Maybe the best way to actually consolidate this is to bullet point it. The message is clear. The loss which lies at the core of my broken heart and soul, the loss that fills every day with emptiness, the loss that makes me feel inadequate, the loss that makes me lost, the loss that forever changed me, us, THAT loss – no, THOSE losses (there have been 3 in relation to this journey, and plenty of others in relation to…how do I put this…death) – are in fact shrouded in gain. How so? Impossible? Yes. Utterly impossible, but true.
My list of gains:
- First – love and motherhood. I lost motherhood, thrice, but I gained it too. I gained it at my first pregnancy test when we celebrated the joy of life too soon. I am a mother – in my heart. I gained love for my angel babies in heaven, and I gained an entire bundle of love that is waiting patiently to welcome our unborn baby. There is SO much love there. So much.
- Pain. Yes, maybe pain isn’t positive. But my exposure to raw pain, of the deepest and darkest variety, has opened my world. It became my default setting, so I’ve had to befriend it, explore it, even welcome it.
- Hobbies. AKA distraction after loss. Through my baby losses I have: learnt to swim front crawl, improved my Spanish (arguable), taken pottery lessons and made some beautiful gifts and bowls, studied Macrobiotics, hired a piano for a year (convinced at the time we would need the space for the nursery, I ensured there was a return policy in place so we could return it before the year-end…no such luck), became passionate about the environment and sustainability, learnt to make my own organic skin products and perfume, and practically qualified as a doctor given the amount of fertility related knowledge I have gained!
- The best marriage in the world. He is my family. I am his family. We do this together.
- Strength and Drive. I will not give up. I thought I wouldn’t be alive at this point in the journey, or I thought I would at least still just be in bed, not having found the will to move and face life and the reality of baby loss. The depths of depression after loss have been so profound – and yet, I am here. I am looking ahead. I can be excited about a future, I can feel this journey working out. I am stronger than I knew, I have more drive than I could ever have realised.
- Mindfulness. Perhaps the biggest gain in all of this. Mindfulness, daily affirmations, a pause, a deep breath, just a moment to gain calm and strength whenever possible. This has genuinely got me through a few impossible days in the office. I feel like when I stop and connect that I’m exploring something deeper – finding my own inner truth and purpose. There’s something bubbling away there and I’m slowly unveiling the layers to work out what it is. This is why BabyIAmGreat was started, to help me document my journey and to have something that could evolve as my journey does and as I am. Cue the next 3 points at least:
- A business – well…that’s a bit of an exaggeration but through my daily mindfulness and affirmation focus, I created a little gift on my Etsy site (ahem- excuse the plug here!!) and I am so proud to support others through their journey and through their loss.
- A blog –this.
- A passion to create change. Should I say passion to create, or rage to spark? Either way, this journey has brought my inner activist to life. I have created Pineapple “success” badges and envision every infertility and IVF warrior to wear one in London alongside their regular TFL “Baby On Board” badge to educate others, raise awareness and to show support to those of us still in the struggle. Furthermore, I am campaigning for change in the workplace: I want a fertility treatment policy to exist. I want IVF and the flexibility, time and privacy needed around it to be my RIGHT, not a lifestyle choice. I want the open workplace baby shower celebrations to be approached with sensitivity for those, like me, struggling with infertility and loss. I want to not be asked by colleagues if I am planning on having a family, or why I am not drinking (always followed by a look up and down as they assess the size of my stomach on the assumption I am pregnant). I want my company to focus on this in the same way they support Diversity and the LGBT community. I want the October awareness weeks to be formally acknowledged so that women here know they aren’t alone. I want to not have to lie about having dentist appointments when I go to IVF appointments or other consultations. I want to know what the protocol is, and I want to know I have support.
- Spirituality – of varying shades, sometimes dark and non-existent, sometimes a belief in an energy, a purpose, a light. For a long time there has been a total absence and denial of any ‘other’ existence but now I am beginning to believe in the universe again, whatever that means to each of us.
- A therapist, actually two. Someone to check in with when needed, one with an experiential approach and one with more of a focus around CBT and fertility / trauma. They help keep my head intact and often help me to find some balance.
- New friends. Yes, that’s you my dear TTC sisters!
- Feminism. Not exactly, but I’m pretty close to becoming a feminist. I have gained an overwhelming insight into the power, strength and beauty of women. I am just so in love and so in awe of you all who join me on this journey.