From February 2017

Should I? I Could I?

Still in pain and bleeding from a traumatic miscarriage, still trying to understand what had happened, I had the overwhelming need to be a mother, to be pregnant. Something I’d never felt before. I put it down to hormones but the feeling, the need, lasted for months. My life revolved around it.

From the age of fourteen, I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and joint problems. My whole life has been ruled by them, although at the time, I wasn’t fully aware of it. Growing up, when my parents took my brother and I out to the cinema or on holiday, I would always be ill in someway. A strange fear of crowds meant that at secondary school I did my best to escape assemblies. I never wanted to go out anywhere and when I did I was constantly nervous to the point where I thought I was going to be sick. As I got older, my life became restricted compared to that of my friends. I rarely went out, even with my closest friends and I never went to night clubs. Going out on my own didn’t seem to be an option, my head constantly filled with a stream of what seemed like a million “what ifs” and going to university certainly wasn’t. My mood seemed to get lower with every year that passed. I wasn’t happy and there didn’t seem to be much I could do about it.

My body contributed towards my depression; finding that my knees were usually painful and more often than not swollen. I dreaded P.E lessons at school, I could never keep up with everyone else and I would easily injure myself. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties I was diagnosed with hypermobility, a condition that affects the joints. By this time I was fairly certain that having children wasn’t going to be the right thing for me. How could I bring a child into the world and have it end up like me? In pain, depressed and too afraid to do anything or go anywhere. I couldn’t bring that sort of thing on someone.

By my mid  twenties, my viewpoint changed. Motherhood wasn’t something I was set against but nor was it something I was desperate for. I felt I would be happy whether I became a mother or not. I had also realised that if were to become a mother, I would be able to see any signs or symptoms if my child had any problems. However, I was certain that I did not want to actively try for a baby. If it happened, it happened, if it didn’t, it didn’t.

At twenty-nine, I met my husband. Early in the relationship we discussed our thoughts on having children, something he wanted. He respected my thoughts on not wanting to try to conceive, understanding the effect that stress had on my health and he was happy, when the time was right, just see if it happened for us. Within a year of meeting we were engaged, eight months later married and five months after that we were surprised to discover I was pregnant. I can safely say that I was happy but also terrified. Flooded with anxiety over the fact that I was now responsible for a life, I looked at changing my lifestyle. Fortunately, all I needed to do was to improve my diet slightly. I rarely drank alcohol, have never smoked and exercised regularly.

The pregnancy lasted eight weeks. I wasn’t going to be a mother. What was going to be my first born was ripped from me. The heartbreak and grief was on a level that I had never experienced before. My depression returned as I simply did not know how to deal with the emotions the miscarriage had created, my anxiety and panic attacks intensified. Feeling empty and lost, I became convinced that the only way to fill the void generated from my loss was to become pregnant, to be a mother. Not only had I been deprived of my baby, the miscarriage had changed me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It defined me as a woman who, now, desperately wanted motherhood.

After a few months, my husband and I decided to actually try to conceive. Trying to get pregnant was something I never wanted to do but was now something I had to do as all I wanted was to be pregnant again. Becoming obsessed, I charted my basal body temperature in a bid to help determine when I was ovulating alongside using ovulation tests. Each and every month, my body convinced me that I was pregnant. Following what my body was telling me, I was filled with hope only to be in floods of tears at the end of every cycle. Being ruled by intense desire to become pregnant, I didn’t know who I was anymore.

It took almost a year until I fell pregnant for the second time. It lasted six weeks. Still grieving for my first loss, I was devastated that it had happened again.

After my first miscarriage, all I wanted, needed, was to become a mother, for that life inside of me to thrive, make it to full term and to hold my son or daughter in my arms. But since my second miscarriage, I have no idea what I want. I’m lost. I’ve been told that if I want children bad enough, I will keep on trying for however long it takes. I think, like many things, that’s easier said than done. If I had grown up knowing I wanted children, it would be more straightforward. But I didn’t. I’m convinced, even though there’s no reason to be, that any other pregnancy I have, is going to end the same. So what’s the point of trying? Although, the next time I fall pregnant, it could be the one. I need to decide what I want but I have no idea what I want anymore. The intense need to be pregnant, to be a mother isn’t there anymore even though that void is still there only bigger, deeper. I need to decide what I want but I don’t want to make that decision, I’d rather it was taken out my hands but it can’t be. I’m too scared, too anxious and I’m not sure I can cope with going through another miscarriage. It makes me wonder if I do want to be a mother, is it something I can actually handle? Am I strong enough?

A Yorkshire lass born and bred, Kady Jo now lives in Somerset with her husband and their small menagerie. If she isn’t writing, Kady can usually be found with one of three musical instruments in her hands, or a book. Visit her website, Dive in My Dreams.

Mourning a Miscarriage After an Unwanted Pregnancy

There was something about my period that wasn’t right. Having an IUD, it was usually much lighter than this. My womb felt emptier than usual. It didn’t take long to realize what was happening. After a few moments of denial, I finally allowed myself to accept that I was having a miscarriage.

I was in my senior year of college, two weeks away from my 22nd birthday, and I was alone. Having suffered from depression since childhood, I struggled with what was happening. I was glad to not be pregnant, but realizing what I had lost hurt. I cried for my unborn child. I wasn’t certain if I ever wanted a child, and I certainly didn’t want one my senior year , but I still grieved for this unborn child.

Something in me decided it was a boy, and I was sorry for the life he would never live. I told him it was probably best, as I wouldn’t be able to provide a good life for a child. I was young, still in school, and only working seasonally. Even if I had given him up for adoption, I worried that he have a poor quality of life: I had read that the mother’s emotions during pregnancy have an affect on the child’s personality, and I probably would have spent those 9 months feeling extremely depressed. That coupled with the high chance he would inherit my depression made me fear he would feel miserable for much of his life.

I skipped the rest of my classes that day, barely able to leave my bed, arguing with myself that I shouldn’t be so distraught about this. I wasn’t even sure I wanted children. But there was something in that emptiness that made me yearn to be a mother.

When I told my boyfriend what had happened, he apologized for my having to go through the miscarriage, but also pointed out that it didn’t feel like a loss of a child. He reminded me of his mother who, before he was born, had a miscarriage. His parents had been trying for a child, but never considered themselves parents to that child.

“My mom has always seen herself as a mother of two, not three,” he said.

We were sitting in his parked car in the driveway of his parents’ house, silent for a moment. I wondered if his mother had felt the way I was feeling now. She had wanted the child, so she must have mourned it. The miscarriage was still fresh in my mind, but his mother’s miscarriage had happened over 25 years prior and before he was born.

He stepped out of the car and I waited for a moment, wondering if it was worth pointing out that my experience of loss was still valid.

I felt petty for being as upset as I was, seeing as we didn’t want the child anyway. I thought of the women who are struggling to get pregnant and resented myself for having, if only for a moment, been pregnant despite using the most effective birth control available.

Still, I resolved that this was more my miscarriage than it was ours. He didn’t experience it or have the same attachment to our would-be child. The child hadn’t been within him.

Now, it all seems like a strange dream I had a long time ago. Though it feels as if it’s part of the distant past, I try not to completely detach from it. It was an important moment in time that taught me a lot about myself. I realized I’d be okay with having an abortion because it’d be best for all involved. I was also able to give motherhood more contemplation.

I don’t know if my yearning to be a mother was a feeling I could trust or if it was actually a case of me wanting something I couldn’t have. The yearning was strong but, I’m still not sure if I want to ever be a parent but, for a moment, I was one. I loved my child, I mourned my child, but I knew this was better for him. If I ever have a child, it will be when I can give them the happy life they deserve.

Emily Demone is the pseudonym of a New England based writer and, like so many in her peer group, social media manager. She loves nature and the outdoors, but prefers watching it through a window as she cuddles on the couch with her four dogs. She tries her best to navigate the chaos that is being a 20-something in the early 21st-century and wants to let everything happen as it may, but spends most of her time trying to guess what the future has in store.

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