04 September, 2023

The different life lived: 20 years on

Infertility and pregnancy loss and childlessness bring a lot of anniversaries. I have the positive test anniversaries, the loss anniversaries - when the losses began, and ended, when I was hospitalised, and had different procedures - the date I knew I'd never have children, and many more. It's a lot. I've heard people say pick a point and grieve. That doesn't work for me. As the year moves on, as the weather and trees change, flowers bloom, there are so many reminders. That's loss. Anyone who has experienced it in any way will recognise the way it can stay with you. Of course, the last year I've had a lot of 20th anniversaries, and there are a few more to come. The ones with the zero seem more obvious, and they hurt a little more.

This last week it was the 20th anniversary of my second ectopic expected due date, 31 August. I knew by January that the pregnancy was being lost. Later, I also knew that a good friend from the Ectopic Pregnancy online group was due to have her baby, and we shared the same due date. She had her child, and I never resented it, even though I had expected I might. I am grateful for that. The truth was that I mourned the loss of MY baby, and her baby was not mine. In fact, I felt a connection to that baby (and met her a few years later). Some years the date creeps up on me, and I barely notice it. Most years I’m fine with it, acknowledging what never was, and time passing.

This year though, I have known it was coming. I've felt it more. Perhaps it is the significance of the 20th anniversary. The acknowledgement of that baby's 20th birthday. Perhaps it is the knowledge that I’m the only person in the world who thinks about it. (My husband doesn’t remember the date, and I don’t like to bring him down by reminding him. It's bad enough that tomorrow is Father's Day here, and he's acutely aware of that.) Perhaps it’s the thought of the childhood completely lost as they would have left their teens this year. It's always the loss of the adult life never even started. Perhaps of course it is also the life never lived by his/her parents – the life we never got to live. It's all made it a little harder this year.

We lived a different life. It has been a good life. Filled with adventures and experiences and friendships I would never have had otherwise. With many more years yet, and many more good things to come, I hope! But every so often, I need to acknowledge what has been lost, and the passing of time. And so today, I do that.


  1. Despite my good life, I still feel my infertility and CNBC anniversaries pretty hard. I am glad you can celebrate so much, and I am equally glad that you allow yourself to grieve when you need to. Abiding with you, my friend. <3

  2. What a beautiful post...loss, remembrance and grief. Thank you for posting this

  3. Dear Mali,
    You are honoring your losses in such a beautiful way. I love that by your sharing this, there are many more of us remembering your baby, too.
    Sending hugs <3!

  4. Dear Mali: We are two peas in a pod when it comes to anniversaries and the crushing weight they can introduce. Just know that I'm abiding with you and sending you peace and strength as you push through the heaviness and loss you're feeling. xx

  5. I'm a bit late, but I am honoring your 20-year remembrance, with you, Mali. It feels really healthy to me that you are able to mark this, even though there is grief and sadness, and not keep it all inside. This is but one way that you show the way.