I’ve written a few disgruntled posts here, and I don’t want these to reflect me, or my life. The truth is that I am more at peace now, having been through infertility, than I ever was before I tried to conceive. Before I tried to conceive, I didn’t really value myself. I kept thinking of what I thought I should do, and I kept worrying that I wasn’t living up to my potential. I didn’t really take a lot of time to relax, and enjoy my life, to appreciate what (and who) was good in it, to congratulate myself on what I had achieved, on what I did well, on who I was. I especially didn’t congratulate myself on who I was.
I was sad, but resigned, when it seemed I wouldn’t conceive. When eventually I did conceive, and lost the pregnancy, then a second pregnancy, I became obsessed, and I didn’t recognise myself. I am not the first woman to have been spurred to try to conceive after a pregnancy loss. That urge to get pregnant again right now is strong. Those damned hormones have a lot to answer for.
It was a strange period of my life. I learned a lot about grief, and I learned the value of being supported by other women, and of supporting them. I found that I was appreciated for my honesty, confronting my own thoughts and feelings. And in turn I found that I could help others. The appreciation I received from other women made me see that my life had value, see that I could nurture others, even if I didn’t have a child to nurture. I learned too that nurturing myself was important too. I managed to silence that negative voice in my head, for the first time in my life. Or perhaps not exactly silence, but to quieten that voice, by confronting it, and questioning it, rather than believing it. I learned to forgive myself, to understand why I did things, or said things, or felt things. I learned to have a little compassion for myself.
I didn’t learn these things on my own. I had wonderful teachers. They know who they are. And I hope they know I will be forever grateful.
So after the initial grieving of the loss of a life I had never had, and would never have – and this took longer than I ever expected – I found myself oddly, uncharacteristically content. Happy, even.
Now, having been through this (although perhaps age has something to do with it too), I find it easier to tolerate others, understanding more about what motivates people, about why they act the way they do, and that it is all about them, not about me. And I know more about myself, about what I value in life, about what's important to me, and why and how I want to live. Before I saw life through one lens only – too busy to stop and smell the roses. I'm glad I can see it differently now. And at times I pity those frazzled parents, who perhaps haven't had time to stop and think in the way I have been able to.