Wow. Life has certainly changed for us in the last few weeks. I’ve recently returned to work after three and a half years of being a full-time Mum. There’ve been some big changes to our schedule and some big changes in routine for Birdy. But for me, the biggest changes have been the psychological ones.
Not only am I no longer defined by my parenting role (“What do you do?” “I’m a full-time Mum.”) but for the first time in five years we’re NOT trying for a baby (or as the parenting blogs put it TTC – trying to conceive). This has required a massive shift in my thinking.
For those who aren’t familiar with my backstory, we started trying for our first baby almost exactly five years ago. It took us about a year to get pregnant and nine months later, our little girl Birdy was born without a hitch. A year later, we decided to try for number two. We fell pregnant straight away but discovered at eight weeks that the pregnancy hadn’t progressed. That was five miscarriages ago now. In the past two years numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 have all come and gone. As you can imagine, just dealing with this situation has almost been a full-time occupation for my husband and I.
Last week, I saw a renowned miscarriage specialist and heard an explanation of unexplained recurrent miscarriage that totally changed my perspective. Rather than being a result of the body being unable to carry a baby to term, repeated missed miscarriages may be the result of the body hanging on too long. That is, it’s completely normal for a large number of fertilized embryos to be abnormal. In most people, these embryos are spontaneously aborted before you even know about it. In recurrent miscarriage sufferers, the body’s quality control filter may be set too high – meaning abnormal pregnancies are allowed to progress for longer than they should. In this case, achieving a successful pregnancy is just a numbers game… if you have the endurance to keep playing.
After our last traumatic miscarriage in March this year, my husband and I knew we were close to throwing in our hand. Landing my new job in May cemented that decision, for now. I still hope that one day we will try again, but for now, we’re just getting used to the idea of not being pregnant any time soon.
But that’s not the end of the story. After my last miscarriage I felt an overwhelming sense of despair at the idea that I would never again have another child. And that convinced me of one thing. I’m not ready to give up. Even though I can’t face the anxiety of another pregnancy right now, I definitely want more children. So that leaves one obvious course of action: Adoption.
Cautiously, prayerfully, hopefully we are considering whether there might be a little baby out there somewhere who might become part of our family one day.
If we choose to go down that road, I know it will be a long and sometimes painful journey. But it’s been a long and painful journey anyway. Maybe adopting could be the light at the end of the tunnel.