The last blog post I wrote was for the start of baby loss awareness week on the 10th October. In the post I described how I imagined I’d feel if I found out I was pregnant again – I’d feel joy and fear in equal measure. Well, little did I know at the time of writing…. in fact just about a couple of weeks later I saw those two lines on a pregnancy test. And I did indeed feel both joy and fear at the same time.
Another emotion in the mix was surprise. As I explained in a previous post, we had conceived each of the boys on the first cycle, which took us by surprise as we thought it would take longer, and yet it had taken about 5 cycles more recently to conceive the baby whose life ended in miscarriage. So, again, I was not expecting this to happen so soon. I’d actually been experiencing some pregnancy symptoms about a week before the test, but I put some down to PMS and just ignored others until I looked back with hindsight.
Tom has been very encouraging, trying to get me to focus on the joy instead of the fear. He says we should celebrate and be happy about the new life which starts at conception no matter what might happen. I know he’s right. But I’m not sure I’ll shake off the fear for a while yet. My mental strategy at the moment is to try to not think too much at all about the fact that I’m pregnant, to save my mind from wandering too far in either direction. This is easier said than done when I’m feeling sick all the time.
I wondered when I should write this post, and decided that sooner rather than later was better. This is partly because I hope the vomiting will get as bad as it was in my first two pregnancies, and therefore I probably won’t feel like writing for a while. That sounds so daft to say I want to be sicker, especially when I would have given anything (except the life of my child) to be less sick in my first two pregnancies – but to me it’s now a reassurance that things are going well.
Another reason to write now is because we would rather tell the good news now. I felt annoyed that everyone except our parents only heard the bad news last time – they never got to hear the good news first. This was mainly a result of the fact that my symptoms had been much more manageable than before, and because our lifestyle is different now compared to in my first two pregnancies. When the sickness hit at the start of pregnancy with Andrew, I had to have a week off full-time work and then work reduced hours for a while. So my work colleagues all knew, as did friends who saw us at weekly activities that we did in the evenings. We didn’t try and hide it, though equally didn’t shout if from the rooftops! It was similar when I was pregnant with Joel. I was working two and a half days a week and the rest of the time looking after Andrew, which involved plenty of toddler groups – in some ways going to work and sitting at a computer screen was easier than running around after a toddler! Now that I’m working at home, going to fewer toddler groups, and hardly ever going out in the evenings, there just wasn’t the same need to tell people about the pregnancy that ended in miscarriage.
But as I’ve been thinking about this in hindsight this week, my desire to break the taboo of miscarriage also means breaking the silence of early pregnancy. I think it’s difficult to talk about miscarriage in a society where most parents don’t announce pregnancy (beyond perhaps a small circle of family / close friends) before the first scan at around 12 weeks or until it’s physically obvious that the mum is pregnant. And probably the main reason lots of parents don’t say before then is that they know that there’s a fairly high likelihood of something going wrong in that time frame, which is totally understandable. It’s catch 22. If nobody knew you were pregnant, it’s harder to tell people you were but you now aren’t rather than say nothing at all.
For us it’s early days yet – 5 weeks out of 40 in fact. You get 2 weeks for free at the start of pregnancy due to the way we date it in this country (from the first day of your last period, which is when the egg starts to be prepared in an ovary, about 2 weeks before conception). I’m not getting excited yet, but I am thanking God for each day that ends with me still being pregnant – I will never take that for granted until I have a baby in my arms. I am also glad to be able to share good news at least.
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