Birthing and Emotions


Shieva Ghofrany: [00:00:00] It's January 3rd. It is a crazy week in our world. I wanted to turning 11 this week and I'm bringing this up, not because you all need to kind of pay attention to my family what happens, um, but really just as a reflection on life as a human during the procreative years. 

And so just wanna say this to all of you who are either. Or trying or contemplating whether you're gonna try or going through pregnancy loss or have just had pregnancy loss. There are so many permutations of all of it. So my little nutshell of a journey is that I started not really trying, but just not using birth control. 

And I was 34 and I was a resident and I was not in great shape. I was very heavy. I was working crazy hours. I was probably mildly hypertensive though I didn't check none of which is good. I'm not advocating for it. I. Very much acknowledging what happened. And I got pregnant by surprise, by [00:01:00] surprise. I know how this works, but by surprise, um, it was not unwanted. 

It was just that we weren't yet trying and I didn't think it would happen that quickly. I had had a long history of endometriosis and lo and behold, I felt conflicted, excited, but conflicted because I thought we would have more time to. We had a lot more time to prepare because that ended up being a miscarriage, as did my next pregnancy, for which I tried Oh, so hard because as any of you know, the minute you have had your appetite wet by the beginning of that little positive pregnancy test, that's all you want is to be pregnant, even if it wasn't what you thought you knew you wanted. 

So as the story goes, I had two more miscarriages and then I had my now almost 18 year old, Whose pregnancy was challenging. Again, work, a lot of work, a lot of weight, a little bit of high blood pressure, fairly tumultuous labor and delivery, and some neurological issues that ensued [00:02:00] afterwards, followed by four more miscarriages, at which point I really thought, this is it. 

I just want a sibling for my child. I hated being pregnant. I was not one of those beautiful, lean, healthy, happy. I love every feeling. I was one of those really puffy, uncomfortable back pain, swollen. Only enjoyed the baby's movement, and with my first pregnancy, there just wasn't a lot of movement. Labor also kind of sucked for me 

So when I finally got pregnant, my eighth pregnancy, what is now my almost 14 year old child, for which I promptly scheduled a C-section, because my first delivery was so challenging for me. only to find out that he had a true club foot, which compared to neurological issues, really seemed like not a big deal. 

It took a lot to fix it, but we got it fixed after the delivery. And then I thought I was done. In fact, I was sure I was done. I never wanted to have another baby. I had eight pregnancies, two children. I felt more than lucky that I even got [00:03:00] those. And here's how the story goes. At age 40, when I should have known better, I had what I would never call a mistake, but a surprise pregnancy again. 

I know how. But let this be a lesson to all your young people that when you say you're being careful the way Shiva Gorani was, being careful, well, withdrawal, as we know, is only 92% effective at best. And I'm thrilled that that happened. And again, I would never call it a mistake. I would call it a surprise. 

And I bring all this up because here I am at age almost 52, 9 pregnancies, three children, with all the anguish of the challenge of pregnancy. I get sad thinking about it, the challenge of pregnancy loss, the challenge. The conflicting feelings of, did I wish the first one away because I wasn't as excited as I should have been? 

Was I just being greedy because I actually had the nerve to think twice about that positive pregnancy test? And Lord, I know that that's not true, and I tell every one of you in my office when you're having a pregnancy loss that that's not true. That no one is inflicting you with anything. No one is punishing [00:04:00] you with anything because the person on the other side of all this, if there is a being, would not do that. 

But behold, our bodies are beings and physical beings that are just flawed. And so these things happen, and it is up to us to find the beauty within the suck. And sometimes the beauty is so minuscule and sometimes it's so small. But here I am nine pregnancies later, three children later, feeling old and tired and menopausal, just as I have an only 11 year old girl. 

But feeling deeply grateful and I don't say again. I thank. Not because I don't feel thankful to God and I don't feel eternal gratitude to everything in the world, but I do not think God bestowed the angst on me. And I certainly don't think God chose me to be the one that got to have three children if he hasn't chosen other incredibly worthy women and humans with ovaries and uteruses to have children as well. 

So that is not how I think. I merely think I got lucky and I'm gonna keep expressing gratitude about having three children, but I'm also gonna. [00:05:00] Every human and woman that you are not defined by your ability, by your capability, by your desire to birth, should you choose to birth. It can be amazing and wonderful and shitty and horrible, all in one. 

And should you choose not to birth or should, for whatever reason, your body not allow you to birth, despite all of the ways that we have now with using someone's egg, using someone's sperm, adopt. pills, medications, injections. There's so many different ways that people can, um, parent. And should you still choose not to do that? 

It is not only, okay, I applaud you because parenthood is wonderful and exhausting and beautiful and sucky. And so I wish for all of us, Isaiah, as women, but again as humans with uteruses and ovaries. I wish for a world where we don't feel defined by our ability. because I think that definition is incredibly [00:06:00] exhausting. 

It's emotional, it is suffocating. And while as the OB gyn who is a mother, I know that I'm supposed to have this mantle where I say it is the most beautiful thing in the world. But the honest answer is this. It can be the most beautiful thing and it can be the most tragic thing. And so sometimes choosing not to embark on that is the most wonderful thing you can do. 

And we need to get to a place where we actually all. that parenting and not parenting are both equally wonderful for completely different reasons. So I say this also to any of you who are struggling with whether or not to finish your childbearing years by using some form of permanent sterilization, whether it's removing your tubes or having your male partner have the vasectomy. 

It sounds funny, again, as a mother and as an ob gyn, but I have never been so happy as the day that I knew for a. That I was never going to have another pregnancy growing in my body. And that might sound funny to some of you. Some of you might really truly love the [00:07:00] pregnancy and the birthing process, and I love that for you. 

And I actually love being with people who feel that way. But I also know that many of you feel like me, which is you didn't love it. You didn't love the process of making the pregnancy. You didn't love the process of carrying the pregnancy in the angst that it entails. And you might not have loved the birthing process no matter which way you birthed. 

And that's all. Okay. So if you are. This journey. If you are experiencing pregnancy loss or just went through it, or pregnant, or thinking about being pregnant, or thinking about never being pregnant, or choosing to finish your pregnancy journeys by doing some form of birth control, that is permanent. I'm thinking of all of you at all of your different times because it is again, a beautiful, amazing, sucky, hellacious journey. 

That's what it is. Okay. Happy New Year.