Two weeks ago my wife and I received the news. Child #3 was not going to happen after all. Or at least, not yet.
This is the stuff that men don’t typically talk about. This is the stuff that hurts. That’s why I’m taking time to share.
To set the tone – we’re in a really good place with everything. This is not a story about tragic loss or unfairness. I’m not sharing this to deploy a plea for sympathy. Instead, I’m sharing this to give people a sense of hope and inspiration who may have faced, or are yet to face, the same situation.
So here we go.
I remember getting the call… and then hearing those words come out of my wife’s mouth –
”They can’t find a heartbeat.”
At first, I didn’t believe it. My mind instantly raced to thoughts of impossibility. I was not expecting this.
How… what… why?
These are the thoughts that come, and they come fast.
Once the reality of her words set in I was overcome by a feeling I’ve never had before. There was a sense of emptiness and complete lack of control. Two things that humans are not wired to handle well. Two things I’m not accustomed to handling.
The rest of our conversation is a bit of a blur, but I knew I had to find time alone to process this. Gabrielle was doing the same at the doctor’s office. We were apart but together at the same time. We were connected in a sense of loss. That’s all you can feel at the beginning.
So I left my home office and went into our garden. This is where I go to break from work and life. It’s my new “happy place” that allows me to instantly pause and reflect without any distractions. The growing plants and vegetables give me instant grounding. They reconnect me to the Earth and what’s truly real.
As I sat there and drifted into mild meditation I realized that sadness and anger were not in motion. In other words, I expected to feel these emotions… yet I didn’t.
Instead, my mindset was very fixed on natural acceptance and gratitude. Can you believe that??? We just lost a future child and I was grateful. Sounds crazy, right…
But here’s the beauty in all this – I wasn’t grateful or accepting of the situation. I was grateful for the other side of the situation. My mind wasn’t able to dwell on the negative impact, but rather, it was forced to look at the positive outcome.
Let me explain…
Many people will fall victim to a situation like this, especially if it’s their first attempt at having children. I can completely empathize with that scenario. If this was our first attempt I doubt I’d be writing this, nor should my reflections provide any sort of compatibility with that experience. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost their first attempt or is still facing the challenge of having a first child. That’s some real pain.
However, we are blessed to have already experienced the phenomenon of having a child, twice!
So instead, my thoughts were focused on what I have and how this was meant to be.
- We already have two beautiful and healthy children.
- Gabrielle is in her mid 30’s, which puts her at risk of delivering another child.
- We took a lot of time to decide on having a 3rd child… and quite frankly it wasn’t a solid yes/yes from both of us for a while.
- We strongly considered adoption before deciding on a natural 3rd pregnancy.
In reflection of these core thoughts, this felt like what was intended.
Or at least, I was content with it. That’s not to say it made me happy… but I was okay with it. We are so blessed to have the life we have, and many people face way more hardship on a daily basis. I remind myself of this often.
Additionally, I’ve put time and energy into a growth mindset over the last few years. This certainly helped with how I handled the news. To be more specific:
- I’m a huge advocate of seeing the world as what’s meant to be is indeed meant to be.
- I’ve spent countless hours reading up on psychology, mindset and consciousness, which have influenced me to always pause and consider both sides of any circumstance.
- Most importantly, I have a HUGE support group in the form of my “dad’s mastermind” over at Front Row Dads. Since joining that brotherhood my life has changed. I would not be able to process this the way I can without FRD’s influence. So another opportunity to thank JV and team!
When Gabrielle got home I embraced her and we had our moment of tears. We spent the day surrounded by family and worked through this in a silent but subtle manner. It was an odd day of mixed emotions to say the least.
However, it was not a day of depression. We did not let this destroy us. On the contrary, we accepted it with grace and looked towards the future.
I think that’s the whole point of this story and why I feel compelled to share.
It’s easy to let something like this destroy you. It’s easy to say, “Fuck you” to whoever, or whatever, you believe in. That’s how most people deal with this kind of thing.
But that doesn’t do anything positive. It actually creates additional damage. Falling victim to something like this creates a manifestation of deeper pain and fear, which sits at the bottom of your sub-conscious and slowly makes you a more bitter, angry person. I’m not saying it’s easy to avoid this… but the reality is that there’s no good that can come from it.
For us, it was more like – Damn… this really sucks. But… we have so much to be grateful for. And somehow we know this will make us stronger, wiser, and more prepared for what’s yet to come. We accept that this has underlying meaning, which we may see in a few months – or – many years down the road.
That’s the key – acceptance of a greater meaning.
Life can be such a beautiful journey. It’s up to us to decide how that journey unfolds. We can only control what we can truly control. This was not in our control.
So what next?
That’s a good question! For now, there is imminent reason to pause on the baby-making. Like I said, the signs have shown us that this was intended. However, that doesn’t mean the Jafarian clan is to stop at two children!
In fact, I’ve already submerged myself in research and logistics around international adoption. Stay tuned for progress on that front 😉
Ali is a father, husband and serial entrepreneur with a deep drive to create. He writes, records, codes and builds things to inspire the artist in all of us.