But, for some odd reason, I was able to console myself and control my grief by rationalizing that triplets weren’t a ‘traditional’ occurrence. I thought that perhaps my body wasn’t strong enough to carry such a load. And, that’s how I coped with the loss. As for those three fibroids, well, once again, my OB-GYN didn’t make a fuss about them. Though I knew in my heart that there was a link, I moved on.
What I didn’t know then, that I know now is that I’d never really gotten over the loss. My whole life changed. The notion of pregnancy no longer evoked happy thoughts. Instead, even the thought of pregnancy evoked fear and anxiety in me.
The next year, I would suffer a second miscarriage. Ironically, this one occurred just weeks shy of my defending my dissertation—the time that I would have given birth to triplets. Six months after that, I experienced a third miscarriage. And, eight months later a fourth.
When it was all said and done, I had a total of four fibroids, one the size of a grapefruit and three the size of tennis balls. By this time, I was more than certain that these fibroids were culprits behind the miscarriages. But my OB-GYN was disturbingly lackadaisical. She even suggested possible chromosomal abnormalities between my husband and me.
Unbeknownst to me then, I’d went into a deep, dark hole of depression. I felt isolated. I shied away from hanging out, or even talking to friends and family members. I regularly lashed out at my husband over the smallest things. I cried all the time. Too proud to seek help, I put all of my time, energy and efforts into my work and workouts.
Studies show that Black women rarely recognize symptoms of depression and other mental health issues. It’s the ole’ black superwoman syndrome, and I’d totally fallen into it. On the outside, I was an exemplar of good health, happiness and success. On the inside, I was completely falling apart. I felt like a complete and utter failure.
In addition to depression, I dealt with anxiety, and frequently went through periods of anger, frustration, envy at other women who were having babies, regret, hopelessness and even entitlement, often vocalizing how unfair it was that I had to go through this when I did everything ‘right.’