In many cultures, not excluding ours, women of childbearing age are still held against a quite rigid expectation to give birth and raise an offspring or two. These expectations are expressed to women even from a young age, what with all the messages in media, education, literature and family interactions that contain the “when you become a mother” premise. Not if – when.
Men are also taught both by natural instinct and societal nurture to look for a mate who is fertile and able to bear their children.
This perspective, messaged similarly to each sex, creates this imperative among women to be able to function reproductively, not because they necessarily want to, but because everyone else around them expects them to.
I understand; I encountered the same feelings and perceptions not too long ago.
And what I have learned, both as a therapist and as someone who has gone through fertility treatment, is this: we, women, do not owe the stories of our womb to anyone.
We do not owe our pregnancy to our partners, no matter how much they are invested in our pregnancy. We do not owe our reproductive ability to our parents who are over-the-moon with the expectations of a grandchild. We do not owe the world the proof of our capacity to create life. We certainly do not owe any explanation to those with whom we may have initially shared the news of the prospect of having a child.
And with miscarriage, we don’t amass any sort of moral debt to anyone. Not even to ourselves.
Your pregnancy is an experience that is yours. Whether it culminates with birth or loss, your experience of pregnancy is something you may choose to share with people you love, but certainly not something that you owe to people whom you love and choose to share your experience with.
Creating a supportive environment for pregnancy and after miscarriage includes moving away from self-punishing thoughts of imposed expectations, whether implied or expressed.
Of course, I know that not every household and family has an ideal environment for mental and emotional support for mothers who have suffered through miscarriage. But if you are going through immense pressure while expecting, or are suffering from feelings of loss post-miscarriage, partially brought on by personal disappointment and guilt over the sadness of those in your circle, feel free to reach out to me and allow me to help you process your thoughts about your experience.
It is incredibly important to have a forgiving understanding and gentle ownership of one’s fertility journey. Let us have a healing and life-changing conversation about your experience and how you can free yourself from the unnecessary burden of owing your pregnancy and your loss to anyone, and everyone, in your life – including yourself.
Send me a message, book a consultation, and let us begin rewriting the story of your motherhood and miscarriage. You deserve the freedom to tread your own path of pregnancy, without judgement and guilt, away from the harmful expectations set by society and time.