The decision to start trying again after the death of your baby is a very difficult one. It is fraught with so many complex emotions that many do not understand. How will I cope with being pregnant and grieving? How will I get through 9 months of pregnancy thinking my baby will die each day? Will I be able to bond with this baby? Will I be able to love this baby as much as my baby who died? Add to all of this infertility and IVF and you are in for one hell of a ride. It is fair to wonder whether there will be anything left of you by the time it is all over, baby or no baby.
I had barely buried my son by the time people started asking me when would we start trying again.
They tried to reassure me that another baby would make me feel better. They tried to tell me that I had gotten pregnant once it would happen again. I know it was well-meaning but it all just translated into pressure for me. Pressure to feel normal again. Pressure to get pregnant when I was still in deep mourning for my son. Generally just pressure.
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The ironic thing for me was that I had this desperate urge to get pregnant again immediately after Benjamin died. It was a yearning so deep and so powerful I thought I would not be able to survive if it didn’t happen. I didn’t tell anyone because it was so soon after he died I thought they would think I was weird. I thought I was weird.
As the months passed, and what must have been a hormonal drive to get pregnant again subsided, all I was left with was fear.
I was afraid of getting pregnant again and I was afraid of not getting pregnant again. Without a doubt, both paths would be fraught with anguish, anxiety, and stress. I had to face into 9 months of thinking every single day that my baby would die or come to terms with the fact that I would never have a living child. Not exactly an embarrassment of riches.
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As a woman, I am supposed to be able to have children naturally but I can’t. Not only do I have fertility problems but my one and only child died shortly before he was born. I feel like damaged goods like there is something wrong with me. Feelings of inadequacy and failure are commonplace. I do not need to feel pressure from others as I exert enough of it on myself.
Society is so used to only sharing the happy pregnancy stories that those of us who struggle with fertility end up feeling isolated and ostracised from a society that values a perfect “Facebook” life more than the truth.
The next time you go to ask someone if they are going to have children or if they are going to try again think for a moment of what they might be going through. Think for a moment that your words might cause pain or distress and instead choose to silently support them. Remember they are carrying the hopes and dreams of many on their shoulders and it is a heavy burden.
Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash