I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror a few weeks ago, and I was taken aback. I stared, taking myself in from head to toe and back again. And each time I’d pass a mirror that day, I’d do the same thing, trying to figure out who this person was. Of course it was me in the mirror, but I didn’t recognize myself.
This time, it wasn’t me looking at my reflection, feeling sorry for that person with the sad, tired eyes, and drawn-out face. I wasn’t looking for the person who existed before. It was me noticing me for the first time, in a long time. And it was me finally starting to embrace who, and where I was at that moment: nearly 25 weeks pregnant.
It’s unfamiliar territory. I’ve never seen myself this pregnant. I’ve never had the protruding belly (not to mention the boobs!). I’ve never felt a baby move before. And I never thought I’d be here again, let alone this far.
Even still, it has taken me three more weeks to bring myself to write about it. Up until the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent my time hiding. Hiding behind flowy tops and scarves. Hiding with fear and from hope. Hiding from family and friends, and the people in this community who have been so supportive every step of the way. And hiding behind silence.
Silence! The biggest thing I try to advocate against.
Sure, there are many reasons for me to hide. In fact, there are still plenty of family and friends who don’t know (perhaps until now). Outside of telling our parents, we made a conscious decision to keep this pregnancy to ourselves for as long as possible. The thought being that we didn’t want to deal with looks and thoughts of fear, pity, or what the f*ck are you thinking. On some levels, I’d like to stay in hiding until this Little Guy arrives, hopefully breathing and healthy around 40 weeks. But at the same time, I understand the importance of sharing experiences to embrace support and provide hope. I need those shared experiences of support and hope to get through this. And my hope is that there are others out there who need it too.
Lately, I’ve felt like a coward for hiding. Sure, five prior pregnancies resulting in the loss of seven babies has earned me the right to do whatever I need to. But at the same time, I started Will CarryOn to be a voice. To end the silence, and get people talking about the too-often taboo subjects of miscarriage, stillbirth and baby loss. And so now I’m taking a leap of faith to add talking about pregnancy after loss to this mix. I don’t intend for it to be the focus of Will CarryOn, but I do think this is an important aspect that needs to be discussed. I’ll be sharing more of the story, my thoughts, feelings and the reactions we’ve received soon. It felt too much for one post, and I wanted to embrace the courage of “coming out” while I have it.
I don’t know what lies ahead in the days and months to come, but I’m trying to stay positive and hopeful, while keeping the fear and anxiety at bay. It’s been a long 28 weeks, but I am here now, finally ready to talk about it.