Ever since I was little, I couldn’t wait to be a mom. Cliche? Maybe. I started practicing my mom skills to my baby brother when I was still a baby myself. When I was eight, one of my favorite aunts had her first baby. I was more than ready to pitch in with diaper changes and soothing tears. They ended up leaving her with us for a weekend when they went out of town and my parents even set up her crib in my room. When she woke up crying in the middle of the night, I picked her up, rocked her, and placed her back in crib after she fell back asleep. Bottom line, I couldn’t wait until it was my turn to be a mom.
The first time I questioned if I could carry a child was when I went in for my premarital exam. What should have been an ordinary appointment turned into a need for immediate surgery. The doctor had found a cyst that had completely engulfed an ovary and could potentially be threatening. The plan was to remove the cyst and my ovary. Thankfully, the ovary was saved and the cyst removed.
The next time was only a few months later. I started experiencing panic attacks, anxiety, odd thoughts and compulsions. It was later confirmed that I was suffering from a debilitating form of OCD. Being newly married and suffering with mental illness was completely overwhelming. I was told by my mental health professional that I was not capable of taking care of myself and a child at this time. I would need to wait until I could control my OCD instead my OCD controlling me.
“I knew I had a choice to make. A choice we all have to make. Am I going to let this experience destroy me or help me grow?”
A couple years went by and I learned how to cope with my illness and almost returned to a sense of normalcy. Kevin and I both felt were finally at the point where we were ready to start a family. I was so excited. I felt like the trials I had gone through had made me a stronger, more compassionate person. I couldn’t wait to start this next chapter in our life.
After eight months of trying, two positive pregnancy tests that had turned into late periods, and family history of fertility issues, we thought maybe we should get checked out to be on the safe side. We set up an appointment with a fertility doctor who ran a variety of tests. One test showed that I had high values for Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, a clotting disorder that could be resulting in my recurrent miscarriages. However, another test would have to be preformed to confirm. The only issue is that we would have to stop trying to have a baby for four months, which the doctor didn’t want to prescribe just yet. For the time being, he recommended to take a baby aspirin a day and a few vitamins to help with potential clotting.
Two months later, we received our next positive pregnancy test. Kevin and I were excited, but also nervous. We didn’t want to get our hopes up, as if just a whisper would cause the positive to fade away. At our first appointment were able to see our little baby bean on the ultrasound. It was tiny but beautiful. My blood levels were checked and my HCG levels were perfect. Everything seemed to be going well.
On April 21st, right before I hit the seven week mark, we had our next ultrasound. We were so excited to hear the heartbeat. That beautiful heart beat signaling we were in the clear for a healthy pregnancy. That’s when we heard the awful news, there was no heart beat to be found. I felt numb. Confused. Heartbroken. Not me, this shouldn’t be happening. We had to wait five more days to check again, but I knew in my heart that our little baby was gone.
Five days later, at seven and a half weeks, it was confirmed that our precious baby wasn’t viable. I was scheduled for a D & C that same day, and just like that, I was no longer pregnant.
At first I felt broken, then sad. But that sadness quickly turned to pain and anger. I felt so angry! Why do I have to continue going through trial after trial? I felt like I had suffered enough. Why could other couples get pregnant so effortlessly while we couldn’t? I would see people posting photos of their babies with captions: “I’m so grateful God trusted me enough to be his mama” or “God knew I needed you in my life.” I felt, based on these captions, that I obviously wasn’t deserving enough to be a mother. I felt this anger inside of me and it was frightening. I knew I had a choice to make. A choice we all have to make. Am I going to let this experience destroy me or help me grow?
As I prayed fervently to find strength, I began listening to conference talks and motivational speakers. This is what I learned. We can’t always choose the circumstances that happen in our life. I didn’t choose to struggle with mental illness, just like I didn’t choose to have fertility issues. Some things in life just happen. However, we have a choice on how we react to the challenges we face.
“God’s plan for me is different than his plan for others.”
The shortest scripture in the Bible is John 11:35. It simply states, “Jesus wept.” Those two words have offered me incredible insight into the heart of our Savior. He didn’t weep at Lazarus’ grave because he was dead. The Savior knew in a moment he could bring him back to life. He wept when He saw Lazarus’ sisters crying.
Tears touch the heart of our God. Mary’s heart was broken. She was hurting. When Jesus saw her, He wept with her. This great God is touched by our own hurts and broken hearts. These past few weeks I have felt similar emotions of heartbreak, sobbing, and lack of hope. However, I have felt comfort knowing my Savior is shedding tears along with me.
I have to keep the perspective that God’s plan for me is different than his plan for others. I am learning to have courage and faith to celebrate others, even if they are experiencing blessings I so badly want for myself.
I have always wanted to be a mother. I still do. However, right now that dream may be on hold for awhile. As I listened to this talk about finding joy, the speaker talked about achieving our dreams. She said, “when one dream is put on hold, go chase another dream.” I felt like those words were meant for me, and can probably relate to you as well. How many of us have everything we want in life? I have friends that are still looking for a spouse, finishing school, saving for a house, trying to expand their family, etc. We all have dreams we’re working towards, but we can’t put our life on hold in the meantime. We need to move forward and find happiness in the journey.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share these intimate details of our current challenges. My struggles are not something that I often share openly. However, with Mother’s Day approaching, I wanted to bring comfort and an understanding ear to those that may also be struggling with these issues. I have found solace from friends who have or are going through similar trials, and know that I am here for you if you need the support as well.
“Of this be sure: you do not find the happy life…you make it.”
– Thomas S. Monson