal personal struggles, getting used to the looks of pity from relatives and friends is also part of the challenge. It’s strange, miscarriages are actually quite common. However, that’s not something you hear until it happens to you. Since most miscarriages happen before people even share the news that they are expecting, this awkwardness can be avoided. However, for those who shared the news, learning to deal with the pity party or weird (and not comforting) comments is an adjustment. For me, the reality is that there really is nothing to say. I say this completely judgment free, but unless you have experienced a miscarriage it’s something that is very unrelateable.
Experience promotes empathy
I recall about a week following my first miscarriage. My body was so messed up for a while after that one. Still a week or so after my D+C I randomly started throwing up in a parking lot. Yeah, that was mortifying. While I am sure those who saw me thought I was hungover, in reality my hormones were still f*cked and the raging nausea came on QUICK. I explained to the friend I was with, that I had just miscarried and that clearly my hormone levels were still out of wack. I was beside myself, so embarrassed, and trying to hold it together as best I could. When she responded with “you’ll figure it out.” I was floored. I am still floored thinking about this reaction. What the f*ck? I will figure what out exactly?
I have no anger or any resentment to this person. It was just so enlightening to me and I have never forgotten the exchange. People in general are just too uncomfortable to be empathic when it comes to a pregnancy loss. The news of a baby is “supposed” to be happy and exciting. I think hearing differently can be too much for some to emotionally grapple with.
We Are Not Broken Or Damaged
I have lost three pregnancies. Each one different in its own way, and each one I think about often. Yes, I have a Daughter. I am a Mother. However, that journey was filled with it’s own challenges as well. I don’t find pregnancy to be simple, glowing, or fun. No I did not do a gender reveal party, and yes, I think they are f*cking stupid. Becoming a mother is so much more complicated then simply having a baby. It is not an event, it is a life changing precious experience. There is a real difference between the two. I’m motivated by all my experiences, and at my acupuncture practice I help women understand not all journeys are easy. Some of us just hit some speed bumps along the way but, it never means we are broken or damaged. We are women, and our strength is unwavering.
Truthfully, I’m sure a huge part of me dives head first into specializing in fertility, because a part of me desperately wants me to help women overcome this feeling of loss and lack of control. I am deeply familiar with this feeling, and the heartbreak is so real. It stings and sorry to say that it will stay with you. Just know I get it, I hear you, and you are not alone. Over time, I have found that I’m not only healing my patients, but I’m also healing myself.