You know, this has been going around and around in my head recently and I haven’t really been able to get it out, so I thought I would leave it here. CRAZY. As in, “aren’t you just driving yourself crazy with this?” “Why don’t you just try to relax?” “Don’t test until your period is a week late,” “Don’t worry, you’ll get pregnant again.” “Well at least you have Ethan.” Breathe in. Breathe out. I realize that when people say these things to me they are either trying to make me feel better or are speaking out of complete ignorance. And so let me address these statements, let you know why these are not helpful or supportive things to say, and give you some alternatives.
- “Aren’t you just driving yourself crazy with this?” – This one just kills me. Yes. Yes I’m driving myself crazy. Clearly. And I’m doing it on purpose, because I really and truly enjoy having to learn about everything on my own, having to hunt down information, having to see doctor after doctor and drive all over the state of New Jersey, get my blood drawn, have invasive medical procedures, spend hours talking to insurance companies, spend money we don’t have with only the promise of having to spend more…..all to be told that I am crazy. Look, no one else is going to do it. No one else cares as much as I do about trying to have a healthy pregnancy. And really, if you took 5 minutes and put yourself in my shoes, I think you would understand where I am coming from. After 5 pregnancies and only one baby, I have to believe something is wrong, and I am determined to find out how to fix it. Exactly what is the magic number of miscarriages that would allow someone to take control of their situation and try to make it better? A more helpful comment would be: “wow, I’m sorry you have to go through all that.”
- “Why don’t you just try to relax?” No, why don’t YOU try to relax. When you have had 1, no 2, no 3, no FOUR miscarriages then if you think I should try to relax then you can tell me that. Until then, you just have no idea. A more appropriate response would be, “That just sucks, I’m so sorry.”
- “Don’t take a pregnancy test until your period is a week late” – I mean, really? Is sticking your head in the sand an option. Hypothetically speaking, if I had NOT tested and didn’t know that I was pregnant before having all these losses then I would believe that A) I was having fertility problems, and have NO idea what they were and B) I would have no idea that there was actually a problem going on. So that just isn’t exactly a plausible solution now is it? On top of that, because my body is weird I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m pregnant up to a week BEFORE I get a positive pregnancy test. Ask my husband. Ask my friends. They will tell you, I’ve never been wrong. I don’t even need to take a test to know I’m pregnant. So that’s not going to work. An alternative to this – there really isn’t one. I’m going to take a test when my period is late…and most likely before.
- “Don’t worry, you’ll get pregnant again” – Actually this is exactly what I’m worried about. Getting pregnant again, and losing another one, and another one after that. Most people think that pregnancy is this magical, happy state: growing your child inside of you. Hell, I was one of those people when I was pregnant with my son. But after 4 losses I equate pregnancy with anxiety, terror, stress. The mere thought of getting pregnant right now frightens me so much I can barely talk when I think about it. First I have to get past the very beginning, when I lose all of my pregnancies. And assuming I make it past that, then I have to see a heartbeat, get through the 1st trimester without losing the pregnancy for another reason, pass all the scans to make sure its a healthy baby, and then make it through 2nd and 3rd trimester and the birth before I can ever “not worry.” A better response would be: “You don’t deserve that, I’m so sorry.”
- “Well, at least you have Ethan” – this is the one I hear the most. And I know it comes out of a place of comfort and its true….at least I DO have Ethan. I am thankful every single minute for him. I know there are some women out there who have been through what I have, but don’t yet have a child to show for it. My heart truly breaks for those women. If I didn’t have him I probably would have headed off the deep end by now. BUT – I wanted these other babies. Desperately. I saw that second line and I started thinking, “boy or girl? Will it look like Ethan or more like me or more like James? What will life be like with 2? Will it act the same as Ethan or different?” And the dreams continued on and on….until I learned that that baby was never going to exist anywhere except for in my head. I am SO thankful for Ethan, don’t get me wrong. But he is not the ones that I lost, and he lost brothers and sisters as I lost those babies too. A better response would be “I’m sorry for your losses.”
If you have said any of these things to me, I am not trying to make you feel bad, or rebuke you or anything like that. I will readily admit that before I went through all this, I said some of these things to loved ones in my life who were struggling with infertility and/or miscarriages. And I am so deeply sorry for not understanding, but I wasn’t capable of understanding then, and unfortunately I am now. It’s ok to ask me how things are going if you want to know the answer. It’s also ok to tell me that you aren’t sure what to say or you aren’t comfortable talking about it. I respect that. Sometimes there just isn’t much to say. It sucks and its a horrible situation. That’s just that. And until I am actually holding a healthy baby in my arms I am going to continue to be “crazy” about this stuff. That’s just how it is.