I’m just getting back in the swing of things. I had been on vacation seeing my family in South Carolina and it was absolutely gorgeous there. I was glad I was surrounded by nature when things starting going horribly, horribly wrong…
I had a miscarriage…
In my head, I struggled on whether I would write about such a personal thing. But I had trouble finding support. So I decided to write as healing for me, and to help any other woman out there going through the same thing. No one knows how to deal with it, yet it’s pretty common. The statistic is 1 in 5 pregnancies. Ironically, I didn’t know of any family member who had gone through it, and they were at a loss for words. Even though they wanted to help (and I truly know they meant well), some things just really stung.
Things You Shouldn’t Say
Everything happens for a reason: This is cliche and is said a lot when traumatic events occur. Yes, I may understand this sometime down the line, but in the heat of the moment it is not comforting. How can anyone have a reason for taking this innocent life?
Miscarriages happen all the time. You can just try again: Whether you think it or not, this is a loss no matter how far along in pregnancy you were. I was almost 12 weeks. At this point, my husband and I had really gotten attached to the idea. It jump-started our house search, we started telling family, and I even purchased cute little clothes. Yes, I can try again, but a miscarriage is not forgotten. When you hear to “try again” it’s almost like you don’t even acknowledge the existence of the miscarriage.
Don’t tell me what I should be doing: I had some advice on certain supplements to take or specific foods to eat after the fact. I know they meant well, but during the shock of it all, all you want is support, not advice. It also makes you feel like maybe if you did that, nothing would’ve gone wrong and then you start blaming yourself. Believe me, it’s nothing you did wrong.
I had the miscarriage naturally. When I started spotting, I didn’t worry too much because I knew it was possible during pregnancy and not threatening. After a few days, it became more than spotting and that’s when I worried. Although some pregnant women bleed and can carry full-term, I knew that was not the case for me. I wasn’t sure what to look for during the miscarriage, all I can say is I had lower back pain, and strong period cramps. When it passed through, I felt so much better (physically that is). I knew for sure it had happened then. It was very hard to think it was all over that fast and I struggled with finding a way to commemorate its life. Below, are a few ideas I had and I hope it can help you too.
Ways To Remember Their Life
- Give the baby a name. We named ours June so we’d always remember.
- Light a candle.
- Buy a plant.
- Create something- anything- its the process and not the product that will see you through.
- Give your self permission to grieve and do not apologize for crying.
- Open your heart to ‘ growing’ on and ‘letting go,’ not forgetting.
- Don’t turn away or hide from your the ‘what-ifs’
- What if she had my grandmothers eyes…
- What if he could have changed the world…
We discredit our intuition about them. Taking the time to acknowledge your heart’s understanding of who they might have been is very healing. You have to be gentle to yourself and allow the grieving process.
- What do we do when we say good bye? We remember. The heart doesn’t understand sudden absence. It’s confusing. It throws us out of balance. So ‘remember’ your baby in a way that is meaningful to you.
If you’re really wanting to help someone in need, the best thing is to acknowledge what they’re going through. Be there for that person. Let them grieve. Most of the time, I just wanted someone there for me to say how much it sucked.
What helped me?
This is one statement that I will never forget and probably the only thing that was comforting. Obviously, a miscarriage is a huge loss. You feel like you let this baby down and you feel horrible because you’ll never really get to meet this wonderful being. But, there is hope:
“When a miscarriage happens for whatever reason, its soul goes to the other side and waits for you. When you become pregnant again, it will be that same little soul. Boy or girl, same soul. It is waiting for you and is meant to be yours. It is not lost.”
That quote gave me chills and I cried good tears from this. It then didn’t feel like such a loss to me. It gave me hope that I would meet my child someday. Going off of that statement, I had a couple women backing that statement up.
~ One woman had a miscarriage and had 3 beautiful girls there after. Some years later, she visited a renowned psychic and was told the 3 child was the spirit of the miscarriage. (Good chills, right?)
~ Another friend had a son who was handicap. She always wanted another child and tried for many years. After her son died at 10 years old, she got pregnant right away. Her intuition has always been that her second child was the soul of the first.
These stories as well as the stories below have really helped me get through. One recurring thought I had with this being my first was, “Will I ever be able to carry full term?” I went out in search of success stories. These have helped me on a rough day I hope that they will help you when you feel like it can’t happen for you.
- “My second child was a miscarriage. I went on to have 2 more children ~Katherine, Age 22 | Houston, TX
- “My 4th child was a miscarriage. 4 weeks later I conceived my daughter ~Renata, Age 26 | Warrenville, IL
- “I have had 10 miscarriages. It is a devastating blow as a women you can’t help but wonder if you did something wrong. What is wrong with me? It makes you question yourself. These are all normal reactions to the devastating loss. In my case it turned out I had a clotting disorder that all my doctors missed till I was pregnant with my youngest son. I wasn’t defective my doctors just never took the time to find out why. I no longer dwell on my losses I dwell on the 4 blessings that God gave me.” ~ Nancy, Age 30 | Pittsburgh, PA
- I had three miscarriages. One right after another:( I got pregnant as soon as we started trying again each time- except after the third. Then a year later still nothing, so I made an appointment to see a fertility doctor. He said there was not much he could do. So I left his office in tears. Then a midwife friend gave me some advice, and I conceived that first month. She was later born into my eager arms at 37 weeks to the day. I just had another baby, a boy, and he was born at 37 weeks and 2 days:) ~ Jennifer, Age 35 | Eagle River, AK
Lastly, I wanted to end with this statement. This woman is a nurse who has worked in a midwifery office. She has attended births for the last 10 years.
“I’ve experienced my own losses as well as many other mamas. I think what is missing most of all is the truth of this experience. I think validation is of VITAL importance.
Because – there is this ugly and odd idea that a miscarriage isn’t losing a ‘real’ baby. And that it was probably damaged or not meant to live’ anyway. And that it’s ok – because you can just go for a do over and try again. No big deal.
What an incredibly insensitive (or desensitized?!) culture we live in!
The secret, unspoken, and unvalidated truth hiding in all of that remains though: a miscarrage -at any stage- is a shocking and life changing loss.
A brilliant shining spark of impossible possibility that somehow ignited miraculously within YOU.
While waiting breathlessly for the first of so many other firsts to follow:
* butterfly soft flutters of tiny toes and hands and heels that your hands will forever ache to feel the echo of as they press against your palm-
* a beautiful round proud belly- hiding the most magical surprise
* and an entire life time of moments with a beautiful little spirit that will make you both deliriously happy and heartbroken all in the same day.
Because their hurt is your hurt. Their hope is your hope. We become immediately forever and always entangled around them the moment we are aware they exist- heart, body mind and soul. The absence becomes a hollow hurt we allow to fossilize and harden and wrap our broken hearts and empty arms around.
That is the seed and universal truth of motherhood. We plant out hearts in the possibility of the promise of all those moments to be- regardless of where we plant that promise…
* in the dry desert of a loveless marriage
* the concrete prison of an abusive relationship
* or the perfect garden of true love
… and yet we allow others to create some bullshit imaginary line in a time frame where we mist cross over or our loss is trivialized and of so little value that it is regarded as easily replaceable, and all that the hope and love that we fed our little spark, was a waste of time-,
Because ‘they’ labeled it as defective… Not worthy of the chance it was given to grow… To form… To dream… To love… To be born…
Without ever even knowing a moments connection with our tiny miracles, they are dismissed with clinical certainty and cruel audacity. And we, as mothers, as women, accept this absolutely. Because
we lack the validation to know better.
You experienced the loss of something irreplaceable, something priceless and rare. You have lost a lifetime of growth and love and laughter and tears without ever being given a chance to experience even a moment of the heart wrenching bliss found in the physical reality of its tiny new form.
Validation, I feel is key.
Because we also seem to think that as mothers and even as women, we are not entitled to our pain because the measure of it does not quantify against a million other mothers singular and unique suffering measured on some imaginary scale of earned misery
And so instead we tell ourselves…
* It could have been worse.
* We ‘should’ be thankful it wasn’t painful, as bloody, as late or as numerous …as hers.
We minimize our hurt. We are not entitled even to that.
Hidden in the echo of our heartache the missing pieces of our possibilities wait to be acknowledged and validated by own hard won truths, and the seeds of empty promises that our bodies and gods left unfulfilled – drown and are washed away by our unshared hidden tears.”
~Written from Jennifer Lynn Allison’s birth trauma journal | www.moonbellies.webs.com