I'm going to talk about the rollercoaster of trying for a baby. A lot of this is not often talked about: disappointment, loss, hope, emotional pain and also the toll all of this takes on you, your body and the relationship with your partner.
What challenge does this story focus on?
Trying for a baby is not straight forward. The absence of what is taught and spoken about is enormous. Words like miscarriage I had heard before but never thought would apply to me. It turns out that once I started getting pregnant, I can get pregnant quite easily; however after 3 miscarriages I did not feel so lucky. Physically my body had to recover and that took time and was a constant reminder of the loss. Emotionally I had to grieve the loss of the life and future I had created.
How has this challenge affected you?
It was really hard to deal with. The worst thing is there was nothing I could do and no explanation for it. I just had to keep trying. And dealing with this while seeing friends and family have children is deeply hurtful. I was extremely happy for them but so sad for myself. It has made me much less judgmental of people: you never know what they are going through. I was lucky that my partner and I have a solid relationship and we had each other.
What has or is helping you to move forward with this challenge?
I found that giving myself time to grieve was important. I also have taken a lot from hearing others' stories and accounts. You hear stats like '1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage' but to hear actual stories is powerful and unifying. It doesn't stop the pain or give a happy ending but it did stop me feeling alone. Telling close friends and family was also a huge help as having their support was invaluable. Personally, getting back on the trying for a baby wagon also helped me to move forward when I was ready. I have a very understanding partner and his support was absolutely key in me being able to move on. I found going to the 12 week scans almost unbearable because of what they might tell me but his support helped me through.
What have you learnt as a result of this challenge?
I have learnt that sharing and talking to other parents who have gone through this to be very cathartic. Because it is so common there is always someone who has or if not knows someone who has gone through it. You never really know what others are going through. I have learnt that my relationship with my partner is a solid and caring one. I have learnt that I am able to feel extremely deeply. It is very sobering but also with the lows come some really fantastic highs. And the human body and mind is absolutely incredible. The changes that happen and how the body and mind are connected is totally intertwined. I am much more tuned in to my body than ever before. Also there is not always an explanation for everything, sometimes things happen and that is just how it is.
How do you use this learning in your life now?
I am very lucky that my journey resulted in 2 happy boys; the parenting journey continues. The path to getting here absolutely influences my life now. I feel much more empathy for others and I can use this to help friends. I do not judge and I also feel that the naivety I had before this all started has melted away. I have a lot more respect for the mothers and auntys out there who have gone through this journey before. I am always happy to (over)share my story if it will help someone else. I am much more resilient and myself and my partner are stronger than ever. I also try to listen to my body when it's telling me I am tired or down and to go easy on myself more.
What positive message would you like the reader to go away with?
I would say to others out there going through this same journey to talk about things with your partner, share your story with trusted friends and relatives but most of all give yourself time and space to go through your thoughts and emotions. Don't hold it in, talk it through and connect with others. Keep going and keep trying and go easy on yourself. It can be all consuming but I think that it is so important to be relaxed and happy. Easier said than done I know!