In Utero

Day 0–38

I know I’m not the only woman to feel this way. I wish that was a source of comfort.

A brave smile to mask the heartache of watching a dear friend approach a full term pregnancy. Her due date, just one week past when mine would have been had my pregnancy not ended.

An abrupt wakening in the middle of the night, heart pumping, my mind scanning to understand the trigger, and then realising the panic was induced by a thought that another friend’s chances of conception are greater than mine. Worse yet, what if she’s already pregnant?

The distance I’ve created from a close friend, avoiding the photos she posts of her five month old twins, a boy and a girl. Instead of celebrating the gift of these new born lives, feelings of resentment overcome me as I fixate on the injustice of it all. For years I would share my deep desire to be a mother, while she would share her uncertainty, not knowing if she wanted children.

The tightness that builds in my jaw each time a woman tells me how fortunate she was to get pregnant, “almost immediately”. Attributing her success to how relaxed she and her partner were about it all.

IVF, miscarriage, complications and learning about the natural decline of the reproductive system with age, have taken their toll on the joy and excitement that I experienced when we first embarked on our fertility journey. I fight every part of myself to redirect my thoughts when I start down the rabbit hole of believing that one woman’s miracle docks a point off my statistical likelihood of having my healthy baby.

It’s thoughts like these that bring me closer to understanding what is meant by the term self-loathing. Disgusted by myself for the intense jealousy that I feel. Scornful that my emotions and attitude are causing additional stress which might further hinder my chances of conceiving. Ashamed by the betrayal of my body.

As these feelings surface I try to shoo them away, the way I would a fly that has landed on my eye. It doesn’t work. The best I can do is be with them, and remain curious about the shade that they express on the spectrum that makes me human.

Painting by Chantey Dayal
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