“This journey has included joy and pain, plans, dreams, invasive medical procedures, unsolicited advice, stupid comments, jealously, tears, adorable outfits left behind in the store, questions with no answers and many dollars spent on pregnancy tests that turned out negative.”
BECCA | ALL FOUR ONE
I’d like to preface this by saying that above anything else, in the process of grieving it’s important to let yourself be where you’re at and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Don’t push yourself to feel a certain way because other people have shared their story and they’ve felt a certain way. Your story is your story. Feel what you feel. Give yourself time. Ask for help if you need it. Choose someone you trust and check in with them (or ask them to check in with you), if you aren’t getting better or your grief feels too overwhelming seek professional help and suggest that your partner do the same. If you have other children who need care pour into them (and again ask for help if you need it). Love yourself, take care of yourself. It WILL get better, give it time.
I learned about miscarriage at a very young age. My mom lost a baby before she had me and my sister. She was very open about it and we grew up knowing about our brother. She had named him and loved him and it was part of the story of our family. I don’t think I necessarily put any emotional weight in it, it was something that had happened, it had been sad but Mom and Dad were happy now, they loved us and they were to thankful for us.
Even though I knew about my mom’s miscarriage, when I found out I was pregnant the first time it never crossed my mind that I might lose my baby. My mom’s loss was not because of any specific “problem”, it just happened. She went on to have two healthy pregnancies. My husband and I were young and healthy, we wanted nothing more than to be parents and were overjoyed at the prospect of our “monkeybean” joining our family.
It’s just over five years later and I’m in the midst of fresh grief over our fourth miscarriage - a pregnancy we saw as a miracle after three years of infertility. I’ve never carried a baby to full term, I’ve never even carried a baby to the second trimester. We’ve received no answers from doctors, even after extensive testing.
August 2013, September 2014, August 2015 and July 2018. Four lives loved and lost, four summers marred by grief.
This journey has included joy and pain, plans, dreams, invasive medical procedures, unsolicited advice, stupid comments, jealousy, tears, adorable outfits left behind in the store, questions with no answers and many dollars spent on pregnancy tests that turned out negative.
I wish with all my heart that those babies were with me. That I could see them and hold them and tell them how much I love them and how much they changed me.
I’m not a hero. I’m not perfect. This journey is a struggle. I’ve been angry and jealous, I’ve punched pillows and screamed. I’ve avoided baby showers, and hid people on social media when they’ve made pregnancy announcements because I didn’t think I could handle nine months of ultrasound photos and morning sickness complaints and gender reveals. I’ve smiled politely when people have given me fertility advice or asked me when we’re going to have kids (or if we’re trying) and then been annoyed about it once they’ve left. It’s not easy, it’s painful.
All that said, if I’ve learned anything over these past years it’s that (when I let it), the joy outweighs the pain.
I still smile when I see a baby or a pregnant belly.
I still revel in holding an infant while he or she sleeps.
I still giggle when a child gives me a smile, even if they don’t know me.
I still get excited to shop for a baby shower.
There’s a twinge of pain, a moment (or more) of wishing it was me. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes I ask, “Why them, why not me”? But always, always, the joy of new life outweighs the pain that the new life isn’t my child. It has taken time, and with this fresh pain there are a few things that I’m struggling to handle again (pregnancy announcements on social media for instance), but I have found that as I have worked through my grief over these years, striving for love, joy and peace, I have found those things. They aren’t without pain, but they also include hope and healing.
I wish there was an easy answer, a pill we could take or a book we could read that would fix the pain in an instant. There’s not. There’s time, and there’s love. There’s taking care of ourselves and being honest about how we are feeling. We’re all different, we all grieve in different ways, it’s not going to look the same for you as it has for me.
Dear Mama, I’m sorry you’re here. I’m sorry you’re hurting. I’m sorry this is part of your story. The only thing I can say that will (hopefully) be of some comfort is that you are not alone. Five years ago I shared about my first miscarriage because I felt so alone, I felt like it had to be a secret, I felt like I needed to just pretend like it hadn’t happened and get back to “normal”.
I wasn’t alone. It didn’t need to be a secret. It happened. Normal didn’t exist anymore, I was a mother without a child and my life was changed forever.
Do what you need to do. I needed to share my story and I have continued to need that. You might not want to talk about it, that’s okay. You might want to just share with your partner, or your mom or your best friend or a therapist, that’s okay too. You might want to write a blog, or a book, or a song, or a movie. You might want to paint. You might want to sign up for a boxing class and beat the tar out of a punching bag. Do what you need to do. Grieve how you need to grieve. Take care of yourself, love yourself, give yourself time, and ask for help, it’s there.