Uju, 34


That’s the number of times I have been pregnant.
The number of times I have seen those 2 lines on the pregnancy stick test.
The number of times I have shouted out for joy and told my husband “God has done it o”.
The number of times I have gone through morning sickness, the smell of even the slightest thing making my tummy queasy.
It’s the number of times my belly has swollen, growing to accommodate the life inside of me.
The number of times I have felt the little flutters in my belly. Quickening as it is called. Signs that my baby is moving.

That is also the number of times I have lost my babies.

“Miscarriage” they call it. Mis– meaning false or wrong. Like I wasn’t supposed to carry it at all. Or I carried it wrongly.
But It was real to me. It was right to me. All those 7 times.
Each time was worse than the last. Until I started to get numb. Refusing myself to feel the excitement of being pregnant. Knowing it was going to happen again. Knowing my womb was just teasing me.
And every time I find myself questioning. Questioning every single thing.

Did I eat the wrong thing? Did I work too hard? Should I have quit my job? Should I have eaten more vegetables? Did I tell the wrong person?

So many questions, so few answers.

It’s hard not to be bitter. Hard not to be angry. Harder not to be jealous.
I go to the hospital and see women with their bellies swollen, complaining about the heaviness of being 9 months pregnant. The swollen feet, the shortness of breath, the back ache, the frequent peeing…

Or parents of newborns complaining about the lack of sleep, the constant crying, the disruption a child brings to ones life.
I hear these stories and as much as I try not to, a pang of jealousy hits me.

I want to have these kind of complaints too.
And after the jealousy comes the guilt.

Am I not supposed to be happy for people so my own will come?

4 of those pregnancies were from IVF cycles. The torture of the process, the many needles, the endless visits to the clinics, the emotional ups and downs of hormonal therapy, the financial strain.
Then finally a pregnancy. Only for me to lose it after a few weeks.
Like God is teasing me. Testing me. Testing my faith. Testing my resolve.
It’s really hard not to feel like a failure. Hard not to feel like it is all my fault. Like somehow I am doing something wrong.

It’s hard not to feel betrayed by my body and it’s harder not to feel betrayed by God.

And then there’s the expectation that I maybe cry in my closet for a few days, but then move on.
I have to wear the mask of someone who is happy, A strong woman. Someone who is handling things with faith.
I have to pretend that nothing just happened to me. Like my world didn’t just crash to the deepest trough after reaching a beautiful climax.
I am expected to smile and laugh, and hold conversations.
I am expected to keep it to myself, because nobody ever really talks about it.
We all just keep moving on.

The world keeps moving on.

It’s hard.

It’s hard to be happy.

It’s hard to live when the one thing you want most in the world eludes you.

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