Saying used to be that pregnancy is just one of those things that you are or you are not.
But sitting with one of my patients who has undergone invitro fertilization and is in the week of limbo before she finds out whether she is ‘pregnant’ or not, simply defies that proposition.
This limbo state of pregnancy is not uncommon these days. With so many couples going through invitro, there is that ‘limbo week’ of being; I need to say, “A Little Bit Pregnant”.
Figuring out how to cope with the emotional roller coaster that comes with invitro or recurrent miscarriage, is a big part of the territory.
But this particular week in the life of a couple, is unique. “They tell me I am not considered technically ‘pregnant’ now, but what is this state as I am sitting here with an embryo implanted?!” many women have asked me during this particular limbo.
Everyone finds their own ways to cope with this particularly ambivalent state. Each person finds ways to guard against being too hopeful, and not too pessimistic. Everyone universally wants to guard against the disappointment they have experienced leading up to all of this and know they will feel if that test turns out negative.
I think that hope is one of the scariest feelings. I also think that it is physically impossible to not to feel any hope while ‘with embryo’ despite many peoples’ attempts to protect themselves. I think it is partly biological.
I have come to counseling couples with infertility or pregnancy loss through my own experiences, not just my training in psychiatry. Without meaning to, I became an informal ‘hotline’ for women who had lost pregnancies, as news of my own experiences and happy ending spread.
For six years, my husband and I lost seven babies. Two of them in the sixth month, five in the first trimester. We tried everything. Doctors could offer us no further options, so we turned to adoption. One evening I threw caution to the wind and became pregnant. For reasons no doctor to this day can understand, my first daughter was born nine months later. My subsequent two pregnancies were also uneventful and lo and behold, we have our three daughters.
So as I sit with my patient during this exciting, scary, and yes, very, very hopeful week, I salute all of you women out there trying to have your babies.
And yes, you can be a little bit pregnant. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.