When I was first told as a teenager that I’d probably never conceive, I didn’t care. I was a teenager hellbent on partying and then partying some more. Besides, I never had a maternal yearning to ever have kids. I never connected with them. Even spending time with my friend’s kids felt foreign and awkward. Fast forward ten years and I am in Place Riel food court of the University of Saskatchewan crying in the bathroom with a pregnancy test in one hand and my phone in the other frantically texting a friend to Google what two lines meant. After the initial shock wore off that I was, in fact, pregnant and my step mother calmed my every fear of motherhood, I embraced my growing body, the shopping for onesies and the imminent change that would alter my life forever.
Once that little girl was Earthside, I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Looking back on the past I had once considered colourful and fun now seemed bleak and shallow. She became the centre of my world and I relished every good, bad and frustrating second. She quite literally changed my brain: I thought differently and I had this budding primal instinct that made my heart feel like it would burst forth rainbows and stars and glitter it was so full of love. The thought of having more children became normal and exciting. We wanted at least four kids but we’d start with one, see how we did with two and if we could survive that we would consider three, then four.
We are stuck at one. We’ve had three consecutive miscarriages, endless tests, medications and treatments to attempt to grow our family. I’ve cried happy tears and devastated tears on my bathroom floor too many times to admit. I’ve wallowed and grieved more than any mother ever should.
My first miscarriage first blindsided me and then crushed me. My second miscarriage almost killed me from the depression that followed and my third miscarriage was…sad… but tolerable. It was tragic and confusing but I rallied through that loss because a newfound piece of my soul emerged: my strength.
I use to think strength equated unfeeling and numbness. You know those people…the ones who are like statues in the midst of chaos, the rock and pillar that seem completely unaffected? The ones who don’t cry at funerals and you wonder how they can be so stoic when the grief is so heavy you feel like the ceiling may cave in from its weight? That kind of strength, to me, always felt cold and aloof. Until I found it. I found it on the bathroom floor while crying on the phone to my girlfriend about the unfairness of my situation. I found it buried under the pile of rubble that was once hope and happiness and joy. My crumbled experience forced me to search beyond my emotions and feelings to find what could save me. The previous miscarriage, almost a year prior, devastated me in a way I doubt my words will ever convey. And I knew if I allowed myself to go to that same place again, I would be doing a serious disservice to my fragile yet incredible existence on this Earth.
My strength got me off the floor and into the living where I sat on the couch and looked around my home. The plants were still growing, the wind was still blowing and Life was still swirling around me. I made a pact with my strength that day: I said, “I’ll let Grief lead today and I’ll cry until my body is depleted of the tears and sorrow because I am allowed to grieve this angel baby. But tomorrow, you take the reins Strength, and you help me rise up.”
After that internal conversation, many friends came to visit, bringing food and gifts and condolences and some even cried. And while they cried, I did not. I felt like a fraud. It happened to me and they were crying for me while I, dry-eyed and uncomfortable, tried to reassure them that it was okay. Sad, yes but still okay. I felt like I was suppose to continue the tears and pain because it was such a tragic event. The chance of a third recurrent miscarriage is around 15% or less. I was an anomaly for all the wrong reasons. It was sad for them too because they knew how badly I wanted another baby and how excited I was: compassion is a beautiful thing. But this time around, I had this strength backing me up reminding me that there was a lesson in this story. This strength whispered in my ear that everything happens for a reason and that mine was to learn a strength I never had before because Life was always going to try to knock me down but if I had strength, I’d always rise up from the ashes and persevere.
With Darkness comes Light and with tragedy comes a resiliency that better prepares you for Life. I appreciate my daughter so much more. I respect what the human body can do more than ever. I have met amazing women through my struggle and have found solace in blogging and sharing my stories.
My tears aren’t needed anymore. I don’t need to cry for what I’ve lost because I have gained so much more than I ever thought imaginable. I don’t need to cry for what I don’t have either because I still have so much in my world to be grateful for. My life is incredibly rich because I appreciate the Light with every atom in my body in a way I never did before these three miscarriages. I have found a faith that allows me to delegate my burdens to a Universe that is conscious and loving. You can’t appreciate that Light until you know the Darkness intimately. I am in awe of that Darkness because it is easy to get lost and lose your way.
Like being lost in a forest, the Darkness can distort your thoughts, play tricks on your mind and cause you to stumble and fall. But then you see that ray of light and you run to it because the Darkness is chasing you and suddenly that ray of light feels like the brightest beam of golden warmth. And you relish in that feeling. And you remember how scary that Darkness was and you can almost appreciate the eeriness of it, it’s that intimidating. So you stay in the Light, thankful and grateful for its loving embrace.
So my infertility doesn’t upset me anymore. It’s made me stronger and strength was something my white privileged, small town, easy upbringing self needed. I am the pillar of strength for myself and hopefully for others now. I may look hardened or seem unaffected but I’m just strong now. I see a bigger picture and I don’t need to look at it through a veil of tears. My life has more meaning now. These struggles may not have given me the baby I wanted but it gave me lessons I’ll take with me as I walk with the beams of Light.
United we rise,