It’s time for another installment where Crystal and I talk about a topic and you get to see the conversation word for word. Today, we talk about infertility and loss.
I wanted to talk to you about pregnancy, loss, and motherhood.
I have never lost a child myself. I have, though, supported many families who have. All of those babies NEED to be remembered. However…
There is NO easy way to become a parent. It’s all tough. There is no sure-fire way to end up with a child. The road to motherhood and fatherhood is paved with pain, anguish, tears, and faith. Always. And in my mind, we are all best served by honoring that, speaking about it in realistic terms, and moving beyond the fairy tales.
Loss happens early in pregnancy, late in pregnancy, after birth, and after the adoption should have been finalized. All of them are equal. All of them are very, very sad.
You’ve experienced infertility. I want to hear your story. I want to know what your thoughts are.
Yes, grief and loss can definitely occur in several different realms of adding to your family. As we discussed yesterday, there is no “sure thing” when it comes to family building.
My story began in 2000, when my husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby. 18 months later, we were still not pregnant. I felt very dismissed by many professionals, because I was “only 25″ (I couldn’t be going through infertility, right?) so it took me some time to seek additional help. In addition, there were several of my friends and family getting pregnant easily (seriously, NINE in SIX months, all of whom got pregnant either unplanned or very quickly) and it was heartbreaking. I felt like nobody understood. And then people, in an effort to be helpful, say very insensitive things.
Needless to say, I ended up seeking a reproductive endocrinologist, and after two rounds of Clomid, we were pregnant. My son was born in March of 2003.
That’s such a true, powerful phrase: There is no “sure thing” when it comes to family building.
I feel pretty lucky, now that I think about it, that I didn’t end up with severe endometriosis symptoms until AFTER my second child was born. The same thing I’m doing now to treat it kept it at bay until my husband and I wanted to have kids. It’s entirely possible, though, that I could have had problems getting pregnant.
We also have the “F” word to think about: Failure. It’s a word I always, always try to avoid whenever I talk about pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. And then on the flip side, I HATE when birth professionals talk about “success” and their “success rate” for x. Hate it. Those words take away the mom’s ability to speak her own truth, they give credit to the professional, and discussing failure does not allow for the nuance of biology, variations of the maternity care system, and life in general.
Sorry, that was an aside.
For the most part, it’s getting easier for moms and dads to talk about loss and stillbirth publicly. Have you ever talked to moms who lost a baby 20 or 30 years ago? Their stories are HEARTBREAKING. Although, I talk to moms who had a miscarriage or stillbirth in the past year and I’m still disgusted by how those moms are treated in the hospital. It’s heaping trauma upon trauma.
So, for moms who had trouble getting or staying pregnant, once they do have a viable pregnancy, what sort of things do you recommend? I can’t imagine it’s a good idea to let the fear take over.
Yes, I have unfortunately worked with women who have lost babies long ago, and the trauma still lingers. Very sad.
For women now, getting pregnant following infertility or loss, I recommend support groups (they have some specifically for pregnancy after loss), and normalize their anxiety. This often, in and of itself, is helpful. Having their partner hear that, whether it’s with me or from their partner, can be helpful as well. Then, we work on self soothing techniques, like breathing, relaxation and mindfulness skills. Finally, I may implement some therapy skills, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help the anxiety and panic symptoms.
Thanks for another good conversation, Crystal!
Back at you! This is fun!