This is a sensitive post, and it contains a triggerwarning.
It’s been a while since I updated my blog.
I took some time away to be more intentional with my writing.
For the past few years, sharing my journey with you has made me realise that so many other Black women (and couples), are navigating this viscous cycle of grief, optimism, faith…. insert here ________.
There came a point where I felt a heaviness and frustration trying to understand why “our” stories remain undocumented and unheard.
So I’ve tried to add some colour to the existing narrative. Hearing someone say, “this has really helped”, or “thank you for telling our truth”, sets my soul on fire.
Infertility and (baby) loss is mentally and emotionally crippling, but what’s even more is the silence that surrounds the double-edged sword of navigating both/multiple battles as a Black woman.
For me, my marriage was impacted for the better and sometimes worse. My friendships were questioned, but my loyalty even more when I turned down baby shower invites and avoided social gatherings, because it became exhausting trying to grin and bare all the time.
I put my career on hold in anticipation of not wanting to surrender my maternity leave allowance.
All aspects of my life became centered around the possibility of finally “growing” our family. Little did I know that I already had one: The small, but growing TTC community of Black women who endlessly do the work to help others feel heard and seen even whilst bearing their own pain.
As my fellow advocate and veteran Regina (BBE ) would say; “Infertility is more than just babies”.
Over time, I myself learnt that having the baby, or becoming a mother was never the ultimate goal.
Redefining my black womanhood, and understanding that my purpose goes beyond my womb has helped me to acknowledge that every other part of who I am, carries and has so much more to give inside and outside of this space.
Cliche as it may sound ; it feels like I’m now in a full circle moment and have turned my “pain into purpose”.
More importantly I don’t feel that I need to be “loud” for my voice to be heard.
The smallest ‘things’ can have the biggest impacts…
Which brings me to the main point of this post. (Thanks for staying with me) !
A few days ago after picking my son up from nursery, he showed me his latest masterpiece - a toilet paper roll covered with colourful cardstock, and gold pipe cleaner to convey some sort of fire cracker.
I had a moment of nostalgia revisiting a fond memory 26 years ago, when I attended my vicar’s winter bonanza. Many of us shivered whilst waving around our crackling sparklers, anticipating the final firework display.
The night ended with the sky transitioning into what resembled a colourful garden. The fireworks dazzled like crystallised flowers. To date, it was one of the best displays I have ever seen.
It still floors me how such a beautiful exhibit is created from something that’s potentially dangerous. In the same way, how my own journey started, to where I am now tells me one thing:
That, dealing with infertility and loss is a bit like fireworks. There are moments that can light up your world beautifully, and other times when they suddenly disappear.
On the 5th November 2016, I was four days away from my egg retrieval.
A year after following a miscarriage, as a result of a successful embryo transfer, I reached the third trimester of my pregnancy with my first son Sebastian.
On the 3rd November 2019, I launched and hosted my first Femelanin event, which focused on fertility for Black women, weeks after suffering an ectopic pregnancy.
Around the same time last year, I was told that I have PCOS, and that coupled with one remaining Fallopian tube, would make my chances of conceiving near to none.
This November, on the 5th (the last day of #Nationalinfertilityawarenessweek) at 11.52pm, after one last push, I gave birth to our second son.
I know this may be news to many, and alongside that it’s not always easy to deal with such announcements. I’m truly sorry if you find it difficult to find out this way.
Please look after you, and protect your heart.
I’m never offended, as this is a necessary boundary to have in place. I just do sincerely trust that for most, (if not all), sharing the details of this part of my story will reignite your hope.
I have been privy to the ambivalence of ‘happy for you, sad for me’. I’ve spent the past ten months holding my breath. Trying to contain the the combination of joy, fear, anxiety all at once.
Getting to this point has had so many challenges, one being contracting Covid at 32 weeks , and having a condition in pregnancy which affects 1% of mothers - What’s the odds!
I felt my safest just praying and waiting each day rather than sharing the news.
I regret to say that finally getting pregnant doesn’t necessarily eradicate trauma. Our brains are too far ahead of us. I have an archive of experiences that sometimes resurface at the forefront of my mind, telling me to not get to ahead of myself.
Choosing faith over fear has been the biggest battle. Sometime soon, I will share what brought me to this point. For now I choose to sit with this euphoria.
I feel like a little firecracker; full of chemicals and hormones, that could almost make my grateful heart explode with and joy and happiness.
As I look back to the trials and tribulations, it was worth the Elysian respite I am now feeling.
I will always remember the 5th of November…
Introducing Elysian Haye