A loss, not a miscarriage
We didn’t miscarry, we lost our baby. There was nothing I did when carrying this baby to cause this. I didn’t “miscarry”. I carried correctly. I carried safely. I carried with love, intention, and protection. I carried our baby just right, but our baby didn’t make it.
I think of every little decision I made after seeing those two pink lines. I cut out all diet drinks because I didn’t want our baby to be exposed to aspartame. I drank a glass of almond milk every night because I knew our baby needed calcium. I snacked every two hours because our baby would make me so sick if I didn’t. I boldly asked strangers to pick up my 50-pound suitcase while traveling across the country, because I didn’t want to risk hurting our baby by lifting something too heavy. I cried in the mountains of Wyoming because I knew the horseback ride would be incredible, but I couldn’t risk falling with our baby in my belly. I could no longer think only of my needs. I was no longer allowed to be selfish. With every single action I thought of our baby first, and myself second.
Now that I’m no longer carrying our baby, every action I take is a reminder that I am now acting only for myself. Where there were two, now there is only one. I sobbed in my coffee cup the first morning I could take a sip. During my pregnancy, the taste, and sometimes even the smell of coffee turned my stomach upside down. As a self-proclaimed coffee fanatic, I now felt guilty for being able to drink it again, for enjoying it again, for acknowledging that I had missed something that was out of the question while our baby was still a part of me. I would’ve given anything to gag on that coffee and still feel that little life inside of me.
Isolated and alone
The hard truth is, you are forever changed once you’ve grown a life, once you’ve become a parent, even if that life didn’t make it past six weeks. Once you’ve had life growing inside of you, every breath you take without it feels lonely and empty, like you’ve been abandoned, forsaken. It’s the most isolating feeling you may ever have, even if you’re unfortunate enough to have friends who have known the exact same pain.
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It breaks my heart that so many women in my life have experienced this gut-wrenching heartbreak. It breaks my heart, even more, to think that so many women in my life have experienced this without ever talking about it. It is awful. It is unbearable. It is lonely. It will break you. You NEED people to talk to, even if all they can do is listen. You NEED to be held when you’re shaking with sobs. You NEED to reach out and let the people you love know what is happening to you or you will sink into the darkness and drown there. You NEED to ask for help.
Sharing our grief
We kept our secret as well as we could and no one knew that we were planning for a baby in June. We were filled with joy, but also fear of getting too excited, or letting anyone else get too excited with us. We knew that we weren’t “safe”, that anything could happen, and our plans could disappear as quickly as they were made. And after one devastating night in the emergency room, that’s exactly what happened, our plans vanished. Life, as we knew it, as we had imagined it, was turned completely upside down.
We didn’t get to share our excitement, but now we are sharing our grief. We have reached out to friends and family and without their love and support I know I would’ve drowned in the darkness.
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No one will have the right words. Not one single person will have something to say that will help you get through it. Not even the people who have suffered the same loss will have words to heal you because now they’re on the other side of it. They made it through, probably went on to have healthy babies, and everything you’re feeling is so fresh and raw. You feel like you’ll never get to the other side of it. You have to feel all of it. No one can take your pain away. And there’s so much to feel. The emotions are like waves that knock you down and cripple you to the core. Your friends and family are your light. You have to let them in. Even if it’s just a few; even if it’s only one.
If you know someone who has been through this loss, or who is going through it now, just be there. Listen. Hug. Bring cake. You don’t have to have the right words, because they don’t exist. You don’t have to wait for an invitation, just show up. The odds are 1 in 4 women, so you may know someone who has been through it and never said a word. Someone who smiled through every bit of their pain and shoved it away out of sight, because they felt embarrassed or uncomfortable, or maybe they didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable by talking about it.
Think of that, before you ask a couple when they’re planning to “start a family”. Maybe their family is complete. Maybe they have been unsuccessfully trying to grow their family for years. Maybe they already started one, but instead of sharing their excitement, they’re burying the grief.
Photo by Iswanto Arif on Unsplash
About the Author: Tiffany is a mama to two fur babies here on earth and two angel babies in heaven. She found writing to be the best way to work through her grief after loss and she hopes that by sharing her story, she can somehow help other women work through theirs. Find her on: https://www.instagram.com/