Just because we don’t have control over our bodies, doesn’t mean we should feel ashamed or stop wanting or trying to be a parent

Of all the moments in my life up, none of them were as happy as the day I found out I was pregnant a couple months ago.

I know that it might seem like such a silly statement coming from a type A driven career woman who doesn’t want to be defined by her biological sex, but it’s the truth.

What can I say, I’m human after all. I crave connection. The last baby I was excited about was 28 year ago, when my little brother was born. I took care of him as if he was my own for years.

While it was early in my pregnancy, I went all in.

I started a journal, looking through baby names, reading up on breastfeeding, setting up a registry, walking by pre-schools in my neighborhood, thinking about how I’d decorate the nursery, the languages I’d teach it from a young age, and heck I even started thinking about all the things I’d give up to start saving early for college!

Despite being that type A driven career woman, I made a firm decision to take maternity leave for a few months after my delivery.

I couldn’t contain my joy. I told almost everyone that was close to me.

People asked what I wanted. I had no preference, boy or girl didn’t matter, because I planned on showing either the world.

People warned me to keep quiet. They said it’s early. One in four pregnancies fails.

But being the hopeless optimist that I am, I just went all in with my emotions.

Turns out I wasn’t alone. My mom even started planning for my baby shower. My mother-in-law shrieked with excitement when I told her.

During the first ultrasound, the doctor said there was a heartbeat which was a good sign, but it was low, so we should come back in two weeks.

That’s when I began to worry. But there was nothing I could do. I just had to wait it out.

I waited and stayed optimistic.

While I was more tired than I had been pre-pregnancy, I still felt great. I listened to my body and gave it time to rest.

The morning of my second ultrasound, I was hopeful but I couldn’t help feeling nervous.

As the doctor started to check, I glared at the ultrasound screen. Hoping to hear a heartbeat, hoping to hear the words, “Everything looks good.” Or, “Your baby has grown!”

Something positive, anything positive.

But there was just silence followed by, “I’m sorry your pregnancy wasn’t viable.”

Now what?

I just took a deep breath and asked the doctor for some time to evaluate next steps with my husband.

Then my husband and I told the doctor how we wanted to expel the embryo.

I could see the tears in my husband’s eyes. He was just as sad as I was.

The series of events that followed leaving the doctor’s office felt mechanical. Go to the drugstore, get medication, take medication, and wait for it to take effect.

I didn’t even bother taking the pain medication the doctor prescribed. I wanted to feel the pain. I had been mentally preparing for childbirth, any other pain seemed trivial in comparison.

The next day I woke up late. Feeling fine but with a giant hole in me.

And then it happened, I just broke down and cried. I wanted my baby back.

I know the universe isn’t out to get me. I know there will be more chances to get pregnant. I know that eventually, I’ll be a mom. I know that there are a number of alternatives out there even if I am never able to conceive.

But I can’t help feeling disappointed.

I can’t help feeling loss and the sadness that comes from it.

I know that with time I’ll feel better, I’ll get over it.

The real reason I share my story is not to grieve, it’s to tell all the other would-be parents out there that’s it’s OK to go all in with your emotions. It’s OK to have baby on the brain. It’s OK to want to be a mom and a career woman. It’s OK to want to be a stay-at-home dad and nurture your children. And it’s also OK to want to be a parent more than anything else in the world.

Before I got pregnant, I heard from too many women and their partners that they kept their miscarriage a secret. They didn’t share how long it took them to conceive, thinking it would be a reflection of their womanhood or their manhood.

They were ashamed of the agony they went through as they met with specialist after specialist who couldn’t determine what was wrong.

They were ashamed of the toll it took on their bodies and their minds.

How trying to conceive changed how they viewed sex and strained their relationship with their partner.

So I’ll come out and admit that I looked for a partner for over a decade to have a child with. I’ll admit that after 13 months of trying, a number of false alarms, and ending up in the ER earlier this year thanks to an ovarian cyst bursting, my husband and I finally conceived a couple months ago and it didn’t work out. And I’ll admit that I’m going to try again and again until I get what I want.

No, I’m not delusional into thinking that it will magically erase all my other problems. I know being a parent is hard. There are frustrating moments followed by joyful ones.

I just want to give life and nurture it, and if you want the same know that it’s OK to keep trying.

I don’t care if people think I’m weird. If they think I need to move on. If they think I need to relax. If they think that there is more to life than giving life and nurturing it.

I know what I want: to shower another human being with unconditional love, and it’s OK for you to want the same too.

Athena Talks

A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.

Poornima Vijayashanker

Written by

Foodie, yogini, founder of @Femgineer founder of @BizeeBee. Previously @mint founding engineer.

Athena Talks

A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.

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