Having been blessed with three children, twins followed by a singleton, the stubborn determination to lose leftover pregnancy kilos is not a foreign concept to me. It’s one I’ve grappled with, raged about, and at times tortured myself over, with every beleaguered step on my well worn treadmill.
But in the years and more recently, months, since becoming mum to three tiny humans, despite firmly believing in the undoubted importance of healthy living, I’ve also come to realise that there are a few things that weigh more heavily on women’s hearts than not being able to squeeze into pre baby denim.
1. The wait
Making a baby seems so easy when you’re trying not to. But when you actually want one? For so many, the word ‘mother’ becomes the most painful one to say.
While I’m there pushing my body to its limits in an attempt to shed the last few kilos of baby weight, you can bet there’s another woman out there cursing her own, wishing desperately to experience the swell of her belly from a growing baby in the first place. I have come to realise that sometimes the type of exercise I really need, is an exercise in perspective.
For so many of those I call friends and loved ones, the wait, has not been the easy few months they imagined when they started trying for a family. The wait, has stretched out to ten months, eleven. Two years, three, five, seven…Tests or procedures. Tablets or injections. Or none of those things. For some, simply just waiting and hoping and trying, and waiting and hoping and trying. And waiting.
Waiting for it to be her announcing a pregnancy, instead of someone, no, everyone else that she’s ever met that is suddenly pregnant while she’s still waiting. Waiting for it to stop tearing her heart out every single time. Waiting until the point when she just gives up trying, but hoping she never has to. Sometimes the heaviest burden to bear is that of the unknown.
For women dreaming of becoming a mother, the endless wait is soul destroying. Not just to conceive, but all that’s in between. Waiting for appointments. Waiting for test results. Waiting to start fertility treatment. The two week wait between possible conception and an expected period. Even the insidious and quietly invasive wait at social functions for some unsuspecting acquaintance to inevitably ask whether a baby is on the horizon. Because someone always asks. And the longer a couple waits for a baby, the more people ask. Until all of a sudden, no one asks anymore. Which somehow, feels almost worse.
And, for the truly lucky ones, when that wait finally becomes a newborn baby in their arms? Well it was worth the wait. And worth the weight.
2. The weight
The weight of a heavy heart after miscarrying.
I think when the medical profession came up with terminology for losing a baby, they made a glaring oversight in the spelling. Maybe nobody noticed, but they left out an s. Because surely the word “miss” should form part of the word miscarriage.
When you lose a baby, a baby you never knew, whether it be very early stages of pregnancy or further along your first trimester and beyond, you miss so much. You miss the baby you never got to know, the baby you never got to meet. The kicks you never felt. Or those you did. The smile you never saw. The little hand that never got to wrap itself around your finger. The little lips you never got to kiss goodnight. You go on, because what else can you do? But you live with the missed opportunity of becoming mummy to that one little human you made. The little human you were so excited about. You miss any small chance you had of not feeling terrified the next time you fall pregnant, that you’ll have to endure missing out on another little life, all over again. You don’t just miscarry, in that moment you lose your unborn baby, you miss everything.
A friend told me that she puts a kiss to signify every member of her family at the bottom of cards and letters she writes, and she adds an extra kiss to represent the little glimmer of life she lost before it could join their world. It struck me, this idea, as a way of honouring the many little kisses you never got to give to a small soul who didn’t have the chance.
So if you see a few extra kisses on your Christmas card from me this year, it’s not only because I love you, it’s because I loved them too.
3. The weights
The weights of my three babies when they entered this world and I held them in my arms for the very first time. These are the weights that matter most.
My jeans can wait.
Love Liv xxxxxxx