There was a time when I couldn't fathom pregnant women. Couldn't stand to hear about them, hear from them, see them, consider them. They represented hope I couldn't feel, trust I couldn't muster, assumptions I thought blithely naive. And I thought in the months following Maddy's death, with a probable cause of a genetic autosomal recessive disorder on top of infertility, that I'd never be pregnant again. Pregnancy was something to be mourned, something I'd likely never experience again in my lifetime.
There were days when I hopped online to find commiseration and community and found . . . . pregnancy announcements. People yammering about hope and faith and fear and months in the future I couldn't fathom and I felt lonely, left out, left behind. I often felt I'd never fit in, never get this community because I didn't or couldn't possibly want another child. There were blogs I had to read through my fingers, and comments left with pursed lips.
Having said that: I understood, even then, that wanting a subsequent child after loss is both natural and profound, and rife with both hope and fear (or in my case, plain vanilla denial). And that parents riding this wave on top of their grief need an outlet and a place to explore this great contradiction going on in their lives. It was their right to write, despite my feelings of ambiguity and sadness.
(As an aside, it took a few years -- years! -- for me to overcome this, and truly be able to stand behind my fellow bloggers with unabashed support and yes, even happiness for them. As for pregnancy, it took almost three years of grieving, medical research, and diagrams to decide to try and have another baby of my own, a subject which I discussed on Glow, here.)
We've created a separate discussion board for conversations pertaining to conception, pregnancy, and (gulp) birth after loss. This is a good and gentle thing that benefits all of us in every stage of grief, growth, and healing.
Although I think most in this community are painfully careful to discuss these things gently knowing the hurt that exists out there, there are some who really can't bear to even read the title of the discussion that ensues. And all of this is all within your rights: to have a safe space where you can share your feelings, but don't need to face something you're not ready for, yet.
Due to the wonderful wealth of content on the main board, it's not possible for us to migrate existing mentions of TTC, pregnancy, or birth to the new board. But from now on, please abide by this distinction when adding threads or posts.
We should say at one point we tried to peel apart the forum into themes, and it just didn't work -- it's much easier for most of us to read through the topics in a single list to scan for what feels most relevant. So we're splitting the boards in two with some trepidation -- and we don't want the discussion here to become unwieldy and segmented into multiple sub-groups. But this feels right to us, keeping mentions of pregnancy separate. Then it's up to you to click into the place where you feel the most comfortable, with no judgment.
It took me almost three years to decide to risk getting pregnant again, and even now I'm still a bit nervous reading other people's rationales and experiences because mine seem so different. For some though, there will never be enough time -- there will never be a time when they will read such posts without a gnawing discomfort and an additional sense of grief. For all of you in this community, I'm hoping this is a mindful decision.
Thanks so much to all of you for all the heartfelt advice, support, and communion you give and receive on our discussion boards. It makes this safe space belong to all of us.