With Mother's Day almost here, I am being intensely vulnerable. I have gone through this twice and there was nothing easy about it. Some pieces of this journey were downright terrifying because I didn't realize it could be so intense. Miscarriage is one of the loneliest places you can find yourself, because nobody really talks about it so you think you're falling apart and you are sure something is terribly wrong with you. If this is in any way helpful to any woman, my work here is done. Please feel free to share with another miscarriage mama if you find any piece of this to be relevant.
"I don't think most people truly understand how much is lost when a baby dies. You don't just lose a baby, you also lose the one and two and ten and sixteen year-old she would have become. You lose Christmas mornings, loose teeth, and first days of school..." You lose goodnight kisses, birthdays, and picnics, and bath times, and bubbles... You just lose it all.
Miscarriage is people complimenting you months later on how great you look for being pregnant and you realize news of your loss doesn't travel as quickly as news of your pregnancy. They feel bad for their blunder and try to say something comforting. You blink back tears and nod your head. At least knowing you can get pregnant is irrelevant, because if there's anything this pregnancy taught you is that pregnancy ends in a broken heart. Being told that God doesn't make mistakes implies that your loss is insignificant and perhaps a mistake that God erased.
Nobody tells you that miscarriage hurts like hell. That you will delete your pregnancy apps on your phone in the darkest hours of the night and replace them with a contraction counter. Every two minutes like clock work, the pain takes your breath away. And then you run to the bathroom and blood gushes and things come out of you and somehow the physical pain has diminished while your heart screams.
Nobody tells you that you will still go through postpartum recovery. Your hormones will make you crazy. You might cry uncontrollably. You're physically weak and spent. Pouring laundry detergent into the wash machine is an exhausting task. If you overdo it, you might have pain and bleeding again. You have postpartum hair loss. It might even take you longer to physically "bounce back" after "just" a first trimester miscarriage than it did after a full term birth.
You see your doctor two weeks later while your heart is still reeling but you think you might be pulling the pieces of your life back together. She asks how you're coping. You're pretty sure you're okay. The loss has set in but the long term emotional healing hasn't really started yet, but you don't know that.
Nobody really talks about postpartum depression with miscarriage. It is intense because it is compounded by grief. Grief is love with no place to go. You have all these pieces of your life to rearrange. Your long term plans are no longer applicable because your dreams are shattered.
Your newsfeed feels like knives in your heart with all the pregnancy and gender announcements. You start un-following people you genuinely care about because their joy mixed with uncomfortable pregnancy complaints is not something you can cope with. Baby showers make you want to crawl in a hole, and people ask when you're going to start trying for a girl. You can't listen to music anymore--even your favorite songs taunt you. The things you used to be so good at and passionate about slip away and you don't even care anymore. Sometimes you take long showers just to cry. All the pain you thought you had already dealt with and healed from in your past returns to haunt you. You quit sleeping at night as you try to deal with these mind reeling feelings that you have never felt before. You're not the same person you used to be. Your body, your heart, your mind, every part of you feels so broken.
But nobody talks about this, so it's something you suffer through silently because you think you shouldn't be feeling this way. Maybe you were "only" in your first trimester; it's not like your friend who had a stillbirth, or that child who couldn't beat cancer. You tell yourself you have no right to feel so much trauma over your loss. One foot in front of the other. Smile and pretend everything's okay and maybe magically it will be.
Fellow Miscarriage Mama, you need to know you're not alone. Maybe you felt all the things I did, or maybe your journey is completely different. Either way, the road towards healing takes so much longer than you expect it to, and the grief never really goes away, but your heart will eventually find comfort. Reach out to someone you trust who cares about you; you can even talk to me (Email --> firstname.lastname@example.org). Get help if you feel like you can't get a grip. It's important for you to understand that all the pain and sorrow of grief has to be felt and experienced so you can move through the process. Grief is all the love you wanted to give, it's not going to just go away. But your life can grow and blossom around it, and you will still find happiness eventually when you learn to let it be part of your story. Don't fight it. As screwed up as I felt all those months, I knew I needed to let myself feel all that pain if I wanted to get through it.
If you're reading this because you care about someone who has experienced this pain, bless you. It's important for you to know what she may be walking through silently. You should know that words don't make the pain go away, and there's nothing you can do to take away her grief. But you can be there. Support. Listen. Care. Remember there are dates that can be triggers (due date, the date she found out about her pregnancy, the date she miscarried, Mother's & Father's Days, etc.). Send flowers, buy a plant, gift special jewelry, get her a bottle of wine and chocolate, take her out for coffee, go hiking or on a fun road trip, if she has other children offer to babysit so she and her significant other can go out on a date, ask her how she's doing and accept her reply by assuring her of your thoughts and care... These were the things that meant the most to me.
This has taken me several weeks and so many tears to write. I'm not one to be this vulnerable, but it needs to be said because nothing feels so lonely and hard to navigate as miscarriage. Mother's Day is this weekend. Most miscarriage moms are thinking about their babies--the ones nobody really acknowledges. They think about what birthday that child would be celebrating this year, and the little flowers that are starting to blossom this time of year feel like little Mother's Day kisses from heaven. Our hearts still break even years later, but it's going to be okay.