We Don’t Have Control: Accepting the Uncertainty in Conception
by Miki Agrawal · 22 Nov 2021 · 8 min read
In 2017, my husband Andrew and I welcomed our son, Hiro Happy, into this beautiful world, changing our lives for the better. After a somewhat “normal” pregnancy, we were faced with an unexpected complication. As we rushed to receive help, we learned that I would have to undergo an emergency C-section – a plan much different than the birthing plan we had discussed with our birthing team.
After the intensive surgery, our sweet Hiro Happy joined our family and we began to learn about the wonders a child can bring to our lives. As with many mothers, I spent the next many months caring for Hiro, waking up every two hours to breastfeed, all while working on returning my body to a state of homeostasis. Although a challenging endeavor, it was one that has redefined what strength is to me.
Three years later, my husband and I decided we were ready to expand our family further and wanted to add another member to our tribe, who I refer to as Baby Hart. Following my experience with Hiro, I expected that conceiving Hart would be just as easy. However, fate had a different plan, and in 2020, after 18 months of “trying”, we decided to undergo fertility treatment to conceive another child. I was immediately filled with guilt and shame – emotions that I have now learned are consequences of society’s negative perspective on fertility treatment.
In an effort to get pregnant, I have undergone two fertility treatments: IUI and IVF. Intrauterine insemination, better known as IUI, involved doctors implanting Andrew’s sperm inside my uterus. It, however, did not work after 2 attempts. Next, we decided to try IVF or in-vitro fertilization. This is a more intense fertility treatment that involves multiple steps, including hormone injections and surgery. I went through twelve days of intense hormone injections for my first round of IVF. Following this, I went through an invasive extraction process, where they scraped eggs out of my ovaries. Then, it was a waiting period before I received the news that out of the 12 follicles I had, I got five eggs, out of which three turned to embryos. I was hopeful but later found out that my embryos didn’t make it.
The intense emotional rollercoaster brought about the rawest emotions in my soul. The complex procedure that pushed my body in unimaginable ways ended with my sweet Hart still in a different realm (but with me always). As a result of this process, I changed my perception of what bringing a second child into this world would look like and chose to focus on gratitude and what I already have.
Trying What Felt Right to Me
As I have devoted myself to my entrepreneurial path, I found that I was often spread thin, unable to fully relax and rest. Internally, I felt that this had an impact on my ability to conceive a second child. Therefore, I decided to look inwardly and take an alternative approach to the situation.
In early 2020, I decided to take time for myself and participate in a personal retreat in Santa Barbara, I called it my “Chrysalis” - the path of becoming a new version of myself. The goal was to de-stress, re-center, and heal my body. My thought was that if I could bring a new balance to my hectic life, I could also create a soft opening for baby Hart. Through conscious thought, action, and rebalancing, I envisioned a transformative experience that would prepare my mind, body, and spirit for the arrival of a new family member. I participated in a baby blessing ritual, and through this ritual, I created a slide from the universe’s baby playground to my womb. I put a blessing into a hard-boiled egg. I then ate it with the intention of a baby, a healthy child, a healthy birth, an easy pregnancy, a beautiful relationship between Hart and Hiro, and a beautiful relationship between Hart and us.
These beautiful ritual experiences I encountered during this time are experiences that many may have dismissed. However, to me, they were important expressive rituals that enabled me to develop a deeper connection to Hart and offered me the opportunity to connect with the natural elements and begin my journey into accepting the uncertainty I was facing.
Changing Expectations on Conceiving and Parenthood
Removing expectations is one of the hardest lessons I have learned in parenthood and one that I often share with others. When Hiro was born, I expected to follow a specific birth plan that fell in line with my natural, spiritual, and holistic way of thinking. Instead, to ensure his and my safety, I underwent a C-section operation and ended up relying on the wonders of modern medicine (which I am eternally grateful for)!
When it came to Hart, I expected that Hart would fly into my womb with no challenge – through time, I have learned that is not the case. In the beginning, I felt the negative emotions related to the shoulds that were running through my mind – I should be able to conceive, I should have no problems. I was initially sad and felt shame for not being able to have a baby.
However, the path is different for everyone. And as we face challenges, we can learn to adapt, let go and “be like a flowing river”. I decided to pursue a career, and that meant waiting until I was older for our second child. To society, this may have been a wrong decision, but it was the right one for our family. And now, when I look at the situation, I can think to myself, ‘Wow, I made a choice to wait until later to have a baby so that I could truly find my heart center, I built things in the world that truly help people and I created an amazing life for my family and me. I have no regrets.’
I have released all expectation and pressure on myself that Baby Hart will appear in this physical plane, and this magical baby spirit has already taught me so much about dropping into my heart’s deepest wisdom when I am feeling sad or contracted. I even wrote a book called “Heart Wisdom” for myself that shares all of the beautiful wisdom my heart has gained from this experience so I can memorialize the teachings. This experience has taught me to slow down, listen to my body and pay attention to my heart. I am grateful. I will continue to share my battle stories – the good and the bad – in hopes of bringing inspiration to the millions of parents who face similar pressures.
Appreciating All Mothers’ and Parents’ Experiences
My journey shines another light on the idea that motherhood, parenthood, and conception are not one-size-fits-all. The sooner we accept this into our society, the quicker women and people facing fertility challenges can regain the confidence they need to accept the emotional uncertainty aligned with conception. The path to parenthood is often filled with emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges, but today, discussions regarding these challenges are often avoided and considered taboo. However, we parents – as a collective – need to change the dialogue surrounding the topics and develop an open and honest platform to share our experiences, hopes, and fears. If we can begin to practice acceptance instead of judgment, we can create new energy around us that WILL positively impact everyone on their journey of fertility and conception.