When I was a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I finally felt like I was ready to be a mother. I expressed this to my husband and he was over the moon! So we decided to try for a baby. We got pregnant right away. We were beyond ecstatic, knew nothing about pregnancy and thus started reading books such as What to Expect When You’re Expecting, etc. We told our mothers and I’ll admit I told my closest friends. We were so incredibly excited, started talking about names, boy or girl, nursery colors, etc. Who knew there was so much to plan for, discuss and pick out when having a baby?!
Then, when I was 8 weeks pregnant and my husband was out of town for work, I miscarried. It started with going to a shoot that morning for work (I was producing a show at the time and needed to be on site with the reporter). I was feeling a bit off at the shoot and came home at lunch with some bad cramps. I called my husband, who was in Texas and expected back later on that night. I told him I was in pain, was going to go lie down and would call him later. I woke up a few hours later bleeding quite profusely.
Now, I could have called a girlfriend or family member to take me to the hospital but I was in shock and worried and wanted to be alone to think and well….just be alone. So I got in my car, drove myself to Markham-Stouffville Hospital and checked myself into emerg. I still remember the triage nurse asking me again and again if I was really there all by myself. She suggested I call someone. But I didn’t want to. I have some great friends and family who would drop everything to help me, but those who know me well, know that I am most comfortable all by myself. Not a week goes by where I don’t go and do something on my own. It’s therapeutic for me, allows me to be alone with my thoughts and sort of step back from my busy life and breathe. So I remember a doctor telling me several hours later that yes, in fact I was having a miscarriage. We were in the midst of a crazy American snowstorm and my husband was trying his best to make it back as quickly as he could by transferring at a million different airports from Texas to Toronto.
When he finally walked into the hospital room at 10pm, I looked at him, told him the news and sort of fell into his arms. It had been an exhausting day, no one knew where I was nor what was happening. I let him make the phone calls to family to break the news and I lay in that bed and probably didn’t say much for the next day or so.
It was an incredibly difficult experience. I didn’t know anyone up until that point who had suffered a miscarriage and although it took me some time, a couple of weeks maybe, I started to talk about it. When people asked me what was new, I would tell them that unfortunately I had recently suffered a miscarriage. Through my dialogue, I realized so many people I knew had suffered the same misfortune….yet no one talked about it! At least, they would confess to me in hushed tones sometimes insinuating that it may have been something they did or that something was wrong with them. It made me realize that miscarriage is one of the biggest shames that some women carry. I am not ashamed of my miscarriage. Stressed, sure. Worried, of course. Panicked that I wasn’t able to bear children, definitely. But I knew that I had tried my best and God had decided this baby wasn’t meant to be.
Luckily, I went on to have two beautiful and healthy boys. But that doesn’t make my miscarriage any easier. I had a dream about a week after I miscarried that I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Yusra. I don’t know anyone named Yusra and had not consciously heard of the name until my dream. Needless to say, if I ever have a baby girl, the name Yusra already belongs to someone else in my heart.
So when I hear about friends who miscarry, it breaks my heart. No matter how common it is, how many children you already have or how much support you have, it is devastating. Through talking to people about my experience, I also realized how common fertility problems are. I am so so so blessed that my following two pregnancies after my miscarriage were normal and healthy. But sometimes, it doesn’t happen that way. I know that having children has literally changed my life. It’s changed me as a person (far more than getting married – which I thought really changed me) and it’s the greatest gift I have ever been given.
So about 6 months after my first son Yusuf was born, I was admitted into the emergency room again for a twisted cyst in my left ovary that was enormous. I had never had any type of surgery before and the pain was MUCH worse than labor and delivery. Having a twisted or torted cyst is one of the most painful things that can happen in your body – something I learned after the fact. So through emergency surgery that day, in August of 2009, the doctors had to remove my left ovary. Without any warning, I woke up that morning fully whole and went to sleep that night missing an ovary.
I want a lot of children. It’s something I discussed with my husband before we got married and it works out because he wants even more children than I do! So having only one ovary put a bit of a tizzy on my plan to expand my brood. Everyone, doctors, family, friends….all told me that I WOULD conceive again, but it would take me longer than expected. So I figured ok, if I start trying soon, I should get pregnant in maybe a year if all goes well? Well, God has his own plan and with only my right ovary (apparently working over-time), I got pregnant on my first try. I went on to have Zeeshan, my second healthy baby boy! Go figure.
My boys are 18 months apart in age. They are my life, my light and my happiness. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful. When I hear of a friend having issues conceiving or having a miscarriage or simply unable to conceive despite trying everything they could, I am devastated for them. Unless you are a mother, you truly don’t know the joy that can come from hearing the word “Mommy”.
I hope and pray that anyone I know and all those that I don’t, somehow and in some way, are able to experience this.
I also want people to know that it’s ok to talk about it, to discuss your worries, stresses and thoughts with each other. It helps us to heal. If we, as women, can’t be there for each other in ways that men will never be able to comprehend, then what’s the point of friendship or family?
For now, I am happy not being pregnant, hormonal or semi-handicapped. I am able to enjoy chasing after my boys, going rollerblading with my husband and sweating it out in a hot yoga class. Just yesterday, I saw a one month old baby in an elevator and my heart did skip a tiny little beat and I turned to my husband and said…well….? But I know that my boys will only be this young once and I’ve spent the last three years either pregnant or recovering from pregnancy. So for now, I am enjoying life with my two little ones and my baby daddy. If this is it for me, I am thankful and blessed.
Sheba Siddiqui is a reporter and television producer, currently hosting and producing The Bulletin Board on Rogers TV across the GTA. Upon graduating from the University of Toronto and working in finance, she felt like something was missing in her life and returned to school to pursue her passion in broadcast journalism at Seneca @ York. Sheba realized another passion in her after getting married and having children; motherhood. She recently spent a month traveling across India with her two toddler boys and husband and was reminded of how blessed she is to be a South Asian woman and mother. She began blogging again after many years and found she had discovered her voice in her writing. Sheba tries to connect with women and mothers by writing about pertinent issues in her community or as a working mother trying to balance it all. Sheba loves food, fiction and fashion and spends her free time traveling the globe and answering her toddlers’ mile-a-minute questions. Check out her blog:www.shebasphere.blogspot.com