I had this moment, at the start of March 2020. I was lying on a bed in a hotel room. My son was lying againt me, my daughter and husband in the neighbouring bed. We were watching some tv after a day of exploring – the kids were on spring break. It was one of those tired and cozy moments, no one was fighting or asking for snacks, everyone was relaxed. And in my relaxation my mind wandered as it’s wont to do. I thought about being 40, how the most important people in my life were in that very room. I thought about the goals I still hold for myself. And in that moment I made a decision — a very clear, solid-in-my-soul decision: I decided to get my tubes tied.
I’ve been very honest in the past about my miscarriages. I write about them honestly because many don’t, because so many women experience that particular pain and feel very alone in the process. I write about them as a part of my own processing, also. The last time I wrote about my miscarriages came after this date last March. It was my closing of doors, my moving on, my good-bye. After years of either trying for another baby, or, at the very least, secretly hoping for one, I was ready to move on. I surrendered.
There’s a certain liberation that comes with the act of surrendering, a freeing of the soul. It’s like I had placed this idea of another child into a hot air balloon, and then tied it down with weights. Finally freeing the balloon removed the weights within myself, too.
But I never got that operation. One week after that hotel room moment, the world was engulfed in a global pandemic. I wasn’t making any unnecessary doctor appointments, let alone trips to the hospital for elective surgeries. So life went on, much as it had been. I certainly wasn’t trying to have another child, and I certainly didn’t think it was any more possible than in any of the previous 6 years.
What I did do was continue to grow. Without that added weight holding me down I allowed myself to breathe and move forward. I completed goals, set new ones, then completed those too. And with every step forward I healed that place within myself that had been in pain; the very raw pain that only someone who has experienced pregnancy loss can understand. And as I healed I came to an understanding, one that I could only come to because of my emotional surrending. I was not a victim of pregnancy loss. It’s something shitty that happened to me, a few more times than I’d have liked, but I wasn’t a victim. This is just life. Messy life. Beyond my control life. Let go of expectations life. Good things and bad things will happen life. I am the only thing within my own control life.
And then a funny thing happened. I had a moment last November when I was sure I was pregnant — I felt it at my core. And I needed to think about it, to really assess my feelings around it. And I realized that, were I pregnant, baby would have been as welcome as always, but, if not, it was okay. My life was okay. No sadness. No attachment. No expectations.
And in fact, I wasn’t pregnant. And, aside from confusing my strong sense of intuition, I really was okay. I was in my forties, I had plans, life was moving on.
Later that month my daughter, ironically, asked for a baby sister in her letter to Santa. And I laughed, and I told her it wasn’t going to happen.
And then, a month later, I was. I was actually pregnant.
And trust me, no one was more surprised than I.
There’s a certain level of fear engrained into any pregnancy that follows miscarriage. It’s hard to relax, it’s hard to just enjoy the process. Every day you wake up wondering if everything is okay. Every trip to the bathroom you wonder if you’ll see blood. Rather than look to a future with your baby you think only day by day, refusing to allow yourself to become too emotionally attached to either process or outcome. You take nothing for granted.
Yet I had this feeling, a small voice from somewhere deep within. That I was pregnant now, just as I had turned my back on the whole idea, just as I had moved on: it was too perfect, too textbook. On the outside I didn’t want to admit it, I wanted to keep myself protected just in case. But on the inside, I felt, at my core, that this was divine timing at its finest.
Now that I’m nearing my 3rd trimester, I’m finally allowing myself to breathe. I’m listening to the little voice telling me that everything is going to be okay, rather than heed my fears. I’m living with the understanding, the knowledge earned through experience, that no matter what happens, the outcome is perfect. I have no control over the rest of this pregnancy. I have no say over whether or not or when or how I will get to meet this baby, but the outcome is perfect. As it was meant to be. I am still surrendered to the process. I am still only in control of how I choose to handle each day along the way.
The fears are still there — they don’t simply disappear. This is the natural side effect of loss. But I’ve gained wisdom, I’ve gained knowledge and, I’ve developed a strength only experience can define. And I am going to be okay. No matter what. I am okay.