Today, I'm going to be featuring two mama stories on the blog because I couldn't decide which one to share this week. They are both beautifully written. The first one was submitted by Nova, this has to be one of the most heartbreaking, yet beautiful stories I have read so far. Leave Nova some love in the comments.
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mother.
A few of my childhood memories corroborate this:
Once, in first grade, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.
" A mom, " was my carefully printed response, complete with a hand-drawn picture of a baby crawling in a yellow onesie.
" Pick something else ! " the teacher scrawled across the page.
At another time, I announced to my aunt and grandmother that I wanted TEN children.
Now, as I approach 30, I would be content with just ONE.
Within months of marrying my first husband (at the age of 20), we became pregnant. We blabbed the news to any and everyone, much to the disbelief and disconcertion of the pastor who didn't know we'd wed at the courthouse 2 months prior. We were so excited! A week after the positive pregnancy test, I started spotting. At first, I was assured that it was 'normal' and not to worry. However, the next morning I was taken to the emergency room to be examined. Terrified and alone. Tests left me feeling mortified. An uncomfortable ultrasound where the only sounds were clicks and taps of the mouse and the sound of my tears hitting the paper sheet beneath me. It was the silence that told me:
" ___ miscarriage. And, oh yeah, you're rH negative. " They sent me on my way with informal paperwork and little comfort or support.
That loss - of our child, our hopes and dreams for the future, even our innocence, in a sense. We never considered a loss (miscarriage or otherwise) as a potential outcome because, quite honestly, we had never been exposed to that possibility. In our young and naive minds, the only outcome of a pregnancy was a healthy baby.
What angered me more than anything were the platitudes that ran along the lines of "Everything happens for a reason," "It wasn't the right time", "You'll have more babies", and "God has a plan", etc. It hurt deeply. 'Get over it' was the unspoken message, and I heard it loud and clear.
I couldn't and didn't and haven't and won't 'get over it'.
I grieve(d) deeply. And then, I became hell-bent on getting pregnant again.
As the weeks and months went by, I began to resent my body for not being able to do the One Thing it was designed to do. Each Big Fat Negative and every monthly cycle/period felt like a betrayal and a failure, leading to disappointment and gutteral breakdowns. Finally, at a doctor's office (for what I thought was a completely different issue), the stick turned Positive. Such was the shock and surprise on my face that the Doctor thought it was an unwanted pregnancy! I quickly informed him that it was quite the opposite: my baby was VERY much wanted.
This time, we knew to keep the information restricted to immediate family only. Terrified of a repeat miscarriage, I called my OB/GYN and frantically tried to make an appointment, only to be quite cooly informed that I'd have to wait until my 8 week ultrasound, standard procedure. Near hysterical, I begged and pleaded but to no avail. Barring an emergency, there was nothing to do but wait.
A few days before that appointment, I began spotting.
Once again, I waited, hoping against hope that everything was and would be alright....but the day before my scheduled 8 week ultrasound, my worst fears were confirmed: I was having a(nother) miscarriage.
Afterwards, the doctor expressed that things were serious now: we would need a multitude of tests and, if I WERE to ever become pregnant again, I would be considered extremely high risk. She also informed me that in her 20 years of practice, she had never experienced a case like mine.
I think I kind-of gave up hope after that, to be honest.
I felt like damaged goods.
The emotional toll of the losses and infertility, combined with a multitude of other issues, facilitated our separation and eventual divorce 2 years later. However, we were on friendly terms before he died suddenly in an accident.
How I wish(ed) I had been able to give him a child and his parents their grandchild.
I remarried, eventually. On December 1, 2015, I confirmed what I alreaxy suspected: I was pregnant for the third time. Happy and excited but filled with trepidation; it didn't surprise me when I started spotting soon thereafter. I didn't even look at the ultrasound this time. The doctors were cautiously optimistic, my husband naive and hopeful. I mentally prepared myself for the inevitable.
Hearing those words, " I'm sorry, but you're miscarrying ", yet AGAIN, broke me. The doctor's assistant infuriated me by commenting that it was "just a bunch of cells and tissue", but I was too heartbroken to reprimand him.
As soon as I ever suspected that I might possibly be pregnant, something in me changed: I became a mother. My main focus was the life inside of me: protecting, nourishing, loving each pregnancy -- each life, each child -- wanted and loved deeply. Each loss was devastating beyond comprehension, and yet to the majority of the world, it was as if they never existed.
My grief was heartwrenching.
We 'took a break' from trying to conceive for about a year and a half until we felt that we were better prepared to try again, come what may. We even requested and was approved for a referral for a fertility specialist. Now, I was the one that was cautiously optimistic.
And then, my husband got deployment orders.
It goes without saying that babymaking/TTC is on hold.
It seems like my lifelong dream to become a mother has been deterred at every turn. I don't know at this point if that dream of mine will ever come to fruition. Will I ever have a healthy pregnancy? Oh, how I long for the whole of it: morning sickness and aches and uncomfortableness and swelling -- the flutters and kicks -- I SWEAR I won't utter a single complaint if granted this ONE THING-!!
I don't know if I'll ever be able to have kids -- be it via natural pregnancy, fertility specialist, or adoption. The not-knowing.......Sometimes, I try to lie and convince myself that I don't even WANT kids, thinking that it hurts less that way. But deep down, I know -- I feel -- the truth.
Every time a pregnancy announcement or ultrasound snapshot fills my social media newsfeed, my heart aches. Every time I see mothers with their infants and toddlers in stores and sidewalks, my throat tightens.
I caress the tiny clothes and shoes, bottles and diapers and formulas, strollers and cribs, wondering, dreaming...... Wincing at the inevitable question: "Do you have kids?" as my heart completely shatters.
My babies would be 7, 6, and 1 year(s) old now. I miss them every day and wonder who they would have been, what they would have looked like and so much more. All the unknowns. All the lost moments and memories.
I wonder who *I* would be now, had I been granted that awesome gift to care for them as their mother.
I dream of them, sometimes. The memory-dream of their weight, scent, and voices cling to me when I awaken to reality.
I carry them in my heart.