This past spring, I made several stops on the Despite Lupus speaking circuit, getting the chance to connect with hundreds of lupites (and their loved ones) along the way. It was a wonderful sequence of events, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself every step (or should I stay "stop") along the way.
At the time of my travel, I was about 15 weeks pregnant...not quite showing, but far enough along to make mention of the fact whenever appropriate. And boy, did I have a receptive audience! So many women (and men, too), shared with me their own personal lupus pregnancy success stories (or those of their wives!), encouraging me to continue to take good care of myself, do as the doctor says, and not overdo. Of course, I heard the occasional not-so-successful story, and those were important to hear, too. They're a good reminder of just how serious, taxing, and, yes, even devastating the disease and its complications can be. But it was a wonderful showering of kindness and consideration all around.
What was particularly touching and what I wasn't prepared for, was how different it felt to be hearing these sincere, heartfelt, empathetic stories and well wishes from people who, just like me, had embarked upon motherhood, despite lupus. Most of them were perfect strangers, and yet, their words hit home more than most, because they knew just what it was like to plan for and go through a lupus pregnancy - all of the tests, medications, considerations, and possible complications. The level of understanding my fellow lupites and I shared was truly remarkable - and to know that these people understand, like really understand what a lupus pregnancy is all about was an incredibly comforting feeling. When my fellow lupites wished me good luck with the pregnancy, I could tell that they really knew what those words meant.
Don't get me wrong - every pregnancy needs a bit of luck, and most people, generally speaking, are quite considerate when it comes to the average pregnant lady. But to be able to look into the eyes of someone who knows just how hard it might have been for you to even consider pregnancy, who understands the ramifications of being pregnant with a chronic illness, and who identifies with the challenges that lie ahead for you and your baby after pregnancy, was something else. It was some kind of wonderful.
So for those of you who wished me well on my pregnancy and shared your own personal experiences - thank you. Your words meant so much!