Focusing on what we are in the moment versus what we have been in the past can be difficult. Will the next stage feel better? When will the worrying stop? If we make it this far, are we safe? But what if?
Our first pregnancy ended in sadness as I found out at 12 weeks that the baby had stopped growing and there was no heartbeat. I would never enter into another pregnancy that naive again. I now had joined the "other side" where getting pregnant and staying pregnant did not feel like a luxury but more like a miracle or privilege. One that could be taken away without reason or without warning.
I watched many of our friends celebrate the arrival of their new little wonders all around the due date that never came for our family. I felt awful because I loved them and was so grateful for the healthy babies and joy coming into our world. But my heart also ached for the child I would never know. I felt like I was being punished unfairly. I still felt like a mother and longed to remain a mother. I held all the hopes and dreams of what might have been and yet society saw me differently.
After many months of waiting for the lines to appear on the stick, we were pregnant again. I was excited but cautious. We were going to be a family. I was pretty sure.
The truth is I was terrified the whole way through. My family doctor at the time had some excellent and simple, but difficult advice “Focus on what you are. You are pregnant until I tell you otherwise. That’s all you need to know right now, is that you are pregnant!” Easier said than done!
A beautiful meditation or visualization practice, I adapted from some of the books I found along the way, brought peace and comfort to a nervous time. I would take a little quiet time everyday and imagine myself laying next to the growing little wonder inside of me, snuggled up and loving each other. I was going to enjoy every moment we had together.
I would also practice a form of mediation where I would imagine each of my organs healthy, vibrant, full of life and love. Smiling and giving gratitude as I worked my thoughts through my entire body. Nothing formal, short, sweet and easy to do. Trust me, on a good day I am both curious and terrified by silence. Someone that has to work desperately to be still. This can be the first focus every morning or the last thoughts before drifting off at night. If anything, the calmness and peace these moments bring is worth it.
I am happy to share that we have two healthy, beautiful, living children. However, our story of grief did not end with the first miscarriage. When I was blessed with a fourth pregnancy, after the devastating loss of our two week old second son, a new visceral worry had set in. This time I no longer feared the pregnancy but held an unsettling fear of losing my child after welcoming him or her into this world.
Once again, I used my imagination in a positive way for nurturing intentions and smiled as strongly as I could inwardly. There were moments when my thoughts tried so desperately to focus on all of the past pain and create possibilities of horror for the future. Years later, my thoughts can easily sneak right back to heartache and panic inducing scenarios. The trick is to acknowledge them momentarily, feel the emotion, then pull yourself back to the present moment. With practice and time you can chose not to follow them down the dark hole they are pulling you towards. We cannot change the past or predict the future although we spend a lot of time trying. In those moments of fear and worry, pause if you can, breathe, and smile, thinking about something that makes you effortlessly happy.
There are so many things in life that fuel our passions and make us smile individually. I recommend finding a little more time every week or every day to focus on these things in support of all the wonderful and difficult things you are doing to live your dreams. Be bold and be gentle with yourself.