A few weeks ago, my husband and I celebrated our One-Year Wedding Anniversary. The date also officially marked our One-Year Trying To Get Pregnant Anniversary. Because when you get married at age 33 and 34, you gotta get right down to business.
We had a dinner reservation at a fancy restaurant, where we sometimes go to celebrate fancy occasions with fancy food and fancy drinks. But before we went to said fancy dinner, we sat down on the couch and looked through our wedding album.
We looked at every moment of our wedding day, from the shots of me needing 5 people to help me get into my dress, to our first kiss as a married couple, to the photos of my brother-in-law laughing so hard he started weeping during my sister’s toast. It was the perfect day, and we relived it all.
And I realized that the person I was that day in the white dress is so very different than the person I am now. That glowing, beaming girl in all in those photos wasn’t just tanner, slightly slimmer and more made up than the me that exists today. That girl was incredibly naïve.
That girl thought this next part would be easy. She figured having a baby was as simple as throwing out the birth control. She had the next 10 years planned out. That girl had no idea the year that awaited her.
It’s been a doozey of a year. And it has changed me. But in a way that’s made me wiser than I ever was before. In fact, here are 5 life lessons I’ve learned from my year’s battle with recurrent pregnancy loss.
Stop planning everything
I’ve always been the kind of person who makes things happen. I decide I want something, and then I work and do whatever it takes to get it. So of course, when it was time for us to have a kid, my husband and I bought a big 5-bedroom house in the burbs and I found a family-friendly 9-to-5 job nearby. Only one part of the master plan failed. The kid part.
The whole, “But we had a plan” thing is I think what has anguished me most this past year. It’s made me livid with the universe, my fists-raised upward and shaking wildly, “how dare you mess with our plan!” As if the universe gives two shits about our plan.
No, the universe just laughs and says “If it weren’t for my randomness, you’d always be bored.” And I know she’s right, that sassy wonderful insane bitch.
Everyone really is fighting a battle
I’ve always loved the quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” But I don’t think I really got it until this past year. Not until I was secretly bleeding out a pregnancy while being bullied by a client on a conference call. Or until I was enduring what I feared to be miscarriage cramps while an impatient woman huffed and puffed behind me at the pharmacy counter at CVS.
This year has made me rethink all my daily interactions. It’s made me catch myself when I start to grow agitated with someone and slow my words when I begin to make a snide remark. Because if I could have been secretly dealing with what I was secretly dealing with, what might others be dealing with that I know absolutely nothing about.
You are your only advocate
Before this year, I always just figured that if there was ever something physically wrong with me, a doctor would find it. As long as I had my yearly checkups, did my annual blood draw and reported any noticeable changes, they’d tell me if there was something I needed to worry about. Because they’re doctors, and they know that kind of stuff.
But doctors are also people with lots of patients, lots to keep track of, and secret battles of their own. And they don’t know you like you know you. So if you’re unsure about their treatment plan, speak up. If you want them to take a second look, say so. If you want more or different tests done, demand it. Stand up for your health. The worst thing they can say is “Get another doctor.” Which, by the way, is never a bad idea anyway.
Never put stock in a plastic stick
I mean, seriously. We live in an age where people can hold international meetings on their watches, and I’m basing my whole future on a plastic stick with two lines? A stick I just peed all over? Contrary to my entire life’s beliefs, pregnancy tests are not magic fortune tellers. Most times they work. But a lot of times they don’t. So when in doubt, get a beta.
Enjoy this day.
Did I mention I’m a planner? To the extreme. And part of being a planner is constantly looking forward to the next mile marker, the next exit, the next big thing down the road. And when that next thing is suddenly so very unattainable, you’re left looking down a road that now seems empty, long and desolate – just waiting for the one thing in the distance that would make it not so desolate.
But what you don’t see is that there are things all around you that would make the road less desolate, if only you would just look at them. Look at them and really enjoy them. A cup of coffee. A night with friends. A new lunch spot. A co-worker who brought cookies.
Look at these things. Enjoy this day.