Monday, 15 April 2013

Searching for a second chance

Over the weekend, my Mother told me that while I experienced my grief, it was important to remember I had a second chance. She was comparing my grieving with her own when her father died. She didn’t get a second chance when he passed away and I’m sure she would kill to spend just one more day with him. I’ve been mulling the concept of a second chance over in my head for the last few days.

 You get a second chance because you didn’t get it right the first time. It’s your opportunity to right the wrongs, fix the mistakes and undo the choices you made. That’s all fine and good but in relation to my miscarriage, I struggle with the notion of a second chance because I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t make any mistakes. I didn’t choose anything that I could possibly undo. So how exactly is that meant to be a comforting thought?

When she first said it, my initial reaction was anger. And I stayed there for most of the weekend. When I lost my baby, all I wanted to do was take my second chance as soon as I could. I was glad to have it, but angry at why I should need it. I did nothing wrong. I have nothing I need to atone for. The only second chance I should have had was my second child.

That fed into the fear that I might not get a second chance. Everyone keeps saying “Well at least you know you can get pregnant.” No, all I know is I got pregnant once. Yes, it votes well for the fact I might get pregnant again but it’s no guarantee. Here we are, 6 months later, and I don’t feel any closer to achieving it then I did when I first started trying. When I head down that road, I am plaqued with thoughts of “What if that is the only time I am pregnant?” “What if there is no second chance?”

There are so many times in our lives that we would kill for a second chance. If we could, we would go back to all the bad decisions we made and re-do them. Life is a continuing learning opportunity and it’s very rare we get things right the first time. After each failed attempt, all we can do is dust ourselves off and try again – or just decide to give up. I’m many things in this life but a quitter isn’t one of them.  

So while I still struggle with the concept of a second chance in relation to miscarriage, I appreciate the fact I have it. I guess I can choose not to struggle against it and choose to throw myself into it. Sometimes that’s a difficult thing to do but I came across this great article to help me – 12 Ways to get a second chance in life.

1. Let go of the past – It is what it is. Wishing it could have been different is a waste of time. I can’t go back and change it so all I can do is learn from it. I can choose to find the lessons and the opportunities to grow and move forward. Forgiving is letting go of the hope the past could have been any different. It’s hard but it’s worth it.

2. Identify the lesson – I’m a big believer that things happen to us for a reason. While there is nothing I can learn to prevent the miscarriage, I can learn how to handle grief, face adversity, manage my relationships, and look after myself in difficult times. Sadly, I know this won’t be the only time in my life where I’ll need to use these skills so they’ve been good skills to learn.

3. Lose the negative attitude – This only comes with time and  I find myself constantly swinging between positive and negative. Normally, the negativity creeps back with each trigger or difficult moment. But I find I swing back to positivity pretty quickly. It’s difficult to remain positive but I’ve learnt time and time again that I achieve nothing in negativity so it’s a  pretty simple choice.

4. Accept accountability for your current situation – There are times when we need to take responsibility for our actions and their consequences and I’m currently trying to do that with another major upheaval in my life. However, you can’t do this with miscarriage because you’re not accountable for it. I think it’s important to take a broader view and think of it as being responsible for your life and the direction you will take. In the present moment, I think of everything I am going through. Every emotional pain I feel. Every problem I think I face. Every dream I want to achieve. Every hope I have. I am the only one responsible for addressing those things and making them happen so what am I going to do about it?

5. Focus on the things you can change – it’s an oldy but a goody. We tend to waste so much time and energy focussed on things we can’t change. I can’t change the fact I had a miscarriage. I can’t change the fact I’m nearly 38 years old. I can’t change other’s behaviours or their opinions of me. So why do I try? What I can change is the process I go through to fall pregnant. My perception and attitude to those issues. What I can change is myself.

6. Figure out what you really want – this seems so simple but it’s not. People constantly change their minds and  can never settle on a direction to take in life. Even when I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure I really wanted a baby, or was prepared for it. So one good thing to come out of this is the knowledge I do want a baby and the power of my conviction to make it happen.

7. Eliminate the non-essential – we surround ourselves with so many non-important things. Think about how much junk you have stored in your cupboards or garages and how much you actually need. I know I complicate my life so much with my non-essential thoughts, worrying about non-essential people and stressing about non-essential events. I know this takes attention away from what is essential so clearly I need a different tact.

8. Be very specific – nothing is ever achieved through vagueness or being wishy washy. If you’re going to commit to achieving something, then you have to know what it is. Mine’s pretty simple – I want to have a baby and I will do this by….

9. Concentrate on doing instead of not doing – this relates to positive thinking and how we frame our thoughts. Instead of thinking of the bad, we need to think of the good. Instead of thinking I won’t get pregnant, I need to think I am doing all I can to get pregnant.

10. Create a daily routine – I have a daily routine and keeps me grounded and focussed. I struggle at times with flexibility to shift the routine but I think it’s better to have it than not. Sometimes, when I’m really struggling, it helps to know exactly what I’ll be doing at 11:30am!

11. Maintain self-control and work on it – well, after my behaviour at my Grandmother’s party last weekend this is something I need to focus on. Facing the consequences and my family’s reactions to my behaviour is the other great upheaval I’m going through right now. To be honest, I feel like I’ve let a lot of self-control go since the miscarriage. Part of me just threw it away thinking what was the point? Mind you, when my clothes stopped fitting because I had put on so much weight from the food and alcohol, I knew it was time to sort it out. And really, I view my Grandmother’s party as the moment I hit rock bottom. The beauty of hitting rock bottom is the only way is up. It was a big wake up call that I will only fall pregnant, behave and be the person I want to be with self control. It’s been a tough lesson to learn but I guess it’s better late than never.

12. Forget about impressing people – I think this comes back to the struggle for perfection. The only person I need to impress is myself. If I can’t impress myself, how could I impress others? I spent a lot of time upset over the miscarriage because of all the people who would be disappointed by it – my parents, my Grandmothers, my husband and me. Maybe I was trying to impress them by the fact I could get pregnant so quickly and have this beautiful perfect baby. Well, the need for any of that is gone. I am choosing to stand in the beauty and flawed honesty of who I am.

I don’t think there is a single person in the universe who has never made a mistake or who doesn’t deserve a second chance. Things can become a bit tricky when you need to think about giving someone a third, or fourth chance, but we’ll park that for now. Sometimes events happen in life that stop us getting a second chance so we need to make the most of the opportunities when we get them. Life is too short not to! Thanks Mum – there was a few rough days but I finally got there! 

Image by Salvatore Vuono
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