This week we have seen the Motherhood Challenge all over Facebook. Mothers posting photos of why they are happy to be a parent. It has been lovely to see lots of lovely proud parents and lots of gorgeous photos of kids. However, it has reminded me that for many women the expression ‘motherhood challenge’ means something very different.
My thoughts are drawn to those women who are fighting a silent battle to become mothers. I have been there. I know how all consuming it can be. This photo was one that I included in my Motherhood Challenge as it has a story behind it. It is symbolic of my challenge, and the hope that I clung to during three years and a failed pregnancy trying for a second baby.
I consider myself lucky that I fell pregnant fairly quickly with my first child so that challenge of falling pregnant again was always backdropped with the reassurance that I had already had the gift of being a mother. I also feel grateful that the experience of struggling to conceive a child has allowed me a greater empathy with those whose struggle is even greater.
After a year of trying for our second child I was becoming increasingly consumed with the desire to fall pregnant. I am someone who likes to be in control and likes to acheive what I set out to. I found the experience of letting go and trusting my body and that it would all ‘happen when it was meant to’ very challenging. I went to the doctors to get their advice, to see if there was anyway I could gain control over the situation. As I had already had a baby and knew I could conceive and carry a baby there was little they would be able to do. They could give me a hormone test to check everything was alright, and there were some other tests they could do but they effectively told me to carry on trying and come back later.
That month I fell pregnant. Things didn’t feel the same as last time, but I was late, and their was a faint line on the prenancy test. I was so happy, so excited that after all this time it was happening again. And then it wasn’t. A week later I had some spotting. I knew in my heart what that meant but I read online that many women have spotting throughout their pregnancy and I clung to that hope. But then it got worse. I rang the doctor and they told me to go in. They confirmed I was miscarrying. I was 6 weeks pregnant.
I always thought that miscarrying at such an early stage would just be like having a late period and whilst I still don’t like describing it as a miscarriage, as I feel my experience was so much less devestating than what many other women go through, I was shocked by how heartbroken I was. My hormones were everywhere, I felt awful and so so sad. I tried to focus on the positives. I was reassured that I could still get pregnant, my husband and I were closer than ever and I gained an insight into what some women have to endure on a more dramatic and often repeat basis.
My husband bought me a beautiful necklace. Two hearts linked together. A symbol of love and support, and to me a token of hope. I vowed to wear it until the day we had our baby, one heart representing us and the other our future child.
We didn’t give up. I got into better shape, I went to see a reflexologist and we kept trying. Another year went by and on my husbands insistance we went back to the doctors. They referred me for blood tests. I had the first one and had to go back after my next period started for the second part of the test. My period never came. Exactly a year after the last time, I fell pregnant. Nine and a bit months later I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
The necklace, which I wore so close to my heart for all that time, is now hers.
So for all those women who have a real ‘Motherhood Challenge’ I send a message of hope, love and support. However long you have been waiting, it is worth the wait, keep the hope, get help where you can, and know that there are lots of women out there who do understand and are there for you.
Lots of love x