I'm very nearly feeling like a normal person again (whatever that is) here at the 40-post mark. Just yesterday a dear friend shared with me that she is expecting. Along with being overcome with excitement for her, I was overcome with a wave of gratitude that she was able to just tell me freely and not feel the need to tiptoe around me (you know who you are, that was a huge gift, thank you!). It was refreshing to notice in myself that I could receive this news with a genuinely open heart. There was no forced "oh i'm so haaaappy for you" with gritted teeth. I celebrate her joy with every ounce of my being because I pray that that same joy will come to me at some point regardless of what my journey has been so far.
It's not over. It will never fully be over. This is the part I am still working on accepting. The day I found out I was pregnant my entire world tilted into a terrifyingly beautiful technicolor roller coaster and I can't un-feel the things I felt. Once you've experienced that connection to motherhood it rips open something inside you that never heals over completely. I am reminded of this at the most unexpected times.
For example, when my girlfriend told me about her pregnancy she also told me they were already able to tell her the sex of her baby. She is only half a week further along than I was when I was told there was no more heartbeat so I instantly took to the internet to Google : "earliest they can determine sex of baby" and learned that there is now a test that can determine the gender very early on. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. To my total surprise I felt a sickeningly intense longing to know what my baby would have been. Regardless of whether this actually would have been an option in my case, the thought of it took hold of me ferociously. Emotion sprung forth with a magnitude that I hadn't felt in months regarding this topic. Why, I wondered? Where the heck is this coming from? I'm still processing it and I haven't fully cracked it yet.
I took an extremely informal poll (full disclosure, it was seven people--four women and three men--hardly going to win any scientific research awards). Three of the women said yes they would absolutely want to know and the other four I polled said no. This obviously doesn't highlight any major trend, but the one definite commonality was the definitiveness with which people answered. It was visceral. They either knew it was a yes or knew it was a no with zero second thinking. For me, maybe it's something about my voraciousness for knowledge regarding this entire experience and of my body in general. Perhaps it's also something to do with wanting to experience every part of that pregnancy for as long as it lasted. I have never shied away from the raw details of my lost pregnancy and this feels no different. It's not about the gender. I wouldn't have cared if it was a boy, a girl, a boy born in a biologically female body, a girl born in a biologically male body, or a unicorn. Perhaps if I am to lay myself bare here (and, really, what's new?), what it's really about is feeling one tiny, but extremely tangible, step closer to this child I wanted so desperately and lost. It would have been one more layer of realness. Yes, it might have been another layer of sadness too, but it was always going to be heartbreaking anyway.
For some of the people I spoke to who said "no" they explained they didn't see what the benefit of knowing would be if the fetus was never meant to grow into a boy or a girl to begin with and I do understand that logically, but emotionally and illogically (and lets face it, that's where I generally live) I would have needed to know if I was given the option. The initial emotional impact has passed and now I am just curious to hear what you think out there--wether you have experienced this or not, what are your thoughts? I've included an annoynymous survey below (how tech savvy am I?!) or you can write in comment section or to firstname.lastname@example.org.