I know. I've been there.
It's so incredibly hard to lose a baby. It takes your breath away. It makes your uterus ache with emptiness, and your arms ache with loneliness. The hot if a positive pregnancy test shattered and stomped on with the absence of the heartbeat that was once in your womb. The constant ticking of the clock that no longer brings you closer to the joyous birth of your miracle.
I know. I've been there.
When I went through those dark journeys, I did so openly, not caring that there would be (and there were) judgements and ridicule, shame and condemnation, for choosing the level of openness that I did. I knew that if I held it inside, seemingly to hold it all together, my hope and my spirit would crumble quickly. (You can read about my journeys here on this blog.)
I've been blessed now with four pregnancies, and the births of two sons.
And in this fourth pregnancy, I find myself on the opposite side of the some of the darkest of journeys motherhood, or the pursuit of motherhood, can bring.
This time, I've been the one to openly confess that, despite years of infertility battles, we conceived without trying.
I feel like I should be over the top overwhelmed with pure joy in this miracle that we never imagined would come naturally. And yet...
I've been conflicted, openly, from the beginning, mostly regarding the timing of this new miracle.
However, there's more to it.
This time, I'm the one with the baby growing inside of me, while multiple friends that I love so dearly, struggle through the darkness of infertility, miscarriage, or the sheer longing to be a mother but the inability to be one due to various other life circumstances.
When I was going through the battles and the loss, as I said, the pregnancy announcements and births were quite a paradox. There was the incredible joy I felt for those I care for, but also the sharp stabbing pain in my own heart and hope. Jealousy, anger, despair- they are miserable and lonely emotions. You feel ashamed beyond description to feel the negative side while also the joy for them. You find yourself either distancing or trying to overcompensate by being extra interested. Not always, but sometimes. I've done both to various extremes.
You try so hard to discount your negative feelings, because you think they shouldn't be there.
I say, embrace them. Explore them enough so you can understand them. Then, pick up the pieces of your broken heart, and try to heal. Somehow.
I don't have the magic answer. For me, it was being surrounded by support. Love. Empathy and encouragement. Understanding. Compassion. Prayer. Blogging.
It may take years, but I believe you can heal.
But, I digress.
I'm learning about the other side, as I said. I'm now the one who, God willing, will be delivering a baby in April. I have multiple friends due to welcome new life into their families around the same time.
But, I also have a few friends who were supposed to join. That's what their pregnancy tests confirmed. That's the joy they've embraced so fully, dreamed about, and maybe even shared with the world. And suddenly, as happened to me, the dream was shattered. They've empty wombs and broken hearts. And, no matter how much I portray I understand, I'm now a living, breathing reminder that they lost their child.
I am sure it was so with the previous pregnancies, though I cannot say with the certainty that I can this time around.
And, while I'm reveling in my miracle, my heart breaks for my beloved friends. Perhaps they need to distance themselves from me because just the sound of my name brings them to tears. Or, perhaps they've reached out for my comforting ear and empathy.
Either way, I cry. When I cannot sleep, and I feel the early flutters of this life I side me, I often find myself praying for these amazing women. Tears well up in my eyes, and my throat constricts with intense sorrow.
I feel ashamed. I feel embarrassed. I want to withhold my joy and be private about this miracle. I want to take back my pregnancy announcement so we can be as we once were.
But I can't.
It kills me inside every time I want to share, but feel incredibly rude in doing so. But, I know also that it's no good for friendships to deny my joy either. It seems the unselfish thing to do, but it doesn't necessarily mean its the right approach.
It isn't my "fault" that I am pregnant, just as it isn't their "fault" that they no longer are. One of my dear friends said that to me recently, while we discussed how her loss and my sustained (this far) pregnancy affected us.
But then, what can I do? I don't want to be the salt in the wounds that have not healed.
I pray for them, knowing that I cannot heal them on my own, but that my God can. And, I pray it happens sooner than later. I pray they can embrace their sorrow, and hope for the joy that will come again someday.
And I miss them.
I'm not sure I've made a concise point, but I'm hoping that my thoughts, which help me process, reach those out there that need it.
Love to you all.
Note: while I cherish all blog comments, I understand sometimes it is scary to put your feelings out there. You are able to respond anonymously, but if you are wanting someone to talk to, feel free to send me an email at Nicole.m.worthley[at]gmail[dot]com