Hope is a weed because it creeps into the dark places. It’s resilient. Persistent.
It still feels strange to say “I’m pregnant”. Especially out loud.
My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for close to three years now. What started out as a fun exercise quickly became a series of setbacks and disappointments. We experienced miscarriages, I had surgery for endometriosis and we went through three rounds of unsuccessful IVF that saw 48 tiny embryos never become our children.
We eventually decided to call it a day on assisted fertility and come to terms with a future which had just the two of us in it.
Our last ditch effort was to try a drug (called Letrozole) which may have had a positive impact on fertility, but with my other reproductive issues we weren’t too hopeful, and started the healing process of moving on at the same time.
And then I fell pregnant. Quite quickly, too.
And every daydream I’d had about it happening was filled with overwhelming joy. Every movie I’d seen or story I’d read told me that I would feel nothing but pure happiness and excitement.
But I didn’t.
I felt fear.
I felt guilt.
I felt like a fraud.
I felt fearful of losing another baby because I knew I was so close to breaking point. I felt fearful of causing pain to my parents again when they saw me hurting. I feared every day because I was convinced that it would be the day there would be no heartbeat and I would miscarry.
I felt guilt simply because I was pregnant. Because my close friend who was on the same infertility journey as me – her’s much longer and more painful – was still not pregnant. I felt guilty for possibly getting to take a baby home soon when what I’d been through was nowhere near as bad as what other women had endured.
I felt like a fraud because I had spoken publicly through my blog about not experiencing a happy ending. I’d been explicitly open about our fertility journey not ending with a baby and about how important it was to tell stories that simply ended – no rainbow or pretty bow around the package. Now here I was, maybe getting that rainbow, and that made me feel like a liar and like all my words prior were now insincere.
But I also felt hope. Not excited or even happy, but hopeful.
I said in my blog that ‘hope is a weed’, and many people interpreted that to be a bad thing, but it’s not. Hope is a weed because it creeps into the dark places. It’s resilient. Persistent. Oftentimes hope doesn’t take no for an answer, and despite attempts to kill it off hope will quietly, silently keep you alive.
Today I am 20.5 weeks pregnant.
There, I said it. And I’m so frightened, grateful and hopeful.
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Leigh Campbell is Mamamia's Executive Editor. After a long stint as the beauty director of Cosmopolitan Leigh went on to become Head of Lifestyle at HuffPost Australia. At Mamamia she oversees the whole editorial offering but still writes about her favourite stuff - fashion, food, wellness, travel, homewares and of course, beauty. She's also the host of the beauty podcast, You Beauty. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.