As October begins to wind down with everyone’s focus on Halloween festivities, my mind drifts toward the child that won’t be celebrating with us this year. I miscarried our first child on October 27, 2007. Coincidentally October is also Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Month. One in four women will miscarry a baby. It is often difficult to talk about or share our experiences, but I have found 3 brave friends willing to do that here in their own words.
I often wonder how my life might look today with a 7-year old and a set of 4-year-old twins. Would I be different? Would my family be different? After I returned home and to work I didn’t find it hard to share my story with friends and family right away. I think it was more uncomfortable for other people because they didn’t always know what to say. Sometimes words just don’t seem adequate enough to express how we feel for someone else’s loss. After a while I didn’t want to talk about it because I didn’t want others to think I was seeking sympathy. But, I would share if another mom shared with me. Although after 7 years the emotions surrounding my miscarriage are far lighter than when I first experienced the loss, there is still an emptiness in my family circle.
When sharing my story, other moms have expressed difficulty in opening up about their loss, or have felt the subject “taboo.” Some are afraid of being judged, or dismissed. I am grateful for the women sharing their stories today.
Erin’s Story In Her Own Words:
I was pregnant with identical twin girls called Mono Mono or MoMo for short. The odds were against us from the very beginning, but my girls defied the odds and we made it to the point of viability where medical intervention was possible. I spent a month in the hospital on rest and monitoring. Tragically despite our best efforts my girls passed away 2 days before their scheduled delivery. My rare story took on quite a following with friends and family and my community and I started a blog to keep everyone up to date. I continue it today to honor my girls and to share my healing process with others in the hopes it can help someone. We were lucky that our story was so captivating for people. We had a large community of people who followed our journey. I think since so many people knew all that we had been through made it easier for people to be there for us.
I also miscarried a child in the beginning of that same year at 11 weeks. It was harder to find support then. We had only announced the pregnancy a week or two before. I really had no idea a miscarriage was possible for someone who had a healthy normal pregnancy with no issues before. I felt foolish for announcing the pregnancy “too early.” I was devastated and felt foolish for being devastated about a baby I never felt kick. I felt like there was a much stronger sense of urgency to “move on” and “get over it.” I don’t feel like either of our losses were taboo to talk about but I do feel like talking about miscarriage is at the top of the list of things people just don’t want to hear about.
My best advice to those who are grieving: There is no end to grief. It is a continuous and lifelong process. There will forever be things that stir up emotions you thought you had long ago dealt with. You will forever be healing and growing on this journey. Don’t ever feel like there is this end platform you will stand on and say I’m 100% over it. I’m done. I’ve moved on. I’m fine now. Also, don’t feel guilty for having bad days. Bad days just mean you loved your baby and the life you had imagined for them. It is OK to miss your child and it is normal. Grieving is a journey and different for everyone. So be kind to yourself and know that grief is an act out of love.
You can read more about Kelly’s journey through loss on her blog: www.momomommyme.blogspot.com
Anonymous In Her Own Words:
Having been told that I would not conceive without medical intervention, I never expected to return to the United States after a whirlwind tour of Europe and find myself carrying a 10-week-old baby. I also never expected to be informed at the same time that I was in the process of miscarrying her twin.
I was under the care of a fertility team. I tracked my cycle with scientific precision. I bought and used pregnancy tests by the dozen. I had been bleeding and spotting for weeks, phenomena I attributed to high-altitude air travel and a hectic schedule. Scientifically, medically, and according to all other ‘ally’ words, this should not have happened to me. Yet it did. For the first time in my life, I was unsure of myself – uncertain as to how I should feel and act in this situation. On the one hand, I was going to be a mom and receive the most beautiful gift of my life. On the other hand, I was mourning a baby who would never know what life would be like.
Initially, all I felt was guilt and shame because I immediately thought that I could have and should have done something to protect both of my babies. The fact that I did not know I was pregnant did nothing to minimize the feeling of loss I experienced. Even though one of my babies never made it through pregnancy, he or she left a permanent mark on our family; his or her death was not the last word.
The next day, my husband and I went in for what would be the first of my weekly ultrasounds. I heard it before I saw my sweet little gummy bear up on the screen. A heartbeat! A strong, glorious, melodious heartbeat. And do you know what else? I saw life. Life is amazing, sad, and powerful all at the same time; it is a journey that sometimes ends far too soon, and in unpredictable and seemingly unfair ways. I have come to view my loss as something that is woven into the fabric of our family, as it has shaped how I engage the world.
I once shared my story with a “friend,” who responded with disbelief because I failed to tell her about the miscarriage sooner. After all, she suffered a loss, which was a seemingly positive home pregnancy test very early on that was not confirmed with further home or blood testing, and shared this with me as it was happening. This “sanctimommy” (read the blog – it’s hysterical) taught me a very valuable lesson, and one that I want to share with you. Your grieving process is yours and yours alone; only you can define whether sharing this aspect of your life helps you heal. If reaching out to others and speaking about your loss doesn’t provide you with what you might need to begin living again, there is no rule saying you have to talk about it with others. My husband and I are very comfortable in our decision to keep this information to ourselves. And do you know what? That’s ok.
Just remember that the day will come when you will all meet again for the first time.
Loss is such a personal journey, but not an experience you need to do alone. There is no formula to grieving. Whether you choose to share it with the world, or just your partner there is no right or wrong way to embark on that journey. With 1 in 4 women experiencing a loss, there are many of us who understand.
Have you survived the loss of a child or miscarriage? What was something that helped you in the healing process?