I’m already crying. What I’m about to say is very near and dear to me, but I feel strongly I need to share.
I had miscarriages for my first and third pregnancies. Nothing could have prepared me for the devastation that would ensue. I felt like I did something wrong. I remember thinking that I shouldn’t have lifted that heavy box or gone to Zumba class. I blamed myself for losing my babies. Feeling that responsibility was crippling. I felt like something was wrong with my body. I felt betrayed. I felt like I let Keegan down. I’ve mourned the loss of my two babies who I never got to meet, hold, smell, or sing lullabies to. I’ve mourned the life we had planned with them in it. I’ve mourned not being able to watch them grow up. There are two ‘future families’ I didn’t get to know and love and be a grandma to. My heart has been shattered with the loss of it all.
Anger also became real to me. I teetered on the edge of bitterness. I was angry at Heavenly Father. I was angry at all the happy families with young kids. I was angry at pregnant women. I was especially angry seeing posts on Facebook with pregnancy or birth announcements. I knew deep down that I shouldn’t be angry at all of these people, but I felt it nonetheless. I remember having a break down after reading someone’s post on Facebook complaining about being pregnant. What I wouldn’t give to have morning sickness, discomfort and lack of sleep all for the purpose of having a baby!!!
Each month after both miscarriages, I’d have such hope to be pregnant again. I remember reliving all the loss, pain and disappointment of my miscarriages when I would have my period. Having children is a righteous desire. Why was it so hard??? And why were there so many unwanted pregnancies and/or sucky parents in this world? Sometimes I’d get swallowed up in emotions and the what if’s. When I finally was pregnant again, I was SO paranoid. Every time I had any kind of dischargey feeling, my heart would drop to my stomach. Was it a sign of miscarriage? I had anxiety every time I went to the bathroom. I was riddled with fear before I’d wipe. I was so afraid of seeing blood.
I remember hearing the phrases, “You’ll have others” or “Something was wrong with the baby, so it’s a blessing it didn’t survive”. People would try to comfort me by telling me 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Those people were right, but they were also wrong. I just needed hugs, love, empathy and probably food. Food is always a helpful thing. Everyone grieves differently. Some want solitude and some want to be surrounded by people. The universal thing everyone needs/wants is food. (I had so many people bring food after my mom died. It was amazing. Some friends even brought me a basket filled with paper plates, cutlery, fruits and munchies. That was genius.)
I know people often times don’t know what to say when tragedy strikes. I’m sure I’ve said the wrong thing. If you don’t know what to say? Be honest and tell the person that you don’t know what to say. Mourn with them. Listen to them if they are ready to talk. Share your story of loss, if they’re ready to listen.
(After my mom died, I loathed hearing “I’m sorry for your loss” and “She’s in a better place”. One of my friends who suffered a great loss said he hated hearing, “If there’s anything I can do…”. He had the best response. He asked someone if he could have their car because they did said “anything”. I’ve found that if you feel like you should do something, go for it. Just do it. Those in mourning probably won’t ever reach out to ask for help. They’re just trying to survive.)
I also became so sensitive when people would ask when Keegan and I would start a family. Or when we’d have our next baby. (What I really wanted to do was answer with Nunya. Nunya business. I would’ve added a damn in there too.) I know people are well-meaning. I’ve been that person, but I’ve learned now to generally not ask people that extremely personal question. Newsflash: it really isn’t anyone’s business! Miscarriages and infertility and timing affect this. And what if you don’t want to have children of your own? It’s really none of our business, regardless of how much we care about our family and friends. I remember going to church and one of my past school teachers asked me when I was due, because I had some signs showing. What that teacher didn’t know is that I had JUST miscarried. I sobbed while sitting on the pew. Keegan was so sweet and tried to comfort me. I think I eventually had to leave the building. That question was such a trigger.
One thing I failed to realize throughout this all was that my husband was also grieving. I was so caught up in my own grief because it happened to me. But, Keegan suffered a loss. It happened to him too. He lost those babies too. It was different for him than it was for me, but it was so hard on him just the same. It was also hard for him to feel helpless when my body was weak and when my heart was broken. It was especially hard for him when I was transported in an ambulance due to extreme blood loss.
When I opened up to family and friends, that’s when healing happened. And that healing was then accelerated once I worked things out with Heavenly Father. I was amazed at how many people have experienced miscarriage and infertility. I’m so thankful for people sharing their story with me. There’s strength in sharing. Healing takes place with sharing. Let’s be better at sharing our story.