Monday, August 03, 2015

"Pregnancy Sensitive" - The Great Post-Miscarriage Condition

One of the biggest problems with having a miscarriage is that people who fall pregnant (whether intentionally or by accident) tip-toe around you, making you feel like a white elephant with leprosy.

People expect you to be "pregnancy sensitive" and therefore unable to be happy for others who have something which you also hope to have one day, which is all very frustrating. I won’t lie and pretend that after my operation that I immediately wanted to be around babies, pregnant people, children or people who have had children, as I didn’t, but it wasn’t because I was bitter or jealous of them, it was because they were walking, talking reminders that my genes had failed and that I was once again sent back to the start, delayed. They reminded me of the endless hours waiting to be told by a surgeon that the pregnancy had failed; the pamphlets and softly spoken ‘buzz’ words the nurses used and of the nervousness just before my operation…something I understandably wanted to forget at that time.

And, I am not going to pretend that when one of my closest friends told me she had fallen pregnant without meaning to (she had been told at the end of last year that she would struggle to fall pregnant due to a medical condition), that I wasn’t a little upset but I was also ecstatic for her, she had something that she had been told would be difficult to achieve. She had something which she hadn’t wanted, just yet, but did want; she and her husband now had a future that they probably (and I’m sure they would agree) would have continued to put off, as the timing wasn’t right…they also had something which could have been extremely trying and hard for them to have gained (when they had finally found the right time). They’d been spared all of that upset and delay and that is something to be happy about. Yes, I was initially upset (which I felt dreadfully guilty about) but it was more to do with the fact that my child (had it my original pregnancy worked out) could have been close friends with hers and we’d have something to discuss and share, I’d be able to answer questions and advise her. And I felt as though I had been classified as obsolete and irrelevant...obviously when I fell pregnant the second time round I was over the moon, I got the chance to share this experience with one of my oldest friends!

We all know how that worked out, but that didn’t mean that I was jealous or upset about her pregnancy, that didn’t mean that I wouldn’t speak to her about what happened to me, if I had wanted to. I couldn’t have been happier for her and I still am. I think when you struggle to get and remain pregnant, you are more aware of how difficult it is, therefore you have this joy for others…yes, you feel a tiny pang of ‘oh great, another pregnancy to remind me of my failed ones’ but that lasts for about 5 seconds before you swallow it and fill yourself up with joy and hope.

Regardless of this, I have had someone announce their pregnancy to me and immediately change the subject to my upcoming / unplanned wedding…; I have had someone not tell me in case something happened a second time around for me, so I would feel able to approach them about it, if I felt the need (obviously meant with the best of intentions but this made me feel as though I was viewed as incapable of reaching the intended outcome, resulting in the feeling of betrayal), among their other numerous reasons; and I have had someone console me on my second miscarriage who totally avoided telling me about the fact they were 12 weeks pregnant, due to awkwardness, making me feel as though I had three heads! And let’s be fair, it wasn’t as though I wouldn’t have found out eventually…I mean, six months later out pops the topic you avoided and that makes for some scratching of heads and confused facial expressions!

We white elephants with leprosy are aware that just because we have had issues, this will not result in the world stopping others from falling pregnant until we feel able to deal with it; we know that people will continue to receive said news and we know that this is in no way a reflection of our short comings. Yes, there are some of us who it may be best to tell over the phone while they are at home, as they will need a few minutes to compose themselves but even they will be elated for you. Just because we’ve had some setbacks or may need to approach parenthood from a totally different angle to you, this does not mean that we are also incapable of sharing and celebrating your news, I feel it makes us more capable.

So, in light of this people of the world, I feel that I need to give you some advice: Yes, be aware that people who have struggled to fall pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy may be a little sensitive about the subject, you may even get a couple of tears, however these are not directed at you (they are internalised emotions which will not desist from many moons ago). BUT we are also very happy for everyone who does fall pregnant and will want to ask all the usual questions: When are you due? Will you find out the sex? When is your first scan? etc.. and will continue to do so. We will also want to be updated on the progress and the stupid names your partner has suggested, as why shouldn't he want to call the child Balthazar Guthrum Rollo (partially one of Rowan's own suggestions)?! And, when that little bundle of tears, shit and vomit does pops out, we will also want to cuddle them and to hear all the gruesome details of childbirth. we are still human after all!

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