Growing up, I remember the story of family friends of my parents. A beautiful, young and successful couple. Yet, I recall their nervous laughs every time my parents asked them about babies at family events.
Eventually, my sister and I turned the question back to our parents and asked, “What if they can’t have children?”. This question was met with much naivety , “Oh, I didn’t think of that…”.
Naturally, as we grow older and get married, a baby or two is the next step.
However, this is not necessarily the case. According to statistics in South Africa, 1 in 6 couples have fertility issues while 1 in 4 couples experience pregnancy and infant loss. I do believe the fertility statistic is a two-fold answer. Firstly, couples often keep their struggles of conceiving personal. They often feel stigmatised by it. Perhaps the second reason is that people are choosing not to have children which is a personal choice that needs to be respected.
While chatting to other mothers regarding their personal experiences with conceiving, I was shocked to see how many struggled. Some battled for a few years to conceive while others conceived yet miscarried even as far as 22 weeks into their pregnancies. Each of their stories made me realise the true reality of a woman’s heartache to be a mother.
Every person has their own journey to walk to become a parent. It saddens me how many of us are scared to talk about our fears, heartache and pain around the subject. It can be terribly isolating to keep it to yourself when there are others just like you. It seems as if the stories are only divulged years later or once a baby is born. It is not something we should be ashamed of.
The older Adriana gets, the more I get, “so when’s the next baby coming?”. Sometimes it is an innocent question from a friend which I honestly don’t mind chatting about. I am open about the subject and my health (which is the reason for the delay) but to hear it over and over again almost as if I’m pitied, pity is just a pain in my ass.
I don’t need pity and nor do the many other women who are secretly trying to conceive via IVF or the woman that is crushed by another miscarriage, the woman that has been told she cannot have children. Rather be the person that she can lean on and not the one that pours salt into her wounds.
Am I nervous to have another baby? Of course I am.
Medically, I am in remission for almost two years now. However, naturally I worry about all the “what if this happens?”,
“What if I relapse?”
“What if there’s a problem with the baby?”
“What if the Grave’s comes back with a vengeance?”
“What if I can’t have another baby?”
The only answer I have is, “I don’t know”. All I do know is that up until 16 weeks of pregnancy I will have to fortnightly have blood tests to check my TS4 and TSH levels. The endocrinologist will work closely with the gynaecologist to ensure the pregnancy is strictly monitored. Other than that, everything should be fine…
I do think that at the next function you go to, think twice before blurting out “When are you having a baby?” or give a gentle reminder to those who do do that.
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, we remember all the babies that left earth with pieces of their mommies hearts.