By A.J. Moncrieff
I’m writing this article with the hope of helping even just one other person. Maybe it’s the words that will put things in perspective for you, or the much-needed hope you were looking for to begin again. Every one of us has the ability to move forward; you need to put one foot in front of the other and allow your future to unfold organically.
Our Journey and Lessons Learned
My journey began with becoming pregnant on the very first try. My husband and I chalked this up to luck, or so we thought. But I would learn that it would take seven attempts and close to four years to achieve our goal of having a baby.
I would soon find out what a lot of medical procedures were and what they would feel like – from a hysteroscopy to an HSG, multiple D & C’s after miscarriages – all of which would eventually lead to blood tests that revealed a genetic abnormality called a translocation, which encompasses a chromosome rearrangement. I was told I had less than a 16% chance of carrying a baby to term, given the findings of a genetic abnormality. Those odds seemed more like zero percent to us.
I am not sharing all of this to scare you, but to empower you. I want to let you know that things will be okay, and that they do get better. I went through all of this and survived. It was during these procedures that things seemed impossible, but also were put into perspective for me.
My story may be similar to your own, or perhaps it is entirely different, but miscarriage and any type of infertility wound the soul equally, as well as the mind and the heart. The amazing part is, with time, the mind and body have the ability to heal at great speed. I’m not saying that you should forget what has happened to you, actually the opposite: embrace it and accept it as part of who you are and who you will become.
Prepare yourself for this journey in every way possible. It begins with truly believing that “your goal can be achieved.” There have been hundreds of studies regarding positive thinking and the seemingly miraculous outcomes of that attitude.
The first ingredient you’ll need begins with spirituality, whether you achieve this through group therapy or meditation or you look to your faith and religion. Any combination can help guide you and be part of your support.
The second ingredient is to arm yourself with as much knowledge and information as humanly possible. Think of the cliché “knowledge is power:” Do all of the following and then some: research miscarriage and infertility online, read every factual book you can get your hands on, read about statistics, read other folks’ stories, subscribe to email newsletters, attend group seminars, meet with multiple doctors or specialists, and if applicable, geneticists and high risk pregnancy experts. Meet with those that are going through this as well, because you might ironically find others are “normal” just like you.
The third ingredient is, and I implore you to do, this: create an even stronger support system than you currently have. Whether that consists of family, friends, co-workers, or the folks like those I found at RESOLVE, choose people you trust to be there for you. I say this because I didn’t. I kept our “secret” to myself and my spouse and didn’t tell family or friends about our situation, because I was angry, embarrassed, hurt, and resentful.
I thought I was strong enough for a while, but then I started having miscarriage after miscarriage, and years were passing me by. I can’t begin to tell you how many baby showers I regretfully did not attend, or how many times I would cry and look away when a new baby was being strolled by me.
If your mother is around, tell her what you are going through. She would want to know and would want to help you in any way humanly possible. Your mother will love you for a lifetime no matter what is going on. I know this because I am so gratefully a mother now. I would want my daughter to come and talk with me. I would guide her through this journey with the compassion she deserved, and share my own experiences so she would realize there is hope.
The last ingredient is to believe in yourself and what you can do. There is something to be said for thinking optimistically. Also, daily affirmations help; sign up for them online! If you believe in your own abilities and strengths, and perhaps a higher power, then your dream remains and no one can take that away from you.
This dream needs to be fostered and cared for immensely by you and your partner. Being successful may not happen in one month or even next year, but if someone told you with 100% certainty that you would have a baby in the next two years, would you give up for even one second, or would you sprint toward your goal?
Thinking About the Future
During this journey ask yourself “Why do I/we want a baby?” You may be surprised by all of the answers you arrive at. This question could lead you to a clearer understanding of your desires for a family. It may enable you to widen your acceptance of other avenues including infertility treatments, adoption, egg donation, or surrogacy, and in some cases like mine, to confidently believe in nothing short of a miracle.
I am happy to share that almost four years later and after seven attempts, I became pregnant and carried a healthy baby to term. In my case, in the end, it didn’t take science but faith and time (and the ingredients I mentioned above). I gave birth to a healthy baby even after all the odds and genetic findings were stacked against me. I had a wonderful pregnancy, an amazing labor and delivery, and we have come to experience first hand that miracles do happen. I find myself smiling daily and thinking about all that my daughter is, and all that she has given to me. And I smile for you too, with hope.
As you consider the next steps on your family building journey, register today for our Spring Connect & Learn Seminars on May 4, 2013 in Waltham, Mass.
This article originally appeared in our Spring 2011 quarterly newsletter.