This article is cross-posted from Daddy Files, at which the terrific Aaron Gouveia writes regularly.
A year ago we discovered something was wrong with our unborn baby. It was a roller coaster ordeal that culminated in a showdown with religious anti-abortion protesters on the worst day of our lives. The day we lost little Alexandra.
On an otherwise sunny and beautiful day in Brookline, my wife, MJ, had the life sucked out of her. Literally and metaphorically. Hearing that our baby had Mermaid Syndrome was bad. Being told she was missing kidneys, a bladder and other vital organs was awful. Having to make the nightmarish decision between a stillbirth and abortion was unfathomable. But the completely unnecessary and unprovoked verbal attack from total strangers was the crushing and cruel blow that sent us over the edge.
I dealt with everything by writing it all down and turning to all of you for support, but MJ suffered in silence. And things didn’t really improve.
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Severe financial troubles plagued us. MJ’s medical problems and certain conditions (which I won’t go into here) worsened. We thought things turned around in January when we discovered MJ was pregnant again, but fate is a fickle little tramp. Another miscarriage. MJ had to go in for a D&C, which is never a pleasant experience. Then, last month, we discovered there were leftover remnants which caused a hematoma. Lucky MJ, that meant yet ANOTHER procedure. Which, in turn, translates into a delay of at least three months until we can even think about trying for another baby.
In fact, when I thought about the last four years, I came up with a shocking fact I hadn’t really considered: MJ has been pregnant five times in four years, during which time we’ve lost four pregnancies requiring just as many D&C procedures.
That absolutely blows my mind.
Seriously, it’s enough to make even the strongest among us curl up in a ball and give up. Which MJ and I have both considered at various points. But as hard as it’s been for me, it’s been worse for MJ. Her medical conditions make it so damn hard to function on a daily basis, nevermind work at a demanding job and take care of Will, me and the house. She handles all the finances and anything that requires paperwork. She does everything, which can really take a toll.
Things bottomed out six weeks ago when MJ had to take a leave from her job. I have to admit, I was worried about her because at that point things really could’ve gone either way. The time off could’ve helped her or she could’ve gone insane and spiraled so deep into depression she wouldn’t be able to recover. And that scared the shit out of me because she’s been close to that point in the past.
But once again I was reminded to never count my wife out.
She fought back the only way she knows how: a little bit at a time. She is getting the help she needs and she scratches and claws on a daily basis just to have a fairly normal day. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s ridiculously difficult. Yet even during her own personal battle, she’s remained a fantastic mom to Will and I still hold the title of “World’s Luckiest Husband.”
During a year of awful loss and trying times, it would be easy—even understandable—to dwell on the bad times right now. But instead, I want to tell my wife I love her. I think she’s incredible. And I’m constantly amazed by her strength and resiliency. As shitty as this year has been, the tough times can bring out the best in people. And my wife is, by far, the best.
I’m proud of you baby. So proud.