Why My Heart Breaks When You Say, 'Enjoy It While You Can'

How can I tell a stranger or acquaintance we weren't meant to be in Zagreb alone?
11/17/2016 07:58 am ET Updated Nov 18, 2016

This year, my husband and I embarked on an international life as American diplomats. The chance to live somewhere new, explore the world and learn languages was enchanting and we have loved the journey so far.

Here in our first post, we are surrounded by people with families. Zagreb is a safe, affordable place to live, which appeals to expats who are raising kids. When I meet new people, I share that we have two dogs but no kids yet. And then they usually say, “OH! Enjoy it while you can! Travel, do what you want - it ALL changes once you have kids.”

And then my heart breaks a little.

Courtesy of @morganlecheeseman on Instagram

I answer normally and agree with them. How can I tell a stranger or acquaintance that we were not meant to be in Zagreb alone? That we planned on being “Province: Family of Three” (plus our dogs, of course)?

We were expecting our first child in June of 2016. This was supposed to be our BIG year of change, of new beginnings, of our evolution.

Instead of finding out the gender at our 20-week ultrasound, we instead found out that we were not going to be parents after all. To say we were devastated would be a gross understatement. We had a little girl we would never get to meet, hold, kiss or raise. It was just not our time.

 

We had a little girl we would never get to meet, hold, kiss or raise. It was just not our time.

 

Friends and family who did not already know the terrible news soon deduced it by seeing my lack of pregnancy postings on social media. There was radio silence on social media after posting our announcement, updates, cravings ― so it was not hard to figure out that something went wrong.

We met at the University of Kansas, and you could say our blood runs crimson and blue.
Created by Morgan Province
We met at the University of Kansas, and you could say our blood runs crimson and blue.

It was a rough winter.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so the fact that were sans baby at this moment in time had to mean something. But it took awhile to get past the stage of constantly asking, “why us?” I read pregnancy books, followed the rules, saw the doctor; but it did not matter. We were part of the unlucky 25 percent who experience pregnancy loss (and one percent of those who lose a baby after 13 weeks).

Despite the sadness, there was an enormous amount of support. We got hugs, flowers, pep talks ― I had no idea this happened so often. Friends said they went through the same heartache then had one, two, three healthy kids later. We have a lot to look forward to.

 

But when people do not know the backstory (understandably so), they like to tell us we are lucky to have this time together. We need to travel as much as possible.

 

Moving this last summer was stressful, yes, but also cleansing. We had a new start, time to travel, to just be us. But when people do not know the backstory (understandably so), they like to tell us we are lucky to have this time together. We need to travel as much as possible. Life is so much harder when you have a family.

Visiting Venice, Italy
Morgan Province
Visiting Venice, Italy

Listen, our friends are right. I agree that this is the quiet before the storm.

My rational head responds, “Yes! You are so right!”

My emotional heart responds, “OUCH! But we did not want it this way.”

I cannot change the way I feel, but maybe I do not need to. Each time I think of that time in January, I am reminded of how strong my husband is, how supportive our family and friends are and how excited I am to start our family.

I look forward to the day someone says to me, “You are so lucky to be his/her mom. Enjoy the baby years while you can.”

My heart won’t be breaking then.

Rovinj, Croatia
Morgan Province
Rovinj, Croatia

Morgan Province is a freelance photographer and writer who lives in Zagreb, Croatia. Follow her journey on Twitter and Instagram or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn't make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grievedifferently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let's talk about living with loss. If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at strongertogether@huffingtonpost.com.

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