Milestones are a slap in the face when you aren’t reaching them in the way you expected to be. Whether from a failed cycle or a loss, baby related or otherwise, they can really take you under a wave of grief when you thought you were doing a good job of pretending to be just fine.
The thing is, many of us are expected to grieve quickly and move on. But it isn’t always, or ever, that easy. There is no cure or pain relief for milestone events such as birthdays, anniversaries or Christmases when the one you want to celebrate with is no longer here, or in my case, was never here at all.
I spoke a little about reaching what would have been the date of my 20-week scan, and since then really I suppose I have learnt to stop counting the weeks and ignore the milestones associated with pregnancy. However, with my would be due date three weeks away, it’s getting harder and harder to carry on without acknowledging it.
Buying our first home and moving into it has been a fantastic distraction, but as we feel more settled and the place feels like home a quiet sadness is creeping in again. Work is no longer a safe place to busy my mind and put aside emotion, as I find myself sitting at my desk with echoes of ‘I should be on maternity leave’ throbbing in my head.
I can’t imagine how I’m going to handle the actual date. I don’t know if we should try to mark it in some way, or if I can just give myself permission to treat it like any other day. In reality I suppose the due date wouldn’t very likely have ended up being the baby’s actual birthday. On the other hand, it’s all I’ve got.
Will anyone else remember that date besides us? Should I tell people about it, or would it upset them too? Would they question why I keep bringing it up? Why I’m not ‘over it’ already? Will people understand why it means so much? Should we make plans and be super busy on the day so it goes quickly? Or should I take the day off and give myself over to the grief?
I think all I can do is take each day in the run up as it comes and try to be honest, with myself mostly, about the many ways in which it hurts. If everything goes to plan, we will be mid-way through our second cycle of ivf by the time the due date comes. I think I will try to focus on how incredibly grateful I am to have been given another chance, and to remember how wonderful it felt to be an expectant mummy for that short time.