Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mourning the Child that Never Was

No, I'm not talking miscarriage. Firstly, because, as anyone who's had a miscarriage will tell you, that child was. Secondly, because I have thus far been blessed in that I have never personally experienced a miscarriage.

What I'm talking about, well, I've never heard anyone talk about. But I know I've felt it, and I think anyone who tried to conceive (TTC) for any amount of time at all has probably felt.

You see, twice in my life I thought I was pregnant... but wasn't. I mean, really really believed I might be pregnant.

The first was a few years ago. Quite frankly, looking back, I was rather naive about it all. But I was having mad mood swings, hunger like I've never experienced, dizziness, and some other symptoms that led me and my boyfriend at the time to start thinking I might be pregnant. The more they went on without subsiding, the more we believed I was. Both of us. We made plans.

Then came time to test, and it was negative.

He was relieved. I was devastated.

I didn't expect to be that upset, or upset at all. The timing was awful, I was not ready, we were not ready, just supporting ourselves and a child would have been difficult. In all practical and logical ways, a negative result should have been a good thing.

And I thought it would be. But when I saw that I wasn't pregnant, my heart sank, I couldn't speak, I wanted to cry. I still remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom trying to put on a happy face while he rejoiced. After all, me being sad didn't make sense.

But I was. Terribly, terribly sad.

Anyone remember that episode of Friends when Rachel is taking the test to see if she's pregnant? And Phoebe initially tells her that it's negative to see how Rachel really feels? Yeah... kinda like that.

Only real life. And it really was negative.

And I was sad.

The second time was a couple of months ago.

No, we're not trying. Ironically, the only two times I thought I was pregnant weren't while TTC.

But for two weeks I had several of the same "signs" that I did during my first trimester with Jena. And I didn't have my usual PMS symptoms (fatigue, hunger, and bloating), and then... my period was 4 days late. And seeing as how I'm on the Patch, my periods tend to be about as regular as they come. Four days is a big deal.

I'd already started worrying how to tell Jason, seeing as how he doesn't want more kids. Decided I would wait until day 6 (the day before I put on the next Patch) to actually test, mentally preparing for the positive. Because... what else could it be? I really, really thought I was pregnant.

And yes, I know statistically it was highly unlikely, but we all know I'm good with the one-in-a-million thing happening to me, right? Besides... I was four days late, plus all of the symptoms... I mean, really? Who wouldn't at least wonder, right?

But then Aunt Flo showed up. Four days late, but with all her glory.

And I was sad. Really sad.

And I finally told Jason, and he just blew it off like it was nothing.

I don't think this is an emotion men understand.

But I have a friend who is TTC, and after 7 months, this month, she really thought was the month. She really, really did.

But it was negative. Again.

And she is really, really sad.

Not the same kinda sad the previous 7 months of not conceiving, but a different kind of sad.

Because this time she really thought there was a teeny tiny baby growing inside of her. Much like I did. Much like many of us do at one point or another. And finding out that there wasn't... deals a hard blow. It really does.

It's a different kind of sad. And I don't know how to express it, other than to say that it's a type of mourning, a mourning the loss of a child that never was.

Yes, mourning seems a bit strong, and I mean no disrespect to those who have lost a child, I just don't know any other word to express that type of emotion, that sense of loss. It's not as great, of that I am certain, but it's still there.

And nobody talks about it. Which makes us feel alone. Even though I suspect my friend & I aren't the only ones. I suspect it's actually a fairly common emotion, especially among those who are TTC, or have been TTC for a long time. So I decided to talk about it.

What say you, blog world?


Steph{anie} said...

Back in October, I was 100% convinced I was pregnant. Thought for sure I had ovulated early and an unprotected rendezvous had resulted in a bun in my oven. I had just about every symptom: nausea, dizziness, cravings, etc. I even had some abdominal pressure and bloating that had me convinced I was pregnant. I wasted way too much money on pregnancy tests that all came out negative; I had told myself I was testing too early and tried again a couple days later...and again...and again.

Turns out, I wasn't pregnant and actually bought myself a diagnosis of PCOS 2 months later, meaning getting pregnant at all would have been a miracle in and of itself. I was devastated, because I had myself convinced Seth and I were having a little one. I had calculated my potential due date and thought about the future a LOT! I know, I'm crazy.

Yes, the timing would have been horrible...absolutely horrible. I had no business having a baby, even though I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with Seth. I was just so enamored with the idea of being a mom that I wasn't thinking rationally. Thankfully, God knew better, because now look what happened; we're not together anymore and it would have been a huge mistake to spend the rest of my life with him.

All that word vomit to say that you're not alone :)

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Funny, I was thinking of something along these lines earlier today. Though my husband & I have chosen not to have children and are very happy and comfortable with the decision, I have to say there was definitely a time of mourning involved in the decision for me. Not so much for him. I think it must be a more common emotional experience for women. Mourning that child or even the idea of any potential children that will never be... Women seem to have a deep desire for the world to continue in the form of beautiful little children and all the potential that lies within them.

Marianne said...

I've experienced both. My first pregnancy was a tubal pregnancy and even though I only knew a very short time about it, I still mourned the loss of that baby. That also made it that much more difficult to conceive as I only had one tube left. It took almost 2 years to conceive the first time and every month became increasingly harder. I totally understand.

Kelsey said...

Pretty much exactly the same thing happened to me several months ago.

For the first years of our marriage, (heck, the first several years - before we were married and after) we did not believe we could conceive. For other reasons, I have always been on a BCP.

My mood has been on and off - I want kids, then I don't. In 2005 it was so bad I burst into tears at work (we thought we couldn't conceive at the time) when a coworker asked if I was excited to 'start popping out the babies' and then spent the next month fixated on babies and would cry every day.

By the time I was in my next job, the timing was just wrong - I was working 60-90 hours a week and there was no way we could make it work. We'd been talking about adopting. We finally decided I needed to go back to school, move to part time, and we were finally able to try - ttc or adopt.

In Feb 2009, after getting back from a trip to Nunavut in Jan, we both got tests done to make sure everything was A-OK. It turns out, it was. It was a miracle, so we thought! So the plan was to wean me off BCP, and deal with HR at work. The day before my meeting, I was laid off. Cancelled baby plans.

All this leads up to last fall. I woke up one morning feeling ... different. I was smelling things I never smelled before, couldn't stand the thought of eggs let alone eat them, the list goes on and on, probably 20 new things ... I started googling all these changes and one thing stood out clear: symptoms of pregnancy. I was scared. I told my hubby. He kind of shrugged his shoulders - he didn't think I was, but if I was then we would be okay. I even told my mom. She went with me to buy the tests. A week or so had passed, and I was dead certain. I have a schedule that is exact. Tuesday to Friday. Exact.

Apparently, it was just my body deciding that my other issues (I have found out since then that I have Endometriosis.) needed to be dealt with. I cried over the negative results. I cried and cried. Hubby entirely forgot about it until last month when he found the remaining tests and looked at me funny and asked me why I had them.

I did feel alone. I felt stupid for thinking I was preggo. I felt stupid for being excited. I felt ashamed that I had told my husband and mom that I thought I was. And I felt sad. So very sad. Sad and stupid. I felt like a trick had been played on me and was tempted to be upset with God for teasing me with something so huge. His will. His timing. God's will is that none should suffer or perish - so I know it was not Him who would give me this hurt, this pain, but I do know that He will allow me to live through it and gain from it whatever I can.

Sorry for the book!

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