You Are What You Think: What My Miscarriage Has Proven to Me Once Again
Honey, shall we watch a movie tonight?
Sure, darling. Pick whichever one you like.
Okay, let’s watch The 6th Sense then.
Oh boy. Bruce Willis was dead! I didn’t see that coming.
What? Bruce Willis was dead‽
It’s incredible how often we can become disconnected from the present. Think about it. Can you consistently concentrate on whatever you’re reading or watching? Or do you have mental conversations in your head constantly? Is it some kind of complaint, self-criticism, or regret? In short, do these conversations generate negative or positive feelings? Do they make you smile or cry? Do they bring something positive to your life? Or do you just regret not reaching all your goals? If it’s the latter, maybe you should change your mind, change your thoughts, and change your life.
Ever since meeting my husband, he has always wanted to start a family. When we met, I was 25 and he was 37. As a girl, I was raised according to the Catholic faith, so it was out of the question for me to have a child out of wedlock. The first thing I said was, “My parents would be very sad. I can’t do that to them.” Besides, I was fairly convinced that I should not become a mother, because I had a notion that becoming a parent was egoistic. Someone wants to have a family, or this desire is imposed on people by society, so he or she reproduces. This then creates a little being that needs his or her parents almost all the time. We therefore literally create need, and we do it on purpose. What’s more, so many of these little beings are abandoned all around the world, so maybe we should help those first! Moreover, parents treat their children like objects, and they rarely respect them as individual beings. When there is a family gathering, the children are never allowed to make noise. Adults shout at them to not shout, even though they’re making much more noise than the children are.
What parents actually want is a child-like object that will sit quietly, talk, or play whenever it suits them. There seemed to be little difference between a car and a child, a dog and a child, a job and a child, and so on, because everything was used to create status and identity. People would say, “Look at me! Look at everything I have,” and children are no exception. I’d noticed this with parenting, and it freaked me out, so I resolved myself to not be like them. I’d also noticed some things about motherhood in Turkey. For a Turkish mother, the motherhood identity is of paramount importance, so she doesn’t let her children grow up. If they were to grow up, she wouldn’t feel like a mother anymore, so she can’t exist any longer. Yet there is so much to do in each stage of life that mothers are needed well beyond childhood and adolescence. Furthermore, motherhood is sacred in Turkish culture, so they say you should love your mother no matter what. What’s more, whenever there’s a fight, a Turkish mother will always say, “But I’m your mother.” I really didn’t want to be like that.
The years passed, and I finally changed my mind about having children, even though I wasn’t really sure if I wanted it or whether I was being influenced by society. My husband’s friends in France all had at least two children, and they constantly asked us when a baby Rodriguez was coming. Back then, however, I was in the middle of a career change, and it wasn’t quite the right time to take maternity leave, so we waited. Two years later, during last year’s summer, I thought it might take forever before I really felt secure in my career, so maybe it was time to think about a baby after all. We started trying, but two months passed without a result. I then got the very job offer I had been waiting for. I thought how lucky it was that I hadn’t got pregnant yet, because I would have had to turn down the offer. The job was in Turkey, and it meant leaving my husband at home in France.
I started working for this company in the following January, but by the end of February, I had decided to quit. I knew this job wasn’t for me—it just wasn’t what I had expected it to be. Before going home to France, I had three therapy sessions about past lives and fears. During one of these sessions, my therapist asked me to have a discussion with my children. It was such an amazing experience. I really saw them, their souls. They were two of them: a boy and a girl. We talked a little. In another session, the therapist asked me to visualize a place where I would like to be, and I saw my living room. She asked me if everything seemed good enough for me to feel well. I replied, “Something is missing,” and she told me to summon whatever was missing. Once again, I saw my children, and this time they hugged me, and I felt it! These sessions made me understand how much I really needed and wanted to have children, to be a mother.
On returning to France, my husband and I once again started trying to get pregnant. I was very stressed this time, though, and I became obsessed with it. I wanted to conceive right there and then. Actually, this is a common problem of our times, namely the fast-food culture. We want everything on demand. The first two months were very hard, because I became depressed each time I started my period. I started to think that we might have fertility problems, so we decided to see a specialist for some tests. We made an appointment for the end of June.
In early June, I was talking to a friend, who was also a mental coach, about the problems with my mother. He told me that if I had such problems, they could be a barrier to becoming a mother. He therefore recommended that I talk to my mother about how I felt. Shortly afterwards, I did as he advised. I talked to my mother over WhatsApp, and she thanked me for sharing my feelings with her and apologized for making me feel that way.
A few days later, I began feeling very depressed and tired. Sure, I was working a lot, but not any more than usual. I didn’t want to go to work at all, and at home, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Every day, I thought, “I don’t enjoy my job. I don’t have a child yet. What a shit life I have!” One day, while having lunch with a friend, I told her about my depression. She said that I might be pregnant, because she had felt similar symptoms on becoming pregnant herself. She advised me to get a pregnancy test, but I was hesitant at first, because I’d tried tests before after being a couple of days late, and they always came out negative. This made me very frustrated, so I figured it was better to wait a little rather than taking a test right away. My friend insisted on it, however, so the next day, I took a pregnancy test. And what do you know? I was pregnant! I wasn’t surprised somehow. It was like I knew already. More importantly, though, even though I became depressed thinking that we might have fertility issues, I knew deep down that there weren’t any problems. So, why did I want to take fertility tests? I really don’t know.
Before I said anything to my husband, I did a blood test in the morning, just after the urinary test. When I got home, I showered first and then lay on the bed with my cat, not really knowing what to do. I felt strange. What would I do if I was really pregnant? What if I wasn’t pregnant after all? I got the test results in the afternoon, and they confirmed it. I therefore prepared a grand announcement to the father-to-be. When he came home, I invited him to dance salsa. While dancing, I felt like crying with joy. When we stopped, I gave him his present: some pictures explaining love, marriage, and babies. Next to the pictures, I wrote a short biography of us and finally a message from our little one to his dad: I love you, daddy! My husband couldn’t believe his eyes. As he read, he kept saying, “No way! Really?”
The following four days were filled with joy for us. We were happy and feeling great. We then had our first doctor’s appointment, which we’d made for the fertility tests. The doctor was very young and seemed very distant. He examined me and then prescribed five tests to follow the increase in the HCG hormone (pregnancy hormone). He said that in a normal pregnancy, this hormone should double every 48 hours, so he gave us an expected number for that day. I did as he told us and took my first hormone control that day. The result was a bit under his estimate, so he called me to tell me to do a second test in another two days, at the same laboratory and at the same time. So I did, and once again, he called to tell me to continue the tests. I sensed his concern, so I asked him if everything was okay. He told me that he suspected my pregnancy was outside of the uterus, because the hormone rate was not doubling every 48 hours. As inexperienced as I was, I dared to say, “You know better than me of course, but don’t you think that this doubling time can vary from one pregnancy to another?” He was very pissed at me for making this remark. He told me that he called me despite his busy schedule and that this was a mathematical issue where 48 hours is always the doubling time. He suggested I should terminate my pregnancy right away with pills or an abortion, otherwise I could die from internal bleeding! He also asked if I had any symptoms, such as bleeding or severe aches. I told him that I didn’t feel anything wrong.
As a hygienist, I’m really passionate about nature, so I decided to wait for nature to do her job. The following days were a nightmare. My husband was worried about me because the doctor had said that I could die. I was worried about my baby, although some people would say it’s not a baby yet but rather a collection of cells. I started meditating and tried my best to stay positive. It was all very demanding, and it drained my energy. I worried about everything. I was afraid of everything. I kept asking myself, “Can I do this? Can I raise this baby? I need my mother, but she is far away. How will I manage without her? Will I be a good mother?” By the way, we hadn’t told our parents about the baby yet, because we wanted to surprise them in person. We’d organized a trip to my parents’ place in Turkey to do this. I had told a few friends and my brother, however, and my husband had told a few colleagues and his brother, who wasn’t so happy about it. He would have preferred to have heard about it later, at least three months into the pregnancy. In France, people live through the first trimester of their pregnancy thinking that they might lose the baby, so they keep the news to themselves until the doctor confirms the heartbeat.
Some ten days later, I had another control test with another doctor, because mine was on vacation. This new doctor said that everything was fine and that the pregnancy was in the uterus. Of course, we were very happy to hear this. He said the hormone levels were probably low because of my period cycle. He said that I was five weeks pregnant and made another appointment for the seventh week, so we could hear the heartbeat. Even though we were relieved, I was still unsure about the future, so I continued meditating from time to time. Most of the time, I carried on like nothing was wrong, but keeping the news to myself was killing me. I wanted to tell my parents, but I also wanted to surprise them. I couldn’t really live like a pregnant woman. Even my husband was unwilling to talk about it as much as I wanted to. This was how I felt as a pregnant woman full of hormones! I bought a notebook to keep a journal for the baby, but I couldn’t get myself to start it. I thought, “I’ll wait until it’s for sure.”
Finally, we went to the much-anticipated test to hear the baby’s heartbeat. This time it was our old doctor, who was back from vacation. He said he couldn’t see an embryo, so it was probably a blighted ovum. Of course, we didn’t get to hear a heartbeat. He suggested I terminate the pregnancy immediately. I felt this doctor had been very negative from the start, so I didn’t believe him. I told him what I thought about him, how he had hurt my feelings, and that I didn’t believe him. Once more, I wanted to let nature take its course. When I got home, I couldn’t do anything but cry out loud, with my husband next to me. After a few moments, however, I stopped and then told my husband that everything was fine, the baby was fine. I told him our baby just didn’t like this doctor and that he would say hello when we were in Turkey.
That day, I announced the “good” news to my parents, who were simply overjoyed at becoming grandparents once again. They told me to not accept the bad side of the story yet, suggesting that I see a doctor in Turkey instead. From that point on, I lost control. I couldn’t stay focused or positive. I was afraid of everything once again. I started writing my journal for the baby, but it didn’t feel right. It was more like wishful thinking than believing.
The next day, while at the home of my in-laws, I started to bleed. My husband hadn’t wanted to tell them, because to him, the baby wasn’t there. With his parents being so old, he preferred not to tell them yet, so they could avoid the stress. The bleeding, however, meant they needed to be told about the pregnancy.
As it was a Saturday, we went to the hospital emergency room. In France, it’s not so great to have an emergency. You can be waiting for hours and hours. We waited for about an hour and a half to see a doctor, who was rather annoyed that we’d come on a Saturday afternoon. He barely wanted to examine me. We found ourselves in a dirty room with bottles and needles on the floor and hardly any light. It felt like something from a horror movie. As soon as he came in, he started to bark orders at me, “Take off your clothes. Lay down. Open your legs!” I couldn’t hold it in anymore, so I started to cry. The doctor then asked, “Why are you crying?” At this point, my husband, who is generally very gentle and quiet got angry with him and said, “Can’t you see you’re distressing her? She’s already so scared of losing the baby, and you’re being so unkind. What do you expect her to do?” The doctor then adapted his bedside manner and showed more kindness. He explained exactly what the other doctor had, but he said we should wait for a week before a termination, because we would be able see the baby in a week if it was there.
The doctor recommended I get some rest, so I did. We got back home, and I rested. The next day, the bleeding continued just a little. I meditated and prayed. On Monday, the bleeding increased again for an hour, and then I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. Deep down, ever since that first doctor had put negative ideas in my mind, I was thinking that there was no fun in this anymore, so we should start again. The plan was to travel to Turkey at the end of the week, but I told my husband that I couldn’t wait anymore. We bought a ticket for the next day, but we also went back to the emergency room where the first doctor worked in case I was having a miscarriage and needed to do something. At the reception, they told us we needed to see another doctor, and this one was even worse. He didn’t even examine me. He just said I was having a miscarriage and needed an abortion right away. He said, “Madam, based on my 25 years of education and 40 years of experience, I’m telling you that you’re having a miscarriage and that’s that. If you don’t want to believe me, do as you wish.”
The next day I was on a plane and planning to see a new doctor in Turkey. I still behaved like I was pregnant. On seeing my parents, I showed them my belly. We then went to see a doctor. This one was extremely kind, and he treated me like I was his sister. He confirmed pretty much what the others had said, but he wanted to wait two more days because it was the first time he’d seen me. He explained that it was a sort of natural selection. If a fetus is about to develop an abnormality, nature eliminates it early on, so I shouldn’t be sorry about it.
I had no strength left, and not even my mother was believing in it anymore. I meditated and prayed, but nothing changed. Finally, my pregnancy was terminated.
Yes, I know many pregnancies end in miscarriage. Yes, I know the rate of women having a miscarriage in their first pregnancy is very high. Now I’m a part of the statistics too. What I also know, however, is that I wasn’t really ready to be a mother. All this time, I had convinced myself that I shouldn’t be a mother and that I couldn’t be a good one. I then changed my mind, but my ego didn’t understand it well enough. It was still obeying my previous command: No baby! I should have prepared it. I should have been more insistent when telling it that I wanted to be a mother. I had doubted myself and my capacity to raise a child, so the baby didn’t develop. I didn’t have a peaceful mind, so my body wasn’t peaceful either. I let my fears occupy my mind and my life. I also behaved the way that society wanted me to behave, keeping the pregnancy a secret until the doctor could confirm the baby’s heartbeat. My brother-in-law’s reaction also disappointed me. I’d kept the secret from our parents, so I didn’t really feel pregnant. I had wanted to get pregnant so much that I was terrified of losing it. I hadn’t believed in my baby as much as I should have, because I’d even delayed starting the journal until it was too late.
What my miscarriage proved to me once again is that we are what we think. The slightest fear and the slightest doubt becomes real. There can be no peace in a mind full of conflict, whether it’s directed at others or itself. There can be no health in a body if the mind is sick. First of all, we should clear our minds, set the objectives, and then go for them. It seems like a cliché, but it’s real: wish it, dream it, and do it. There is no room for fear and doubt here. If you want to achieve something, you should dream it and be enthusiastic about it. Then you will be able to do it. Nature and the universe know the best time to deliver what you want. It’s also very important to not get obsessed with achieving what you want. Instead, observe what you learn while trying to achieve your goals.
As for me, I want to get pregnant again and have a healthy, happy baby this time. I dream it, and I will do it. In my mind, I’m a good mother. I am a good mother!
Celina Stamboli Rodriguez
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