I Can Never Be Pregnant Again
I am obsessed with pregnant women. I always have been. Seeing them walk around with all that life inside of them, literally creating the world in their womb is nothing short of a miracle to me. Way before I had my first child I remember having so much adoration and respect for every pregnant woman in the world. Like, dang, look at her walking around with all that human growing in her belly! I JUST knew, as much as I loved them, I was bound to love my own pregnancies. It was only right my reproductive karma guarantee me a wonderful pregnancy.
Pregnancy for me isn't even normal, let alone wonderful. And it’s pretty damn hard to not have a “normal” pregnancy because ANYTHING short of death is considered some range of normal. See pregnancy is when everything that should never happen, happens all at once, and everyone tells you you’re okay. Hemorrhoids, sciatica, memory loss, anemia, nausea, heartburn, fatigue… you literally walk around with the symptoms of every illness imaginable and no cure other than delivery. People are sympathetic, to an extent, but they are also quick to write you off as just pregnant. So, you start to do the same. You write your feelings off and begin doubt your own connection to your experience. This is all normal right?
It’s not. There are symptoms that you should not have. Symptoms that should not be swept under the “expecting rug”. I wasn't just hormonal. That I could understand. I was depressed, and it was getting harder to coach myself back from the edge. I was embarrassed to be seen as a pregnant woman or as impaired by my pregnancy. I wouldn’t go to events even when everyone there knew I was pregnant. What would they think if they saw me in this state? So obviously struggling? I know there are many emotions you go through while you're pregnant, but shame shouldn't be one of them.
The experience of carrying my children, from beginning to end, ranged from soul crushing to just crushing. There was no upside. No glow. The physicality weakened me to rubble. My mental state was in shambles. I begin to question everything about myself. My worth, my purpose, and even whether I will make it to delivery. Not because I intend to do something to myself, but because maybe my mind or body will just fail to function, and I’ll just lose my ability to hold it together. I'll just, I don't know, disappear inside of myself and never come out. Does that sound extreme? Yes. Do I sound dramatic? Probably. Does that sound healthy? Absolutely not. That’s the fear of it all. After years of progressing into a healthier self, I am destroyed by situational depression. I collapse into the psyche of my former, miserable existence the instant that embryo implants. I hate myself for not being able to handle complications better. I am jealous of other pregnant women who don’t feel like they’re dying inside. I’m angry with God for requiring me to struggle to survive when all I am trying to do is bring life into the world.
Ultimately, I had to decide if it all was worth it. It’s not the decision I wanted to make, but I do have a choice. I will never be pregnant again. Why choose to struggle? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should and just because you want something doesn’t mean you’re meant to have it. No matter how much I love motherhood from first latch, or how I imagined having kid after kid after kid… I cannot risk losing myself to have another. It isn’t safe for me, or my family. I want to be happily married and I want to be able to care for the children that I have already brought into the world. Unfortunately, pregnancy, and all the darkness that comes with it, doesn’t really fit into that equation anymore. It was not easy to accept that this was the end of the line for my fertility. It isn’t an easy pill to swallow that you are simultaneously able and unable. However, I have been to the brink of relapsing into depression too many times to volunteer myself, or the ones that love me, to go down that road again. I know what losing control feels like, I know what it looks like, and I know being pregnant loosens my grasp of maintaining it. I know it takes away my light and dims my vision of myself. I know, even temporarily, that I don’t want to live in that shadow.
I remember at the beginning of this pregnancy, looking into the eyes of my extremely attentive doctor and telling her, I don’t know why carrying children is so hard for me? I love pregnant women. I love kids. I want a huge family. But, I just don’t think it is smart for me to do this again. I just cannot do this again.” Being my physician for the last three years, supporting me through my first high risk pregnancy and knowing my mental health background she told me the most important thing I needed to know about carrying my child. She said, “no matter how happy they appear, I have never seen a woman not struggle with pregnancy. Whether it is trying to conceive, carrying the child, or adjusting to their postpartum life, everyone struggles at some point. This is your struggle and we both know it will end.” She was right. It ended. With a bang of course, because that is just how my story was written, but it is over nonetheless.
My husband and I fully intend on continuing to grow our family. We hope to be blessed with another child in the future, but, my uterus will not be involved. It isn’t worth the fight. I know my weakness. The smartest thing I can do is to own it and avoid it.