When 2017 rolled around, I was focused. I planned to get this dissertation mostly completed, and spend my year gestating my future child. I had come off of surgery at the end of 2016 to remove two sneaky fibroids and a failed IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination) cycle at the end of the year. I was disappointed at the end of 2016 but also hopeful about the new endeavors I’d focus on in a year ending in a 7. I felt like that was going to be my year. Things were going to look up for me in 2017.
I started off the year nice and easy, plugging away at writing, thinking about what I wanted to do business-wise. Office space was rented, started getting referrals for clients, I traveled to Arizona (Scottsdale) for the first time ever in February and LOVED it! I started the year off on the Whole30 detox so I was feeling good, working out more, eating better, ordering room service and living my best life. As part of my IVF protocol, I had to start birth control pills for a bit and surprisingly, it didn’t make me super sick like it did in the past so I was #winning! I came back to Philly (I was upset about that part… I half-seriously started looking for jobs in AZ because it was just beautiful and warm! So warm…) and was off to a retreat for black scholars in human sexuality where I got my ENTIRE LIFE!!! *s/o to SBSHS!!* I was taking injections… big af needles in the ‘butt-back’ (as I call it) in hopes that our little embryos were attaching end of Feb/early March. When I found out I was pregnant around the second week of March I was ecstatic! I wasn’t feeling sick yet so I had all these plans about what I was going to hammer out regarding the dissertation before babies got here.
Then I started getting sick and dizzy and hungry but then repulsed then tired and then it was all I could do to just make it to work and then come home and crawl back in bed. All the things I didn’t actually have to do got put on the back burner and I was just focused on gestating… and combating intense cravings for big mac’s and old-school ham & cheese sandwiches (I haven’t had a sandwich like that since I was like 10). We planned to bring our beautiful babies into the world, introduce everyone at holiday time then make our plans to relocate south. Then… just when I started to settle into the idea that I was finally carrying my kids and THIS part of my life was for real, for real about to start, the bottom got pulled out from under us. All the hopes and dreams for these babies… gone in a matter or minutes. All our plans for our life with these two children were null & void. What plans? It was a hell of a reminder that your plans really don’t mean shit when there are things outside of your control. Makes you wonder if you’re ever really in control…? Of anything really…? You know that saying that goes something like, “you make plans and God laughs.”
…Yeah, that’s absolutely how it felt. On some, “bitch, you thought!” tip that hurt me to my core.
After that, it was really about trying to pick up the pieces of my life… my heart… my mind… my marriage (bc let’s be honest, loss like this can break couples)… I found myself asking, “what is this life?!” and not in a positive way. What was I going to do now? Especially when I could barely even go outside the house for more than an hour without breaking down. As a person who is typically pretty tightly controlled, sometimes to my own detriment, this was totally unfamiliar territory. It was a hell of a humbling experience and forced me to just sit down and deal with my feelings of grief. The experience slapped me in the face with the reality that you can plan all you want, but sometimes life happens and throws your whole agenda off schedule.
So what am I saying? Am I saying f your plans and don’t even worry about trying to set things up? Kinda…
Nah, I’m playing. I’m saying that you can make plans but consider that things may not go the way you initially intended and that could be in a BIG way. Having a vision and mission for yourself is important and at the same time, it’s just as important to have the flexibility and resilience to know that these things may shift depending on circumstances. After losing our girls, my partner and I came up with a shared vision board for ourselves. It had some things on it that our previous vision board contained but it also had some very different things that we likely wouldn’t have included had our loss not happened. Is everything on it going to come to fruition? Hopefully. We taking active steps to work towards those goals and at the same time, we are now keenly aware of the possibilities that some things won’t. We have to be ok with that on some level and also know that something not working out as planned isn’t a mark of how successful we are as partners/business people/parents/people/etc. That’s my nugget for all of us angel parents out here. It may be hard to believe (full disclosure: I still struggle at times) but the fact that your little one(s) isn’t here with you doesn’t make you any less of a parent and doesn’t make you any less successful at parenting. It doesn’t wash away everything else you may be achieving. It just shows you that you have to shift you thinking and being able to handle the special way you will get to experience parenthood. Maybe not what you thought it’d be but maybe more rewarding than you can imagine. That’s what I’m choosing to believe… <3