I’m sorry I haven’t posted for a while. I’m sorry because I have so much I still want to say (so much I still need to work through), but I haven’t made the time to write. Or maybe I’ve avoided it.
As many of you were aware, my husband and I had been going through the gestational surrogacy process. I am now pleased to report that we are the proud parents of an 8-month-old baby girl.
I am overflowing with words on the experience of her birth, the surrogacy journey, and the transition to parenthood. But I’m also not done sharing or working through everything it took to get us here.
I don’t intend for this to turn in to a mommy-blog, but I also cannot avoid my current context or keep it from influencing my outlook on the future or reflections on the past. Moreover, recurrent pregnancy loss undoubtedly affected my parenting experience, and I think it’s important to discuss that.
I know there may be some readers who are still struggling through infertility and loss. If you need to stop reading, please do. You won’t hurt my feelings at all. I know your pain well.
My sensitivity to past my triggers is acute, so much so in fact, that I almost didn’t post a birth announcement on my social media feeds. When I was going through my losses, I found birth posts distressing, and I didn’t want to cause similar unease for others. In the end I did announce her birth on Instagram and Facebook. Having been open about our journey and our decision to pursue gestational surrogacy, I decided it was more disingenuous to hide the truth. But as it stands, I haven’t posted anything about my daughter since her birth announcement.
I’m not entirely sure why. There still is sensitivity around not wanting to share images that will cause others pain. But I also feel a strange desire to protect my former self and former identity – as if by not transitioning my social feed, I’m keeping that version of myself in some sort of pre-parent time capsule.
For years, having a baby was the primary objective of my life – the goal around which all other goals were organized – and grief was the primary theme. Grief was my filter for life; it became the explanation and justification for everything.
This experience altered me. In some unexpected ways it served me. It made me humbler. More compassionate. It motivated me to leave a job that was unfulfilling and fueled me to start Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Association. I found a community. I found my voice. I know I need to change my filter, but it’s not quite as simple as changing my outlook, it’s changing my perception of myself. Perhaps this is akin to a someone getting remarried? They transition from “divorcee” or “widow” to “bride” and “wife.” But it’s not like the past gets washed away.
I think part of me is afraid to release my pain. I don’t have anything from my pregnancies. I didn’t keep ultrasound images or pregnancy tests. I don’t have burial plots or keepsakes. If I completely let go of my grief, I worry there will be no record of what I went through. No proof. At least no proof that anyone but me would recognize.
This yearning to hold on is elicited (for me) by the final stanza of E. E. Cummings’ poem I Carry Your Heart with Me.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Because in the end, who will remember my pregnancies but me? Even if they were only imaginings, they were mine. For Christmas last year I bought myself a gift – a necklace. It has six, intertwined golden rings surrounding a peridot – our daughter’s birth stone. The six rings are for my six pregnancies. I carry them with me (I carry them in my heart)… and around my neck.