This post is about me trying to release my iron fist grip on 'having to have control over my life'.
I have always needed the comfort and safety of having total control of my life. I'm a little type A that way. I generally strive to do my best, to achieve the goals I set out, to make sure I don't forget important things and to honour all of my commitments. I know I'm not alone in this. I'm probably like millions of other people out there. I like to have things work out the way I planned them.
My pregnancy with Aidan did not fit my plan.
First of all, as I'm sure all pregnant women do, I planned on having a living baby. My job taught me that while that is not always the case, it is generally a pretty good bet that after a certain point in pregnancy most women are on the greener side of "having baby!". Brian and I, sadly, got stuck on the small brown, crunchy, burnt-out patch of grass. With Aidan, all we got to do was peer over the fence at the chubby babies and happy families on the other side. So close...and yet so far...
However, other parts of my pregnancy did not go as expected either. For one, it took us longer to get pregnant than I had originally 'planned'. I figured 3-4 months of trying, then it 'should' happen. It seemed somehow important that it occur that way because other couples we know got pregnant within their first month or two of trying. Like somehow if they could just 'try' and 'achieve', then it should be that way for us too. I got a teeny tiny taste of what having infertility would be like in the 8 months it took us to conceive Aidan...and let me tell you people, it is NO JOKE. It's awful feeling like a failure month after month. To have your 'plans' of 'getting pregnant by such and such a date' just blow right on past. To have your hopes washed down the toilet, quite literally, each month.
I also did not plan to spend 12 weeks of my pregnancy on bed rest. I had considered that I might need to 'slow down' during pregnancy due to my heart defect...but I in no way expected I would be vegging on the couch before my 'baby bump' came in, before my back hurt, before I had finished with the nausea of the first trimester. I've never watched so many hours of TV consecutively in my life. I felt my body 'de-healthifying' moment by moment.
Aidan's train wreck of a pregnancy and devastating early birth/death is a big freakin' neon sign screaming out the realization "YOU ARE NOT ALWAYS IN CONTROL". And, as much as I feel like screaming back "I AM TOO!!" in a fit of toddler style rage, my inner adult conscientiousness must concur, "Emily, you are most definitely not in control. If you were, Aidan would still be here".
So, with this in mind, I'm doing my best to try to 'let go'. To admit to myself that while I can plan and work hard for some things in life, there is much that I must leave up to chance. That my future, contrary to what popular culture would have you believe "If you can dream it, you can achieve it", isn't always up to me. I'm going to try to 'go with the flow' more, and not worry so much about planning everything out to perfection. It is a little frightening to view my life this way...that while a certain percentage of 'achievement' comes from hard work and planning, a not insignificant amount also comes from pure dumb luck.
So, first and most important on my 'letting go list' is for Brian and I to, for at least a year: Spend No Effort Either Avoiding Or Actively Trying to Conceive'.
For both our sanities I hope to be able to stick to this one. I don't want to avoid getting pregnant but I'm not going to try to either. For financial reasons, it would be best for me NOT to get pregnant any earlier than August or September of this year. But if we 'waited' until it was financially the 'best' time to get pregnant then I would want it to happen right away as soon as we started trying. Just like how I felt after we got home from Europe last year and it was 'baby making time' . I don't want it to be 'baby making time' anymore. If it happens soon...great...if it doesn't I'm going to do my best to not stress about it and just see it as more time to spend with my memories of Aidan.
There are tons of websites and advice books out there that say to wait 'at least' x number of months before trying again or some such nonsense. Physically, I was told by my cardiologist that a 'waiting' period for my heart wouldn't make a difference. This makes sense. My heart will always be different and cause for concern during pregnancy...it won't be any 'less' of a concern in a few months or years from now. As for the reproductive parts of my body, I'm guessing they will be ready only when they are ready and not before. Can't rush it, can't delay it. Out of my hands.
Mentally, as Brian so aptly realized in the days after Aidan died, we will never be in the 'before Aidan' pregnancy mindset again. There is no going back. As Brian said "if you told me in 10 years that you were pregnant again, I would still fear that something would go wrong". We will never be 'over' Aidan, so setting a time to start 'trying' again would feel as if we were somehow limiting our time to grieve him.
I never really understood people's fondness for 'turning it over to a higher power'. Number one, I'm not sure any higher power out there really cares one way or the other about our problems. Number two, in my previous mindset, to do so was risking failure. Unless you worked hard for things and attempted to plan, how could you be sure you would get what you wanted? Well people, I have visited the other side, and I'm here to tell you, NO amount of planning can help you avoid dead baby land.
So here I am, letting go. Although I will always have a child that exists solely in the land of the lost, I hope too to one day have a child that I can tuck into bed at night, that I can wrap my arms around in a hug, that I can watch grow up. But, I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I cannot plan when or if that will happen. I can do what I can to make that happen...but I cannot force it, I cannot will it, and most importantly I cannot worry about it. I must give that up. And maybe, slowly, I will be okay with that.