Updated 6/27/2016. I decided to share this older post hot off the heels of a friend’s baby shower. During the shower I was asked this question by 4 other women! *sigh*
Once a couple has been together for a reasonable amount of time, relatives and friends begin to tease them about putting a” ring on it”. As soon as the couple announces their engagement, everyone is questioning when the big day will take place. Once the newlyweds begin to unpack and settle into their new home, “when are you going to have a baby” seem to be on everyone’s lips. And once that baby turns 1, everyone is telling the proud parents they should make more babies.
In all these situations, people only see what’s on the surface. Maybe that couple who have been dating for years fight constantly because one of the parties wants to get married and the other is not quite ready. Maybe the engaged couple decided they want to wait to plan their wedding in order to save money to throw the wedding of their dreams and that takes time. Perhaps the newlyweds just want to enjoy married life and travel for a bit. For me, the last scenario, the question of expanding your party of 3, is the hardest question to hear.
I have a beautiful, stubborn, sweet little girl. I am blessed. My pregnancy story isn’t very different from many out there. I actually got pregnant fairly quickly after deciding to embark on the motherhood journey, waited the appropriate amount of time to announce to our family and friends, my husband even posted the sonogram on Facebook. Then, on March 1, 2011, my whole happy mommy-to-be world crumbled. Up until this day, every appointment I had ended with “everything looks perfect” or “she’s growing beautifully”. But on this day, no heartbeat could be heard, so gracefully moving image of my baby could be seen. She was gone. I had miscarried. It was a pain I had never experienced.
Then 5 months later, I got pregnant again. I went through the entire pregnancy with no problems on the surface. But inside, everyday, I was panicked. I walked into the doctor’s office with dread in my heart and a knot in my stomach. I stopped doing things I loved, like instructing fitness, because I was scared. Besides close friends and immediate family, we didn’t make an official announcement until I was 32 weeks pregnant. When my daughter arrived, I felt, for the first time since I had become pregnant, that I could breathe again. Of course this was short lived as the panic was now replaced with new parent panic.
Shortly after her first birthday, the comments and questions started. With each question, I shrugged it off or joked about it. But inside, I began to panic all over again. Even though I had my daughter, the pain of the loss of my first daughter never diminished. There are times when I watch my little girl running around or playing with another little girl and I have a vision, even just a fleeting thought, of the 2 little girls that could’ve been. I still carry the loss with me, but have just learned to stop questioning what happened. For a long time I would wonder what I could’ve done differently or feel guilty by the miscarriage. But after time, I just learned to accept that these things happen without reason, they happen just because. It is this fact, however, that makes it all too scary to even think about going through it again. I know that many women experience miscarriages, some even multiple. We all handle it in our own way. The loss of my daughter broke me. I could not go into the room in my house that was filled with nursery furniture and baby clothes and pregnancy books. I had felt as if a piece of me would never return, a piece of myself had gone when she had. This paired with the fact that I am getting older and the pressure from my husband, whose experience with the miscarriage is completely different from mine, makes for a very lonely place.
I know the questions will continue. I guess that’s human nature to ask these things. I will continue to respond light in nature not knowing what the future might hold. But what I do know is that before I ask that couple dating for a long time when they’re going to get engaged or when the newlyweds are going to have a baby, I will stop and remind myself that I don’t truly know their situation. Everything happens for a reason and on its own time. If at some point I am blessed again with another child, I would be thrilled. If my little girl is my one and only, I will be just as happy. Whether a mom of one or a mom of 4 or a mom of 2 dogs, a mom is a mom. And that is a true blessing.