Weeks after losing my 12-week pregnancy, I’m overflowing with loneliness. It’s odd. Exploding and imploding all at once – my hollow shell seeking peace through a lonely, thorny, erratic existence.
I’ve surrounded myself with the poetry and stories of other mothers with empty arms and slack torsos. They tell me that what I’m feeling is normal. Grief will hit me in waves. No one understands, and yet, so many have walked this exact path. And I argue with myself. How can this be normal? How has humanity survived when so many of us are consumed with grief, death, sadness? What is the key to this endurance? Hope seems impossible. And what is even the point of hope? What is the point of bringing someone into this world – this world full of grief, death, sadness? I guess I’m just being hit with one of those waves of grief. Can this sadness please just “ease with time” like everyone keeps promising?
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My normal sucks right now. I can rationalize some of it: I feel sad when a friend, then two friends announce their healthy pregnancies timed nearly identical to what was my own. My child was going to have two other friends with mid-summer birthdays – our families were going to share trays of cupcakes and melty popsicles on the warm Lake Michigan beach, celebrating our kiddos together. I know I’ll be sad and just a bit jealous. Especially at their springtime baby showers, especially when photos of squishy faces take over our group texts in early summer, and especially when no one can get together anymore because they all have fresh little ones to bathe with love. It’s torture, but it’s okay. It’s normal.
And yet. I did not expect to be brought to tears because the rainy smell of wind last night smelled the same as the brisk wind that slapped my teary cheeks just moments after seeing that sonogram with “no cardiac activity.” I walked home yesterday feeling empty in my heart and enraged that time hasn’t moved fast enough to erase that memory. Is this normal?
I didn’t expect to be sad every time I see the drying rack full of wool socks in the bathroom – it gives me the same uncoupling that I felt on the day I miscarried. Like it was yesterday. Like time froze and now I have to re-live the exact horrific moment – sitting on the toilet, looking at mismatched socks as a massive blood clot dripped down my thigh. This can’t be normal.
I didn’t expect a lump in my throat at the sight of a random box of blueberries or apricots at the grocery store, or a hummingbird flitting outside. My pregnancy app had compared my little one’s size to those things, documenting its growth as I marveled at my child’s spectacular presence. Not knowing that I’d blankly stare at this real hummingbird, and wonder how much time would have to pass before I could once again marvel at its iridescent throat without seeing a wavy black & white sonogram overlaid on its tiny wings and body. What even is normal anymore?
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This profound loneliness overwhelms me. Not because others don’t share this experience. One in four, they remind me — #1in4. I stand hand in hand with all you strong women – our eyes a bit watery, shoulders slumped in surrender, humbled out of our joy. We all understand. But there’s another void.
It’s the unique loneliness that comes from of having shared my body in the delicate magic of two lives sheltered under one skin. We were together when I slept and when I woke up when I showered and patted the small hillock between my hips, whispering words of love and encouragement. The watery sensation of butterflies fluttering deep inside my core compelled me to turn up the symphonies and turn down news of hate and terror on the radio, a vain attempt at giving my little passenger a more loving world. We shared every bite that I ate, every drop of water, and every sip of coffee that I guiltily craved but rationed for the sake of the tiny beating heart.
It is such exquisite loneliness – losing that tiny little companion, and all the hopes that it carried. And now what? I just don’t know. Time keeps moving at its strange pace – too fast that I forget those fleeting, sweet sensations, yet too slow to ease the pain of loss. I’m exploding with loneliness. Unexpected smells and sights interrupt my rational brain, ripping to shreds the emotions that I work so hard to balance. And this is just how normal looks now.
Photo Credit: Author’s Own
About the author: Sakhi Vyas works in public radio, and lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her husband, John. After a pregnancy loss was over Thanksgiving weekend 2018, she’s taken to writing and art in pursuit of healing and peace.