At church on Sunday, the pastor asked the congregation to participate in talking and thinking through the story of Jesus calming the storm in Matthew. I wasn’t able to offer anything out loud without ugly crying in public, something I try to avoid, but I listened. It all resonated. Someone said storms in your life are scary because you don’t know they’re coming, they just appear. Another person said they’re difficult because you don’t know how long they will last or what the outcome will be. And at the end, our pastor told a story about taking his daughter to get her flu shot. Before they left they talked about being brave. He said that she cried a little and after the appointment she said she hadn’t been brave. He went on to talk about how it’s not just one or the other…that you can cry and be brave. Which sounded so much like trying to get pregnant again.
In order to even contemplate trying again, you have to have some level of bravery. You’ve been out on that ledge, and you know how it can end. You question all of your decisions…is this the month you should start, or should you wait? Do you take medication that has no proven benefit just in case, or not? Should you make the husband change the cat litter just in case…Would anything you did change the outcome?
But thinking about trying again is also joy. For me, I’m getting excited again about all the baby things, even the things that remind me we’ve been here before…the registry I made, the paint color we chose (Ewing Blue!), the baby carriers we bought (a Tula and a ring sling, in case anyone cares).
It’s also fear. So much fear it sometimes takes your breath away . You know you’ll have to experience all the days and hours and minutes of early pregnancy when you’re wondering whether this one will stick. You know you’ll have to pass those awful milestones…week 5 when you lost the second baby, week 9 when you had that ultrasound with the blob and no heartbeat, or week 10 when you had the D&C. And you know how long it’s going to take until you feel like you’re safe…you might never get to that point.
When people ask if we’re going to try again, they do it with a smile and an expectant look. I’ve never minded the question as I’m a pretty open person, but I feel like I disappoint people when I can’t mirror their excitement. I’d love for there to be an easy, happy answer, to say it all ends with us having a healthy baby and living happily ever after. But we are not there yet. And so for now, you do what you can. You chart your cycles. You buy a million pregnancy tests (thank you, Amazon). You add baby names to your list. You hold onto hope as tightly as you can, and in the moments when you can’t, you remember you can cry and still be brave.