All my life, I've operated under the impression that having kids is quite simple. (Not the actual act of childbirth, mind you. I'm not quite that naive.) Step 1.) Find husband. Step 2.) Have sex with husband. Step 3.) Nine months later, pop out a beautiful baby.
For me, step one was only marginally easy. I may have had a minor panicky thought around age 26 or 27 that I might never get married. That I might end up the one all my friends' kids would call Aunt Jen, and who had a lot of cats. Or worse - birds. But I did find a guy who, quite surprisingly, really, wanted to marry me.
Not surprisingly, step two was also easy. Step two, subcategory A - actually orchestrating a meeting between husband's spermatozoa and my ovum, could have presented a far greater challenge, but the meeting went off without a hitch and Presto! Pregnant.
I was enthralled with the idea that my uterus had a function, other than every 29 days causing me untold pain and suffering and generally behaving as if it was in the throes of end-stage Ebola virus. It was incubating a human, one that would ostensibly grow into said beautiful baby.
At almost ten weeks, after we'd announced to everyone and their uncle's step-cousin that we were expecting, I started cramping and bleeding, went to the hospital and was told, in no uncertain terms, that this was a miscarriage. I was completely devastated and felt (perhaps unnecessarily) embarrassed that we had announced to all and sundry about the baby not three days before, and now we were left with nothing. It was all erased, like a roll of film you'd accidentally exposed to light.
As of now, this has happened two more times. I, perspicaciously, didn't announce to one and all either of the following times and only told a few close friends and our families about my pregnancies. This way I didn't have to untell quite as many people. It has been difficult and trying and quite nearly soul-destroying.
When I see women who have been impregnated when their husbands have barely sneezed lightly in their direction, and then nine months later they pop out their own beautiful baby, it becomes maddening to me. I've feared greatly for the safety of our computer because when I see a six week old embryo on an ultrasound picture, proudly displayed on my newsfeed, I want to shriek with the unfairness of it all. I also want to tell the uninformed woman that six weeks is way too early to announce and that you might be setting yourself up for a terrible disappointment.
As I have experienced these miscarriages and the trials and tribulations of reproduction, people come out of the woodwork with similar stories. Suddenly people everywhere have had miscarriages and now that I was part of the club, they made this known to me, whereas before they never mentioned it. It seems as though infertility and repeat pregnancy loss are taboo subjects that shouldn't be discussed in polite company. I don't think this should be. One out of every five pregnancies ends in miscarriage. It's not anyone's fault that they have fertility issues. Things happen and life is hard, but no one brings these things on themselves. Part of the reason I'm writing this, aside from the act of writing being therapeutic to me, is to bring this issue to light. Granted, probably only five people will ever read this, but maybe one of the five (one in five, remember?) will benefit from my experience and not feel so alone.