When I think about when I met Vash, it always seems like it was last year, even though we are 18 years into our journey (so she reminds me). It was a chance meeting in December 1998 that I crossed paths with this very interesting and spirited young lady. From that moment I could see that it was going to be an adventure, and I can confirm there were plenty of jokes, teasing and interesting conversations. She is an incredibly strong, intelligent woman, feisty and very resolute. Once that mind is made up…
Our commitment to a lifelong union came after three years and we focussed on us: travelling, Vash’s studies, and advancing in our careers. In early 2005 we started talking about family, babies, a bigger home; the things any young couple would do. We truly felt a baby would complete us. We had good news fairly quickly and waited for this new being to arrive, but after a few weeks we had devastating news. Miscarriage is very common in first pregnancies and we were advised to try again after a few months.
The days that followed were quiet and teary, something alien in our relationship; life without spark. There were evenings on which we would forget to switch on the lights or prepare meals, as we were on our couch holding each other and not understanding what it all meant. Vash was convinced it was because of something she did and asked for forgiveness. My reassurances that forgiveness was not needed because there was no blame fell on deaf ears. It is always difficult to feel another person’s pain, but in this case I felt this loss in every part of my being. I wanted to help my pained wife recover and I didn’t know how. There were days she insisted on staying indoors, away from people, and more importantly away from children, and we would do just that. A walk past a babywear store proved to be difficult for a long time, so we would walk on the other side away from the shop and I would squeeze her hand a little tighter. I figured that I could outwait this; how long does grief last?
I would often catch my wife’s stolen glances at mums with babies, and I could see the thoughts racing through her mind. And again, if you are in this situation, just clutch that hand a little tighter and draw her closer and wait. So a year later, we could finally walk into the babywear shop with ease, no tears and a small smile. A little while later we started the journey again: basal temperature checks, recording dates, ovulation kits, fertility medication and yes, it did happen… only to end in another three miscarriages. We were still hopeful that our time would come, but each time the emotions of grief slightly dulled that hope and it was easy for disillusion to creep in.
It had been five years since the first miscarriage. If you are in a similar position, you as a husband can never experience the emotions a woman goes through when she loses a child or can’t have one when she desperately wants one – no amount of empathy or flowers will make it better. Patience and calm, steadfast support is all you can offer, and this in abundance might work for you too. This is not the time to give that person space. She may tell you that it’s okay, but she needs you there! Not to do anything; just to be there. Let her tell you how she is feeling, listen to those emotions, wipe those tears.
The reason for the miscarriage was unearthed purely by chance and with a new bounty of optimism, we attempted fertility treatment again. Lo and behold, nothing happened!
It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Vash is a firm believer in messages; it was obvious to her the universe was sending her a message, that motherhood was not for her. Remember I said resolute? At that moment her mind was made up. She wasn’t going to wait or pine for the baby anymore; not hold off life, stop wishing and praying; just live. We had the necessary conversations about not having children and I constantly reminded her with just the two of us we were still a family. A calm appeared in our lives at that moment – I could see that the weight was lighter.
A month later, we found ourselves pregnant again! This time was different: no anxiety, no waiting, we just let it be. Nine months later our little girl arrived, a feisty mini version of her mum!
Written by: Rivaaj Bitharthee