Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Two years ago, I was reeling from my first miscarriage. I sat down and wrote the following, trying to make sense of what was happening. Two years ago, I wasn’t ready to share. Today, I am so incredibly that one of my three pregnancies worked, and I have a beautiful baby girl.
But this is still my story. And I will use my voice to talk about it and normalize it.
Today I am two weeks not pregnant.
In those two weeks, I’ve had to fly cross country and go to work while actively miscarrying, apply for FMLA when I didn’t want to leave my bed for more than three days, plan a shit ton of activities to try to distract myself, and had countless amounts of blood drawn.
One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Not one in four women. Pregnancies. Yet it still seems like such a lonely journey, with very little helpful information out there. People are sharing their stories more often, but it's usually something you look up after the fact. It's not something you prepare for. My husband and I were pretty vocal about trying to conceive and being a little bit pregnant. I even told people to temper their excitement because it was very likely that it could end in miscarriage.
But I was not prepared. Not for the physical pain. Not for the emptiness I still feel.
We were lucky to have supportive friends and family that knew when to give us space and knew when we needed a drink (or five). However, I’ve quickly had to learn how to quiet my thoughts and behave like a normal person when what I assume to be Well Meaning People attempt to have a regular conversation with me. Even when I feel broken most of the time.
Well Meaning Person: How was your vacation?
Inner Monologue: Well, it was all going fine until my body decided to miscarry. I spent the last night getting up to go to the bathroom to stuff more toilet paper in my pajamas to not stain my friend’s couch with what seemed like a scary amount of blood, crying into my husband’s arms, and doubling over from the most painful cramps I’ve ever experienced. I then had what I imagine was a lovely brunch with my husband’s aunt and uncle, and had to decide whether or not to fly home that day and risk hemorrhaging. Needless to say the overall trip was a bit marred.
Me: Nice. I just really love the beach, so it was great!
Well Meaning Person: How’s work going?
Inner Monologue: Awful. I work with infants and toddlers, so having to go see baby after really cute baby can be really taxing. It's also super difficult to half ass some things and not be able to tell everyone. One of my co-workers just broke up with her live-in boyfriend, and we got her group flowers. I just keep wishing that someone would hug me and give me flowers, but am nervous about how they’ll respond.
Me: Fine, busy as usual!
Well Meaning Person: When are you going to start trying again?
Inner Monologue: Are you kidding me? I’m still grieving the loss of my baby, of how I won’t get to spend Mother’s Day this year holding my new child. I went and bought one tiny hat after the doctor confirmed I was pregnant (stupid, why did I let myself get excited?) and have alternated between wanting to hold it and cry and wanting to burn it and scream. But I’ll be sure to let you know when my husband and I are start having unprotected sex again.
Me: Hmmm, not sure yet!
Well Meaning Person: At least you know you can make a baby!
Inner Monologue: Just not keep it alive. Hell of a silver lining.
Well Meaning Person: *Posts pictures of cute baby, baby bump, etc on Instagram*
Inner Monologue: *Bursts into tears then throws computer or other mobile device out the window*
Me: *Scrolls down, maybe throwing out a like depending on level of friend*
Well Meaning Person: When are you lovebirds having kids?
Inner Monologue: I guess this is why we should be more vocal about miscarriages. I’m hoping that people aren’t trying to break my heart when they ask this, but it still hurts. I promise myself to never (or at least try to never) ask anyone that question ever again. Who am I to know if they have had one or four miscarriages, if they have been trying for 2 years, or if they simply don’t want any?
Me: Not yet!
Today I am two weeks not pregnant.
Two weeks and one day ago, I was seven weeks pregnant, thinking and planning for the future. Yes, it was early. Yes, it still really, really hurt.
Although nothing in my daily life has changed, everything feels different. I carry anger and sadness and fear and guilt and hope and emptiness, yet know that others have it so much worse. Like my (fabulous, wonderful, kind) doctor said, my body may heal quickly, but our souls may take a little longer to feel whole again. I know that I can, and will go on.
I’m sick of forcing myself to speak with exclamation points at the end of my sentence when I feel like curling up into a ball and never coming out. I’m sick of feeling alone, when I know others have felt this way.
And I should be able to ask for a damn hug whenever I feel like it.
Miss you little lentil.