In 2004, I married my high school sweetheart, the love of my life. I had a “perfect life” plan. It went something like this: Engagement and beautiful wedding by age 22, buy a house by 24, and then fill that house with kids-2 boys and 2 girls- by age 30. Naturally, after that I would lose all the baby weight, and live happily ever after with the best behaved children around. Miscarriages? Those were for other people.
Things started out just as I had planned. Our first baby was a beautiful boy, followed 22 months later by his tiny, adorable baby sister. Bliss. My fairy tale life was coming true. I really enjoyed my kids, but was also very focused on “the plan”.
Next came baby #3. Except they found no heartbeat at my 6 week ultrasound. It took several weeks, but I miscarried naturally.“It happens all the time” I was told. We tried again. Miscarriage. “No big deal until you have 3 or more”. We tried again. Miscarriage. I was in utter shock. This was not my plan. I was tested for a myriad of causes, as was my husband. There was no explanation. Maybe we were too focused and just needed to de-stress and “let it happen”. I got pregnant. I miscarried by 6 weeks. 7 weeks. 4.5 weeks. By now I was labeled a “habitual aborter” in the medical world. To me, “abort” just sounded like a choice I made. I hated that word and was ashamed of my body for failing me, failing us. I despised myself for depriving my husband, an amazing dad, of more children. We kept trying. Miscarriage, miscarriage, miscarriage….I stopped telling anyone when I’d get pregnant, although I think my husband knew but never wanted to upset me by asking.
Each month was such a roller coaster of hopeful, happy, scared, depressed. I cried myself to sleep almost every night. It was hard for me to be happy for friends around me who kept having babies. Then I’d feel guilty for not supporting them. I was miserable.
Finally, after 8 long years of thinking it would “just happen”, there was no choice but to discuss serious fertility options. And that’s when I started to really, truly, deeply think about everything. I looked into my soul and asked myself some pretty tough questions. I realized that I was putting so much of my time and effort into trying for more babies, that I had missed so much time and happiness with the ones I had. And there they were, growing up without me realizing it and without me savoring their every moment. I knew that I had a choice. I could keep reaching for a dream that might never be realized, and possibly fall into a deeper, darker pit of despair, or I could make the decision to be happy.
I chose happy.
My husband supported that decision 100%. Our family was complete, for sure, with a son and a daughter. And now, as I look back at those tumultuous years, I can’t help but appreciate what I went through. It has made me a better version of myself and completely fulfilled with my beautiful children. I am awed and thankful every day that I have these amazing, perfect little souls here with me. And I tell them so. I tell them often that I cannot believe that I am so lucky to get to be their mom. (They roll their eyes, but someday I hope the message sinks in.)
I choose happy everyday.
It’s a conscious decision I make every morning when I wake up. (Please note that I do not believe mental health is something people “choose”, but I choose to see the positives in my life and not the negatives. For me, this works.) Yes, I have a (huge) crack in my heart over my miscarried babies. I will always love them as only a mother can. And I will forever wonder about who they would have been. But my two babies here with me, and my amazing husband, well they’re the best kind of glue around. They make my heart beat strong, just for them.