pregnancy

"It’s not your fault, but I hated you." When it feels like everyone's pregnant, except you.

When you are trying to conceive it can feel like everyone you know or see on your Instagram feed is cradling a perfect pregnant bump. Yet for thousands of Australian women, getting pregnant is not something that just happens. It can take months or years, and the journey is not always straightforward.

In a series of stories exploring fertility, Mamamia chats to women, couples and experts about what it means to struggle to conceive.

Watch the trailer for Mamamia’s new podcast, Get Me Pregnant, where hosts Rachel Corbett and Leigh Campbell talk all things pregnancy and fertility. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

This post deals with miscarriage and might be triggering for some readers.

It’s not your fault. But I hate you.

Not you as a person, not you with the swollen stomach and the beautiful glow. Not you who held my hand and asked me if there was anything you could do after the first, second and even third loss. Not you who I share most of my childhood memories with. Not you who I share a desk with. Not you who I politely share lunch with.

No. Not you.

I hate the you that I wish was me. I hate the reality of all that I’ve lost.

2019. The year I turned 26 (my favourite number), so therefore, of course, it was destined to be my best year yet. We were newly married, I’d been promoted and we were living our best life. Next box to be ticked: a sibling for our daughter.

Something I thought would be as simple as the first time, as easy as cooking toast in the morning.

I was naïve (I hate that girl too if it’s any consolation).

Three months into trying and I was frustrated that I was still waiting for the elusive BFP (‘Big Fat Positive’ for those of you not in the know).

And then one day, it finally came. I was away for the weekend with friends which enabled me to devise an elaborate way to tell my husband that our three was about to become four.

I gathered a box, some strategically worded cards to give some clues, and concealed the tiny booties, romper and positive test hiding in the bottom.

I raced home to see his face and my daughter’s glow with happiness and pride. As I redecorated our nursery, in my mind I gushed about how nice it would be to have a spring baby.

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I pulled out my daughter’s old clothes and began sorting through them: would it be a boy or girl? Would it look like me? Oh and names!! I was in my newly pregnant bubble and I couldn’t float any higher.

Little did I know this would be the last time I would be in early pregnancy and elated.

teegan
Teegan with her husband and daughter. Image: Supplied.

Looking back, I think it was the worst loss. It was so wanted, so pined for and we were SO ready. So optimistic. It made the fall that much harder. I cried all the way home after the ultrasound. My daughter, sensing something was very wrong, cried all the way, too. I could barely hear her cries above my own heartache.

Then, we fell pregnant again straight away. There was no celebration this time, just tense anticipation. And fear. Lots of fear.

But it wasn’t to be. Again. This time we’d seen a heartbeat and I was searching “how fast does a heartbeat need to be to be a viable pregnancy” in 20 different ways, five different languages and morse code.

No matter which way you looked at it though, her heart wasn’t strong enough. We found out it was a little girl after I’d had a D&C.

There was nothing wrong with her, just that she’d basically stopped growing. Which was apparently a good thing? At the time, I was unsure of how they’d got to that conclusion.

During this incredibly painful time, my three sisters all fell pregnant along with one of our good friends. The first sister who told me was about six weeks in front of my first pregnancy (for the year), and how overjoyed I’d been knowing we would be on maternity leave together and growing our babies together.

The second sister I found out about a few weeks after that loss. Having had her own traumatic time getting pregnant, I was nothing but happy for her.

By the time my third sister announced her pregnancy, I’d lost three babies in 18 months, undergone surgery and been told there was nothing wrong with me, my husband or our babies - it was just bad luck.

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I was twisted with bitterness and the world had become very angular and threatening. I knew they had plans to start trying and I knew there was every chance the news was coming at some point.

Listen to Mamamia's new pregnancy podcast, Get Me Pregnant. In this episode, hosts Rachel and Leigh chat to fertility specialist, Manuela Toledo. Post continues below.

I was sitting at my desk three weeks after the surgery when my phone chimed. My third sister. We texted regularly so this was not out of the ordinary.

However, the text appeared to have been sent to a bigger group.

“Hi, just thought I’d let you guys know that we are expecting a baby 1st of February. We’re very excited.” Then a picture of an ultrasound and a tiny baby sitting inside.

At first I was perplexed. This is the tiny screen I’d been staring at for the last four months watching a tiny, empty sac float around that was the remainder of my dead babies. How could she have a picture of a baby in hers? Didn’t she know that it was ME who was supposed to have the picture of a baby?

I felt a cold sword of ice enter through my stomach and drive through my heart into my throat. I very, very, very rarely show my emotions, especially in a public setting, but the tears came out thick and fast and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was choking.

All the pain I’d been avoiding swept over me like a tsunami and I was suddenly drowning. I sat in my car for what felt like hours, weeping. I was so angry at her. And I didn’t want to be. I wanted to be happy for her, I did, but I felt this unbearable rage.

This is what I want you to know, my sister.

I did avoid going anywhere that you were, after that. Not just because I didn’t want to see you, but because I didn’t want you to see the pain in my eyes that I was trying so desperately to hide behind a smile.

I was worried if you looked too close, you’d be afraid of what you saw in my eyes – anger, loathing, disdain.

When I did see you, I avoided talking about the pregnancy or babies, which I knew you could sense, and you would avoid it, too. When forced, I would try to ask about names, nursery colours or how you were feeling. But my throat would contract and I felt like I was suffocating all over again.

I avoided you because your husband was standing there admiring you while mine was avoiding eye contact or gently squeezing my hand under the table. I avoided you because your son was holding your belly and saying “baby” while my daughter would innocently look up at me and ask where her baby sister was.

It's not your fault, but I hated you.

I avoided you because you were a reflection of everything I had lost. You were me, in another world, at a different time that I was struggling to let go of.

Feature image: Supplied/Teegan Riddle.

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637.

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