Recently, several women have confided in me that, much to their surprise, they are pregnant. Each of these women is a member of the ALI community. In the midst of their news, the Huffington Post published an article (you can read an excerpt here) about miracle pregnancies after infertility treatments.
If you would have asked me a year ago how I would feel if I got pregnant after failed infertility treatments, whether this pregnancy would occur before or after our adoption, I would have told you "overjoyed." Isn't that what we are supposed to feel after years of failure? We're supposed to be happy for this gift - this miracle of life that is so unexpected.
If you were to ask my now how I would feel if I experienced a surprise pregnancy, I would have a much different reaction.
Part of me would be terrified that it wouldn't work. I've spent years being told that my reproductive system doesn't work properly. That I have a disease which attacks perfectly healthy cells. It wouldn't be easy to spend nine months on "Cloud 9" thinking that everything will turn out perfectly. All of us who've been through infertility and loss know better. We know not only the statistics about our own bodies, but we've watched other members of our community struggle first hand.
The other part of me might be a little angry. I'm not supposed to be pregnant, I would think. When you spend as much time as we do thinking that your life will turn out one way, and it suddenly takes a much different direction, it's easy to feel disappointment or frustration. Add on to that the fact that doctors have most likely told you pregnancy is "impossible," and it's understandable why you wouldn't necessarily be overjoyed at the news. Instead, you'd be looking for a different doctor!
Before, when I wanted to carry a baby so badly I could hardly see straight, I would have accepted anything handed to me. However, when I came to the realization that I was okay with not getting pregnant, I began to see why not every pregnancy was as joyful as outsiders wanted it to be. The article in the Huffington Post paints, for the most part, this beautiful picture of what these surprise pregnancies should feel like. Sadly, for some women, the reality is much different. Yes, it's a happy time. It's also a scary and confusing time - one that will need to be navigated with the help of a support system who understands the concerns these mothers-to-be have about their health and their unexpected change in family dynamics.
I know that each of these women will be absolutely amazing mothers. Two of them are already parenting children who are going to make wonderful older siblings. But I also understand their fears. I can't imagine what it's like to be in their shoes, yet I know that each of them will be okay. They are incredibly strong women who have made it through the worst in infertility and loss. If they can get through that, they can handle any other obstacle that comes their way.