When I found out that I was pregnant four weeks ago, I was secretly thrilled. It was my fifth pregnancy. Maybe having four other children means I should have been a little embarrassed about having another baby, placing me firmly into the "crazy lady with a ton of kids" category, but I wasn't.
I took the test at my gym's bathroom for a few different reasons, including the fact that it's really the only place I ever have any privacy and also because I've already taken a pregnancy test in a Wal-Mart bathroom, so I felt like changing things up a bit.
My husband felt the same way I did. We were excited when we had no real reason to be, but he was more hesitant than me. While I was ready to announce to the world the second I found out at 7 weeks, he asked me to rethink announcing anything until we had safely passed the threshold of 12 weeks.
I felt, for the first time, a slow stirring of fear inside of me, a darkness that gripped my soul and paralyzed me with the knowledge that this time might be different.
His words made me take pause and for the first time in any of my pregnancies, I wondered, what if something did go wrong? What if this time, unlike the others, I didn't sail to my due date with the blissful ignorance of those who have never loved and lost? What if this time, I became a woman in the 1 and 4 club?
So I stopped and considered his words. I felt, for the first time, a slow stirring of fear inside of me, a darkness that gripped my soul and paralyzed me with the knowledge that this time might be different. From that moment, something shifted inside of me and in that moment, I think I knew, in some way, what was going to happen.
But still I pressed on. Dwelling on the thought of what could happen, I convinced myself, would only make something bad happen. Focusing on the good, I told myself, the fact that I had done this four times already, the fact that I had morning sickness and all the symptoms, would ensure that everything would be OK.
So we told our children at my 2-year-old daughter's birthday party. I wrapped up a special present and wrote out a poem and my sister recorded the moment my kids unwrapped their sister's new gift: a brand-new baby brother or sister! The moment breaks my heart now and I'm not sure I will ever be able to watch that video ever again. It's buried in my phone's camera roll forever, a heartbreaking reminder of the excitement and love that will never materialize.
My husband was still hesitant when I told other people after our kids—my family, my best friends, some of my "school mom" friends who I knew I couldn't keep a secret this big from. But I assured him of my symptoms, assured him that my morning sickness was a good sign, and most of all, I assured him that should anything happen, I would need the support of those I told anyway. What did I have to hide when we would love this baby no matter what?
I didn't know how I would come to feel the full weight of those words.
I lost my pregnancy near 9 weeks—a week after my daughter's birthday, a week after we had gathered the family we loved and told them the news. And I have been left racked with the guilt for dragging them into my pain, into my swirling circle of darkness. I have doubted telling my children, who are too young to understand why Mama keeps crying, who only know what we have told them, that we are so sorry but we were wrong and we aren't having a baby after all.
But as much as I have wondered if I did the right thing, as many times as I have lamented why on earth I thought I had the right to expect that everything would be OK for me, I have also felt incredibly grateful that I did tell them.
Because honestly? I don't think I could have gotten through this without them.
The amount of support and love and messages and women who have walked this path before me have carried me. The women who have reached out to me, who have sent me poems and songs and pictures and so, so much love I can't even begin to express it, have saved me.
So I might wonder if I did the right thing by telling people about my pregnancy and I might live with that guilt forever. But today?
Today I don't regret telling them, because I am so very grateful I don't have to carry this pain alone.