One positive thing to come out of this whole awful journey is that I’ve learned to put myself before others. Under normal circumstances, that would be a very selfish statement, but in my case, it’s a breakthrough. You see, up until my miscarriage and subsequent infertility, I put everyone else’s needs first: friends, family, coworkers… even strangers at the grocery store. Someone who didn’t know me might have pegged me as a door mat, but that was not the case. I simply enjoyed the warm fuzzies I got from making life a little cheerier for someone else.
Immediately after my loss, I tried to stay the same, to always be there for others, whether a time of grief or celebration. It slowly occurred to me, however, that I just couldn’t. It was too hard to fight back tears, to remain composed, to pretend to be happy, to plan retorts for the inappropriate “it was meant to be” statements. And I really hated all the looks of pity. The first time I left a family gathering early, because I just couldn’t bear to be around babies and pregnant relatives, I felt enormously guilty, yet relieved. Guilty, because I was always the one to arrive first and leave last. I relished every moment I could spend with my loved ones, and in leaving early, I felt like I was telling my family that they weren’t important. Oh, but the rush of relief when I finally got out of there! I didn’t have to pretend anymore. I could slump over, head in my hands, and sob for as long as I needed. I could just be sad.
Eventually, I started feeling less guilty about skipping out early or missing family gatherings altogether. I now excuse myself from baby showers, walk away from conversations about pregnancy and kids, and I no longer engage pregnant women in conversation about their pregnancies. I’ve stopped making excuses, too. I’m taking care of myself, and if anyone has a problem with it, I’m happy to set them straight.