By Chris Mates
Some months ago I wrote about a documentary that was released in conjunction with Baby Loss Awareness Week. The main message I tried to portray from watching the film was that you have to try to move forward whilst never forgetting your child. As somebody that experienced those tragic events I still believe in that message. In the two-plus years that have gone since my son Joshua passed away my wife Jen and I have worked hard to make sure we came through the other side together.
As a couple we have continuously taken hits in achieving our ultimate goal of having another baby. Since Joshua passed away we have experienced an ectopic pregnancy and failed fertility treatment (IUI). Don’t get me wrong, we have experienced great highs in the years that have passed. We are now married and have enjoyed beautiful city breaks together along the way, but a big part of moving forward was to place great emphasis on getting pregnant again, our ultimate goal as with many is to have a family.
To achieve this we embarked on what we saw as our last chance of getting pregnant. IVF was always a last resort for us due to the invasive nature and the pressure of the whole procedure. Whilst it was worth it in the end you honestly can’t imagine the pain your partner is put through with the daily injections and medication that they have to take. The emotional pressure is huge with the constant knowing feeling that if you fail to get pregnant you face an uncertain future, you can try again or adopt but in the back of your mind there is always the possibility that you may have to change your plans and settle for a life that you weren’t ready to accept.
In our case we were successful, you could say we were the lucky ones. Jen is now 33 weeks pregnant with IVF a near distant memory, so far she is doing very well indeed. Like anybody experiencing pregnancy she has her moments. As I expected she has dealt with it in the same manner that she has with everything she has faced. She is a strong and determined women who has helped me through every step of the way.
I have to admit I have struggled with the experience the second time round, more than I would have expected or like to admit. The feelings of excitement and wanting talk to people about the pregnancy are rare. So much so that a lot of people outside our family and main circle of friends are unaware that Jen is even pregnant. That’s not to say I’m not happy, I’m over the moon with the prospect of becoming a Dad again, I’m just cautious.
The main example of what I’m feeling is not involving myself in the pregnancy as much as Jen would like. She constantly asks if I would like to feel the baby kick or speak/sing to him. It’s something I’m working on – a singing voice as beautiful as mine deserves to be heard. But I know the reasons why. It’s a mix of feeling guilty for moving on from Joshua and not wanting to get too excited that everything may be alright this time. It’s just a slow process. I know I will get there, let’s be honest I have to, the baby will be here with us soon and as with many expecting parents we want to be the best Mum and Dad we can be.
My main take away from this whole experience is that whilst it has been a struggle, we’ve got through everything we have faced, I know I won’t forget Joshua but this baby deserves all the love we can and will give him, he will know of his brother and we will remember him as a family.
The last 33 weeks haven’t been easy for me, but I shouldn’t complain I’m not the one who suffers with sleep deprivation and indigestion. I will take the flack of her mood swings over what Jen is experiencing any day of the week. As a couple we are now realising that this is real and happening, I suspect from watching friends at the weekend with their new born babies that the fun is just about to begin. NCT classes are tonight, I better start listening.