Written by Kathleen Cocozzo
In the midst of the mess that is our world today, there were two conversations I was hoping to avoid this summer. Politics and Pregnancy. Do not ask me my political views and do not ask me why I’m not pregnant yet. I neither need nor want your unsolicited opinion.
After coming to the realization that I cannot possibly avoid both of those conversations – I’ve decided to choose which one I want to talk about. I figured this way, I’ll be able to keep at least some bit of control in my conversational life.
I want to talk to you about pregnancy.
I am a planner – to a fault. It’s part of my obsession with being in control. I am OK with that, and so is my husband. It’s always “worked” for everything in my life – I planned out where I’d go to school so that I was able to follow my choice of my planned career path. I planned out who I was going to marry and how I’d marry him. I planned out where we’d live, what our life would look like. It’s always worked – except for this.
I planned to have a “Spring 2017 Baby.” Super chic, but I purposely chose a career in education so that I could plan out how I’d build my family with my husband. A spring baby would afford me maternity leave that would overlap with summer break which would guarantee that when I’d return to teaching in September, my baby would be at least five months old. What a great plan. A great plan that hasn’t been working.
I unexpectedly conceived this past winter, and miscarried in January. My doctor said I would have to wait two months for my body to heal from the miscarriage before we started trying again. I was sad – but this was “OK” – because I could still be on track with my original “plan.” So we started actively trying for a baby again come the end of April – knowing that it wouldn’t happen immediately, but hopefully that it wouldn’t take much time given how quickly I was able to get pregnant before.
Of course I was sad that I had miscarried and I still thought about it when we began trying again – but I knew that it was so common, so I allowed my educated brain to take over the pain I was feeling in my heart. But it doesn’t help when someone says, “It’s much more common than you think. You’ll be fine.” It’s not comforting. So stop offering that as a word of sympathy because they cause more sadness and anger.
With every monthly period came more disappointment and grief. I’m young. I am healthy (thank God). Why wasn’t this “working?” I followed the doctor’s instructions. I listened to what all of my apps told me to do (because my iPhone is the smartest). My friends reassured me (without being asked to), that since I had conceived so easily before, I’ll get pregnant again right away. But they were wrong – and all that has done, is cause some sense of false hope for me.
My mother had a very difficult time getting pregnant when my parents were trying to start a family. It got to the point where she had to see specialists so, of course, this is now always in the back of my mind. What if this isn’t working and I have to see a “special” doctor? Every day I hear from people, “Just relax.” “You’re over thinking it and stressing yourself out.” “Just enjoy it.” Enjoy it? Enjoy what? The disappointment of “trying” so hard to accomplish something and not being able to accomplish it? They typically continue with, “You haven’t even been trying for THAT long,” which they think makes me feel better. It doesn’t. But by far the worst thing I hear is, “Aren’t you so glad that you weren’t pregnant for that wedding/vacation/charity function/that really hot summer day?” No. I’m not glad. I want to be pregnant for all of those things.
I’m bothered by this whole experience. Something that I am supposed to be “enjoying,” has been making me miserable because I don’t know! I don’t know why I’m not pregnant yet. Yes, I am trying almost everyday. Yes, I am tracking my periods and my ovulation. Yes, I am peeing on a stick every damn morning to find out when my LH surge is. Yes, I’m taking prenatal vitamins every day and increasing my folic acid intake. I’ve even started taking other “natural” pregnancy helpers. Yes – I am doing everything I’m supposed to be doing. So I’m confused. Because if I was able to conceive so easily before without all of these things, why can’t I now?
I think what’s bothering me the most is that I don’t have an answer for this. My “planning” isn’t working – so I feel like I’ve lost my control over the situation. For the first time in my life I’ve said, “Screw the plan.” I just want a healthy baby. I don’t care when, or how – so long as it happens. It’s caused unwanted resentment inside of me when I see other couples on Facebook getting pregnant, especially if it was unplanned. I am happy for them, but so sad for myself and that I could possibly feel this way. A lot of the women in my life, women that I am very close to, are very career driven and would be OK without ever having children. I commend them for that but they don’t understand my frustration – because for my entire life, the only thing I’ve ever wanted was to be someone’s mom.
I like having structure. I love having (a healthy amount of) control and power over mostly everything I do in life – but I cannot control this and it sucks. I’ve always been an advocate for “if you want something, work hard for it,” so I’ve worked hard for everything I have today. With this – no matter how hard I work for it, I still have no control.
For everyone asking – here’s my final PSA – no, I’m not pregnant yet; please stop asking me why (I don’t know why). Please, stop asking me if I’m trying “enough” (I am). Please, stop asking me if I’m eating the right foods or taking the right vitamins or tracking my cycle correctly (because I promise you I’m doing all of that). Please, stop asking me, and other women, about things that have nothing to do with you – because your questions and unsolicited advice and opinions don’t serve as words of “comfort” or “encouragement” for us. They just remind us that, at this moment, we aren’t achieving what we’re trying so hard to achieve. And being reminded of that sucks. What worked for your best friend’s cousin’s wife probably won’t work for me. And finally, yes, I will let you know the moment it happens – because it will happen. I won’t accept “failure.” Until then – stop asking me when I’m going to have a baby, because I don’t know the answer to that.