The End of “The Only Ones”

Sometimes, just when you think you have life all figured out, it throws you a curve ball.

This weekend we went to a friends’ child’s third birthday party. We rarely see them and were happy to have a few moments to catch up. These are actually Mi.Vida’s friends so he spent a lot of time talking with the father while I chased Isa around, trying to keep her cute spring dress and pink shoes in tact.

After we left Mi.Vida told me that they were pregnant. This surprised me because I remember last year the mom saying that because she was just starting a new job they would have to wait for a few years before adding to their family. Their kids would probably be four or five years apart but there wasn’t much she could do because as a lawyer, she had to be available in those first years with her new firm.

As I did the math I realized the timing actually did work out, as their son just turned three so by the time their next child was born it would be almost a four year gap. I thought, wow, they probably got pregnant on the first try, just like last time. Literally as I was forming this though, Mi.Vida added that they’d been trying for a year and a half and had suffered a loss during that time.

I was caught so off guard by that. I was just so surprised. They got pregnant the very first month of trying the first time, I know this because they complained a few times about it, as they had been told it would take longer and weren’t feeling quite ready since it happened so fast. The fact that the second time around they struggled so long and hard shocked me. As I let it sink I realized that they must have been trying when she made that comment to me, the one about having to wait because of her job. I wondered why she said that then. Maybe because her kid was two and she had been fielding questions about when they would have another. Did she want to head me off at the pass? Assure herself that at least this family wouldn’t be asking her when they might have another kid? (I hadn’t by the way, she had just offered the information).

It was so strange to process this new information, to move this family from one category in my mind to another. Now, they are no longer one of the families that has it so easy. Now they are one of the families who has suffered for to have the children they want. I have to admit, it changes the way I think of them.

I also have to admit, after it all sunk in, I started feeling the fear. We’re so close to trying again–when my period shows up this week it will officially be our first CD1 of TTC#2–and I’m starting to feel anxious and worried, overwhelmed by what could go wrong. Hearing a story like this is hard for me right now. I know it’s not about me. I know their story has nothing to do with my own. But a reminder like this, of what can happen, of what DOES happen even to people who have it easy the first time, well it’s just a difficult reminder.

Mi.Vida was frustrated. The way he saw it, I could never be happy. If people have it easy I feel frustrated and envious. If the have it hard I feel scared and anxious. Basically there is no TTC story that doesn’t effect me negatively.

Of course, he doesn’t want the alternative. He doesn’t want, and would never expect, me to celebrate in the face of others’ struggle. Just because someone’s easy experience makes me feel frustrated or upset doesn’t mean the inverse is true; I am not gleeful upon hearing my friends’ troubling news. In fact I felt incredible grief for what they endured.

I will admit though, as I grieved for them I also breathed a sharp sigh of relief. I felt relief that I am not the only one who has struggled, that we are not the lone couple that argued over when to start to start trying, that suffered a loss and not being able to get pregnant. We’re not the only couple of our friends who didn’t enjoy the perfect family building experience. There is something about not being the only ones that brings me relief. And I feel horrible feeling that way. It’s not that I want anyone else to suffer, it’s not that I want people I know and love to have to go through this, but knowing I’m not the only one of our friends who has walked this path, it just brings me a strange sense of solace. I hope that doesn’t make me an awful person, but I understand if it does.

Later Mi.Vida was telling me about a comedian he loves who was interviewed on a podcast he enjoys. Evidently he and his wife also had troubling conceiving their second and eventually adopted. I have to admit, two stories of secondary infertility a week before we start trying again has me spooked. I’m decidedly less sure of the choices we made to wait, to get ready for our second attempt with diet changes and acupuncture. I wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake. I wonder if I’ll regret the path we chose.

Of course there is nothing to do to change it. We waited and now all we can do is suffer the consequences–whatever they may or may not be.

 

This, That and Thank You’s

Um, I’m coming up on 600 posts y’all! Any ideas on how I can mark the occasion? I like to do something when I hit the hundos.

Before I start today’s post I want to thank everyone who commented on the Falling-Out-of-Favor Phenomena post. Not only did it make me feel less freakish and slightly less bitchy, it also helped me to understand better why it might be happening and gave me the courage I needed to pull the plug when necessary. It also made clear that I need to learn how to create folders in my Google reader and start organizing blogs accordingly.

I also wanted to make a final comment regarding my 2011: The Year of Meh post. I realize that the post, and especially the title, makes it seem like I didn’t enjoy the past year or consider it to be a “good” one. That is not the case at all. I thought 2011 was a great year. I thoroughly enjoyed growing as a mother, partner and friend.  I don’t believe that something extraordinary has to happen for a year to be a “good” one, that post was meant to be a reflection on how strange it is that the eventful years are mostly behind me and I’ve entered a new phase of my life. I’m quite content to mark my remaining years by my children’s milestones, while reveling in the day to day joys that being a mother, partner and friend bring. This is the life I always dreamed of and it’s just as wonderful as I’d always hoped it would be, if maybe a little less momentous.

I also want to take this opportunity to direct you to a really remarkable piece of writing by my friend Jjiraffe who profiled my other friend Bodega Bliss in response to the New York Times insistence on only presented the ALI stories of the rich and whimsical 1%. This post profiles an RPL survivor who struggles to afford complete testing and is prohibited from pursing ART because of it’s exorbitant costs. It’s a heartbreaking story of resilience in the face of loss and I’m so proud to call both it’s writer and subject friend. If you read one post today (other than the rest of this one of course) read this.

Finally I want to thank my top five commenters of 2011. I finally checked my wordpress blog-in-review report and I have to say I was impressed. Not only can they convince a small-time operation like this that a few people gave a damn (it would have taken how many sold out shows at the Sydney Opera House for that many people to see my blog?!) but they also kept track of how many people commented and told me the top five! So here they are in a very specific order!

1. Elizabeth from Snips, Snails and Puppydog Tails. If you want to read an incredible blog about an amazing mom and her extraordinary special needs son, then please go check her out. I have to admit, I don’t comment nearly enough on this blog because I’m usually so overwhelmed by the infinite love and undying patience she exhibits and I fear I’ll say something silly or trite (and certainly useless). I’ve promised her I’ll do a MUCH better job or repaying the courtesy she’s showed me in kind.

2. Justine from A Half Baked Life. Justine can intertwine prose about food and life almost as well as I can microwave a can of soup. Seriously, she’s that good. She’s also kind, smart, supportive and understanding. Her blog is truly a treasure – for your heart, mind and rumbling tummy.

3. Sarah at To Call Me Mama. Not that Sarah needs any traffic from my site (WordPress informed her that she got over 110,000 page views last year) but she earned this spot (even with a new baby to take care of) and I’m certainly not surprised. Sarah was the one who pushed me to start a blog when we met on the FFboards over two years ago and she was pretty much the only one who commented here for almost a year. She is one of the most thoughtful bloggers (and commenters) I know and I’m so thrilled for all the happiness she found in 2011.

4/5. And rounding out my top five, TIED for the 4th spot are my two besties, Jjiraffe at Too Many Fish To Fry and Courtney at Bodega Bliss (I love that you both tied! How perfect!) I know I already spent a paragraph singing their praises but I will say it one more time – these are two fabulous women who also happen to be talented writers. I know I’m a bit biased by my best friend status, but even if I weren’t I’d still tell you that they will most certainly rock your socks off so go check them out!

(I mean, I love them so much I drink out of a mug with their faces on it.)

So a special thanks to my top five commenters! And a huge thanks to everyone who has ever commented on a post – I can’t tell you how much it means to know that my words are heard and understood. I cherish each and every one of your responses in ways I can’t adequately express.

Time Warp Tuesday: Thanksgiving Gratitude

It’s Tuesday again people. Time to do the Time Warp! Today’s theme is Thanksgiving and gratitude. Luckily I’ve written a lot of posts on the subject of gratitude so I had plenty to choose from. The post I finally did pick is called A Token of my Gratitude (or Five). It was written on September 28, 2009 just one month after I started my blog and only a week before I found out I was pregnant a second time. During that time I was struggling very much to see the good in my life. I was still healing from my ectopic and wondering if I would ever have a child to call my own. I didn’t know how to live I had when the life I wanted seemed so unattainable. At the time I had no idea that I was already pregnant. That the tiny seed that would eventually grow into my daughter had already been planted and was starting to grow.

Now, strangely, I find myself in a similar predicament, unsure of how to proceed with my life when the life I dream of remains ever elusive. I suppose now is the perfect time to reflect, again, on five things I’m thankful for, to revel in the bounty of my life and not in what I perceive as its shortcomings.

These were my five tokens of gratitude over two years ago.

Here are my five tokens of gratitude today.

Today I am thankful for…

my daughter

Isa is the light of my life. She is my happiness, my joy, my inspiration. She has healed wounds I presumed incurable. She brings me happiness with every smile. She is my everything. Every. single. day. I thank the universe for entrusting her precious spirit into my care.

my partner

I love Mi.Vida very much and am so fortunate to have him in my life. I’m thankful that he’s willing to work through our difficulties and negotiate our differences. I delight in watching him with our daughter, who adores him more than anyone. My partner inspires me, supports me and loves me unconditionally. I am confident that we will do everything in our power to make our relationship work, now and in the future.

our families

I don’t know what we would do without the continued love and support from both our parents. They shower Isa with attention (and cloths and gifts) and they frequently watch her so we can enjoy much appreciated time to ourselves. If it weren’t for our parents we couldn’t go to couples counseling every other week, relish the occasional date night, make extra money tutoring, appreciate personal pleasures like yoga, heck, we couldn’t actually afford child care. We depend on our parents support and they provide it in spades. We are so fortunate to have the close by and willing and able to help us whenever they can.

(Isa with Mi.Vida’s parents.)

my friends

I must admit, I had lost hope that I’d ever make a good friend as an adult and now (miraculously!) I have two! I seriously don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t text or call these women (J and B – I ❤ you!) when my life is making me crazy or sad or… crazy sad. They are always there for me, to shit talk someone who’s pissed me off, to sympathize when I’m down, to support me when I’m overwhelmed and to celebrate when I’m in high spirits. They are they for me rain or shine and I am so very thankful for their presence in my life.

(I somehow don’t have a picture of the three of us so I thought I’d include a screen shot of my and Jjiraffe’s never ending text stream. Also, those heinous exercise class stories I’m mentioning above? They are up on her blog right now and I highly suggest you check them out. They are hilariously insane.)

my blog/the blogosphere/the twitterverse

When I started this blog I didn’t realize where it would end up taking me. I never, in my wildest dreams, expected this place to serve as a porthole to a community of women I so admire and respect. I am simultaneously proud and humbled to participate in the dialogue that happens here, and on the blogs of my peers, every day. Teaching and motherhood are such isolating endeavors, if it weren’t for this space I’d be a fundamentally different (and lonelier) person. This community is more supportive than any I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. I truly believe feeling accepted and supported by my online friends is one of the reasons I’m so much less scared to continue building my family. If this outlet had existed for me during my first loss, it would have been a less devastating experience, I’m sure.

And that is my top five list of things I am thankful for.

What in your life are you thankful for?

Time Warp Tuesdays: Blogging Besties

Okay. I’m going to be very honest here. Starting this post I’m truly clueless as to where it might go. I’m unsure of what to say. I’ve contemplated avoiding it altogether. But the reality is that ever since “famed” (Ha! I wish!) Roshman of a Blogger Sleep over tri-tackled posts came out – unbeknownst to me at the time – I’ve wanted to revisit it. Truth be told, my contribution to that reflection was not nearly what I would have wanted it to be if I’d known myriad people would be reading it along with the witty and reflective submissions by Jjirrafe and Bodega Bliss. My post was a ranting vent of a thing written in the throes of an intense and unrelenting pity party. I barely tackled the reality of how I was feeling on that night both because the frustration was too fresh and the heartbreak too visceral and also because I was just too despondent tired to contemplate what missing that girls night really meant to me.

So I shall do it today, in honor of Kathy’s “meet-up” themed Time Warp Tuesday.

(By the way, if you want to read a well-written, thoughtful reflection on all of this, please just stop here and go to Jjiraffe’s post. Hers is a wonderful; meandering is the best you can expect here.)

When I first thought about writing this post I wanted to reflect on what I’d written when I first met with Bodega Bliss (BB) or Jjiraffe (J). Surely I had some deep and meaningful things to say when I’d originally gotten together with each of them, at first separately and then, all three of us together. But combing through my archives I could find no such post. Unless it’s hiding at the bottom of some other piece with a totally unrelated title (and I somehow did not use either of their names when writing), I did not, in fact, write about my first meetings with either of them. Which is so strange beacuse even at the time I knew I’d met some really amazing women that I hoped to stay close with for a long time to come.

Actually, it wasn’t as simple as that. At least not when I met BB. Not that I didn’t think BB was totally and completely awesome when I met her. I did. I also thought she was lovely, kind, gracious, open, funny and that exuded a style I coveted completely (her hair is basically exactly what I wish my hair could be, but it can’t, believe me, I’ve paid talented people good money to try). The other thing I thought was, we can’t possibly be friends. She’s had three miscarriages and I’ve had only one. I have a baby and she does not. How can I possibly say the right the thing, be the right thing for her? How can I relate to the intense pain she is feeling?

The reality is I didn’t understand why she’d want to be friends with me. If I were her, fresh off my third loss, I’d have wanted to stay as far away from the mothers of live babies as I could. If I were her I would have been unable to look past what this lady with a baby had to see who this lady with a baby was. But she could. I didn’t know how she did it but somehow she did. I was immediately perplexed impressed by that. It would not be the last thing that impressed me about BB.

I’m sure I didn’t write about first meeting J because I think our kids were around, all three of them. And whenever our kids are all together the two us get about five seconds to chat, if we’re lucky. So I probably didn’t write about meeting her because it happened so fast, like a drive by shooting, I wasn’t properly aware of what had happened, let alone how I felt about it.

But why didn’t I write about it the first time we all hung out, the three of us? I think I’ve not written nearly enough about my friendships with these amazing women for a number of reasons. First and foremost, at least in the beginning, I didn’t want to jinx anything. What if I guessed we’d be the best of friends and then we never saw each other again? I was also very self conscious of the fact that whatever I wrote about meeting them would be read by them. A situation ripe for social faux pauxs to be sure. How could I possibly write what I just did about first meeting BB when I hardly knew her? (When I knew she’d be reading it?) It just didn’t feel right to me. And I wasn’t sure what would be appropriate either.

Since then these women have become a very important part of my life. I don’t get to see them very often but when I do,  I’m so happy it’s like my heart sings. These are women who already know me. Who think I’m interesting enough to read me on a daily basis (something NOT ONE of my IRL friends ever did), who share my passion for writing themselves, who “get” this whole blogging thing, who do it themselves! That in and of itself is huge, because blogging is a huge part of my life. Pretending it doesn’t exist with the majority of people I speak to on a regular basis is so stifling. If someone doesn’t know about my blog I feel like they don’t know me at all.

But these women not only know my blog exists, they have read most of what’s written there (I’m assuming you both have extensively combed my archives, by the way 😉 ). They understand how I felt after my miscarriage. They understand the complex and sometimes contrary emotions I experience regarding my daughter, my partner, my writing, my life. They see me for the messy attempt at myself that I usually am and they still like me. How many people that you “know” really know you, for who you are, and love you anyway? There is literally nothing about me that these women don’t already know, and they still want to hang out with me. There is nothing in the world better than that.

So yeah, when I couldn’t meet up with them, after weeks of sweet anticipation, I experienced staggering, soul crushing disappointment. I pounded my hand against the wall until it cracked. I cried. I sobbed. I blubbered. I broke down. I howled. I whimpered and I wept. Finally, when I started sniveling, I suspected the worst of it was over. But it wasn’t really. It kept coming in waves all night. I’m embarrassed by how poorly I handled it. I’m ashamed at the scene I made. I sulked for the rest of the evening and part of the next day. It was awful. Truly torturous. And while on the one hand I know I need to handle small disappointments like that better (like, a thousand times better), I think my reaction was directly proportional to how important these women are in my life. My breakdown was telling and I choose to see it more as a commentary on their significance to me than on my ability to handle a mishap. (Don’t worry, I know I also need to get a handle of my mellow dramatic self.)

Of course when I found out that J thought maybe I was ditching her that night, I promptly decided she was not my BFF anymore. But that is for another post.

J/K!

I’m totally j/k-ing people.

But it’s okay. J already knows that. 😉

(PS I was right, this post is a meandering mess. Thanks for taking that jaunt with me – you can’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Happiest Mama Mondays: Find Your Tribe

I’ve been staring at this screen for a good five minutes and the truth is I have no idea what to write. I’ve actually been thinking about this post for a few days and I still don’t know what to write. To be honest, I’d rather not write this post at all.

I thought about not doing it. I thought about telling you all that I didn’t want to and blogging is about when I want to write (blah, blah) and since I really didn’t want to write this one I wasn’t going to. And that would have been that. I know none of you would have cared, in fact I’m sure you’d all have been very supportive of me.

I should write it though. Not because I said I would or because I feel some sense of obligation, but for the simple fact that I don’t want to. If I don’t want to write this post this badly, there must be a good reason.

And there is. I don’t want to write about finding my tribe because I haven’t yet and it makes me feel really depressed. There, I’ve said it, turns out I’m shit at finding my tribe. At least in real life.

I read this chapter last week and I have to say, it was the first in which I was disappointed. While she has some good advice and useful tips, Ms. Francis doesn’t really address how difficult finding one’s tribe can be. I remember at one point her saying that if you attempt to get together and it doesn’t work out, try, try again. Yeah, that’s great, but what if you’ve tried, tried, tried and tried and it never works. What happens then?

The chapter starts with a list of must-have friends. Every mother’s companion-arsenal should include the there-when-you-need-her friend, the pal whose life circumstances mirror you own, the veteran who’s a few steps ahead and can give great advice (and put things in perspective), the friend who will always tell you the truth and the friend-sans-spawn who can actually meet you for drinks at night. I think all of these friends sound great to have and I would love to enjoy women in my life who fit any of these roles. Heck, I’d love just one friend who lives in the general vicinity (because I do have some who live farther away) and wouldn’t be surprised to see my name on her caller ID if I needed to talk.

The “Making friends 101” section does have some good advice for finding new friends. She recommends tapping such resources as the parent-teacher organization at your kids’ school or mingling with other moms at sports games. If your kids are younger, like mine, the author recommends finding a mother’s group to connect with women who have similarly-aged babies and toddlers. Some places to look for mothers groups are hospitals, local baby boutiques and online forums.

I have to admit, I found this section to be a little frustrating. As someone who has been a part of many mothers groups, one that I even organized myself, I was woefully disappointed to find they all resulted in zero friendships. Despite spending hours with some of these women, and even being invited to a few of their kid’s birthday parties, I would not call any of them friends. I’ve never once called them to chat nor considered asking them for a favor. And while I’ve tried to initiate get togethers what feels like an infinite number of times they rarely work out (and no one has EVER initiated a get together with me). Even when a mother seems interested in getting together for a walk or a jaunt at the local playground the scheduling seems all but impossible. After months of trying to connect with moms in my area (both during maternity leave and after I went back to work) and having nothing to show for it I finally gave up. It’s a lot less painful to stare at a silent phone when you haven’t left any voicemails.

This past week, as an attempt to have something positive to write for this post, I decided that I was going to reengage the mothers of the group I started during my maternity leave. My earlier suggestions of a book club had been enthusiastically shot down so I went for something more simple and less labor intensive – I invited all of them over for a wine and cheese night at my place. A week later I’ve received two (of eight) responses. One yes and one no. So I guess if that one woman wants to come over by herself we can get together, but still, it’s not what I was hoping for, or expecting.

I found the sections on not creating a clique and “putting the ‘end’ in friend” to be pretty unnecessary for me. I don’t have to worry about getting cliquey with the friends I don’t have and I’ve always been a pretty inclusive person anyway. And while I have had to put the kibosh on past friendships I really don’t anticipate any overly eager new acquaintances at this point. Maybe I should send that paragraph to all the mothers I invited to the wine and cheese night so they can better avoid me until I stop pestering them.

For some reason I did appreciate the section on how to be a good friend. While I think I am quite considerate and I know I can be thoughtful, there were a few good ideas I might use if I ever end up finding someone who’s interested in getting to know me. I look forward to texting my friend from the grocery store to see if she needs anything or helping her fold laundry or doing things around the house. Maybe some day. A girl can dream.

There was one piece of information that I felt was relavant to me at this particular (friendless) stage in my life. While the author recognizes how powerful a tool the internet can be to strike up and nurture relationships, she warns against getting so involved in online friendships as to neglect your IRL posse. I sometimes wonder if maybe I’d be more inclined to find IRL friends if I didn’t have my URL buddies to placate me. I mean, without all of you I’d be totally and utterly alone (well almost) and I’d pretty much have to find someone nearby to hang out with. If I’ve taken anything away from this chapter it’s that maybe I need to be trying harder to make friends IRL, even though I don’t know what other avenues to explore.

I wish I had something more positive to say about this chapter. I ache to tell you how awesome finding your tribe can be, but I can’t, because I haven’t. I have met some really wonderful people through my blog and I do now have two amazing friends who don’t live too far away. But I know that when a distance of 30+ minutes separates you and someone you enjoy, you’re not going to see them much even if you’d both love to.

I have found motherhood to be so isolating. I’ve lost or become distant with almost all my childfree friends (and almost all my friends are childfree) and I find it almost impossible to meet and stay connected with other moms. Maybe as Isa get’s older it will become easier. Maybe it will always be this hard. The truth is I really don’t know, I can only hope for a future rich with friends despite a present in which they are sorely lacking.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Why I’m Still Pro-Choice

I want to start this post by saying that I have no desire or intention of starting a pro-life vs. pro-choice debate on my blog. I am writing this post because this was an important issue in my life that required many months of careful consideration and soul searching for me to resolve. I hope that my journey might help other women who feel similarly torn between their need for their miscarriage to be recognized as a loss and their belief in a woman’s right to choose.

I have been considering writing this post for a very long time. A very long time. I knew I needed to write it as soon as I came to a place of peace about this issue. I knew I needed to write it because I walked a long road of reconciliation to accommodate the feelings surrounding my loss with my pro-choice stance. At the same time, I was scared to put myself out there on such a hot button topic because I’m not interested in pro-lifers trying to convert or attack me (though I am interested in hearing their thoughts on this issue). Really I want to share my perspective in case it can help someone facing a similar dilemma. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to actually write the post until someone posted this article on Prompt-ly. I guess it made me want to defend the fact that my miscarriage didn’t weaken my belief in a woman’s right to choose, though I wondered, for a time, if it would.

I have always been pro-choice but the reality is that for many years I didn’t think much about what that meant for me. I didn’t start having sex until I was 24 years old so abortion was something I was absolutely certain I wouldn’t have to consider for a long time. From the moment I determined I was pro-choice (and I can’t remember when that was) I never faltered in my insistence that I would always support a woman’s right to choose. I also never faltered in my belief that I, personally, would probably never elect to have an abortion.

Unless, of course, I were raped or a pregnancy put my health in grave danger or some other unforeseen tragedy became my reality. These (and many more possibilities I’m sure I can’t even fathom) are the reasons I am, and always will be, pro-choice. I can’t imagine taking the option of terminating a pregnancy away from a woman when I have no understanding of that woman’s circumstances. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

I have always been sensitive to pregnancy loss. My mother lost a daughter (my younger sister) in the NICU and then three pregnancies, all stillborn boys. I honored miscarriages as real, very significant losses even before I suffered my own. Then I had my ectopic and my world came crashing down around me; I realized knowing that a loss is significant and experiencing that loss for yourself are very different things. Suddenly I was struck with the reality that my loss, at a mere 6.5 weeks, was utterly devastating. It was the loss a child, my child. If I felt I had lost a child at 6.5 weeks, how could I support women terminating pregnancies much later than that?

I didn’t ask myself that question right away. In fact, I didn’t ask myself that for a long time. A hint of it flittered in and out of my consciousness but I choose to push it aside. I knew I could never tell a women what to do with her body. The thought that I might have to reconcile my sense of loss so early in a pregnancy with my support of a woman’s right to choose to terminate her own pregnancy was something I just wasn’t willing or able to consider

Then something happened that forced me to face the issue. A close friend called me to announce that she was having an abortion. While I won’t recount the details of her situation, I will say that it had a profound effect on me. I assumed that if my friend could make this choice for herself, she could never validate my own loss. And if that were true, did my support of other women making similar choices also dishonor the tragedy I felt I’d endured?

These were very difficult questions I felt incapable of answering on my own. I judged my suffering incomprehensible to my IRL friends and I couldn’t explain my inner turmoil on my blog without betraying a confidant’s trust. In desperation I emailed a few select bloggers I’d befriended and with their help I started walking a path to resolution.

My wise, caring friends helped me see that while there might not be physical differences between the pregnancy I’d lost and the one my friend terminated, they represented very distinct things to each of us. The pregnancy I lost was a potential child, one that was planned and hoped for. One that was loved. For my friend, pregnancy was a biological inevitability, the improbable result of failed birth control. It was not wanted and it was not loved. In fact, it was a problem to be dealt with. That distinction meant a lot.

The other important differentiation was choice. My friend was able to make a choice and I was not. I had no choice. My pregnancy, if allowed to progress would actually have harmed me as it was wedged in my fallopian tube. My pregnancy never had a chance of becoming the baby I so longed for. Being denied the choice of whether my pregnancy would continue further distinguished my loss from my friend’s.

That is the other thing I realized: I viewed my friend’s termination as a loss. I was sad to not meet the child her pregnancy would have produced. I mourned the passing of that would-be person. As a woman who tried for many, many months to achieve a healthy pregnancy, who has followed women on journeys much longer and more painful in search of the same, I believe every pregnancy is a miracle. I know that for many pregnancy is not biological inevitability, but something elusive, to be cherished once it’s attained. And I do believe every beating heart, no matter its size, is wondrous to behold.

I also understand that sometimes not even the greatest of gifts can be accepted. Sometimes a new life cannot be. For so many reasons women may not be able to embrace that possibility. And while I can imagine some of those reasons, I’m gratefully ignorant of others. I’m also ignorant of the emotional turmoil that I’m sure surrounds every decision to terminate a pregnancy. The reality is it doesn’t matter why someone makes that choice or how that choice affects her, what’s important is that she has that choice to make.

It was the fact that I wasn’t given a choice that made my loss so difficult. I wanted to nurture the potential for life inside of me but it was forced out against my will. I was robbed of my choice and it was devastating. I would never rob another woman of her choice when I might not fully appreciate the consequences of being denied such an alternative.

Would that this were a perfect world. Would that all women who so desperately want to get pregnant could, and all women who would hope not to, don’t. Would that it were so, but it is not and it never will be. In the absence of this perfect world I can only hope that we would honor the choice of the women fortunate enough to have it while respecting the anguish of the women who grievously do not.