I have a lot to say, but I guess I have to start this with a trigger warning. I will be talking about loss. I’m talking about miscarriage. Today – October 15th – is pregnancy loss and infant loss awareness day. I think it is important to talk about.
Tonight, I lit a candle for the baby I will never meet. I’ve never lit a candle on this day before, but I think it’s good. I found it healing to be able to do one thing for the baby that I only knew for a short time. The baby that didn’t have a chance to be a baby. It’s been many years, and I still find taking time to remember important and comforting.
For those of you who know me or follow me on social media, you know I don’t shy away from talking about my grief and my loss. I’ve noticed that people feel like it’s okay to grieve, but for some reason it’s frowned upon to speak about miscarriage.
Somebody famous (we all know who) grieved openly on social media this month after losing their baby. My first thought was how sad I was for their loss, and how brave she was for sharing what she was going through. Unfortunately, I looked at the comments. I’m going to be honest, there were a lot of mean people giving their opinion on something they are not going through. I actually saw somebody say that miscarriages shouldn’t be talked about on social media.
Yes. They. Should.
The reason we have to do trigger warnings is because these topics are not talked about enough. It hurts to relive things, and it hurts to see something talked about that isn’t often mentioned – especially if you have gone through it. Especially if you haven’t been given the chance to work through your own loss.
When I see mention of miscarriage, I automatically think of my own miscarriage. It was a long time ago. I had a miscarriage over 10 years ago, and I still think about it. I was on Facebook back then, but it wasn’t something that I ever saw mentioned. I didn’t talk about it. I was worried if I did people would think I was talking about it for attention. I should have stopped worrying about what everybody else thought, and just been open about it.
It helps knowing other people have been through the same thing as you. Nobody goes through the exact same thing. Every situation is different, but it’s still a loss that we are made to feel like we shouldn’t talk about.
My first pregnancy lasted 11 weeks. It came at a time in my life when I was not as safe with my life as I should have been. I drank too much. I had a new boyfriend I didn’t think I’d end up with, and ended up pregnant. It became clear that I would be a single mom. It was scary, but I had an unwavering confidence that I could handle it. To be honest, I don’t know if I could have back then. I was far away from my family, and in a new job. I had no support in the town I was in.
That being said, I loved the baby to be. I was in my late 20s, and truly had not experienced a lot of loss in my life. I had only lost pets. That year, I had a miscarriage, lost my grandma from my dad’s side in Spring, and then lost my grandpa from my mom’s side in the Fall. My experience with loss had begun.
When I found out I had lost the baby, I was told by a young doctor who literally came in to tell me I had lost a baby, but had no prior meeting with me. He didn’t know me. I was with two other people, and I found he spent a lot of time looking at them instead of at me. He told me they thought it was twins, and that miscarriages are really common. At the end of talking to us, he told me some strange story about getting his girlfriend pregnant, and now they have a kid. I can’t remember what it was he told us exactly. What I do remember is it was not appropriate and didn’t help me. The miscarriage took longer than I expected, and I ended up back at a different hospital a week later for a couple of nights. I was in a lot of physical pain, and that was the easy part. I knew the physical pain would go away. It was the emotional pain I didn’t know how to deal with.
After the miscarriage, I had more than one person reach out to me and tell me they had also experienced a miscarriage. I was shocked. I was sad that I hadn’t known to begin with. Even then, I felt it was something people should talk about. One person told me his wife had lost their first baby from the start of my pregnancy. I was always grateful he had been honest.
When I was pregnant with my son, I kept the number of people I told in the first trimester very low. I kept a list so I would know who I had to talk to if I lost him. It was scary, but if I had spoken about my pregnancy to begin with, I still could have shared in the loss. Luckily, this time, there was no loss. The very reason we stay silent during the first trimester is because we think we need to stay silent through the loss.
I was able to grieve my grandparents, but I did not know how to grieve a baby I would never meet. I didn’t know how to grieve someone I had never had the chance to feel move.
It’s strange grieving somebody you loved, but you have nothing of them. I had somebody growing inside me for less than two weeks, but I already loved them. I already imagined my future with them. There is no baby now, and nothing for me to look at or remember. I can only imagine them. I can only think about how different my life might be right now. I thought I was going to be a mom, and that was quickly taken away before I was even used to the amazing idea.
My loss – was nothing compared to what I’ve seen my friends go through. I’ve seen a lot of strong women dealing with losses that are unimaginable to me and heartbreaking. I grieved with them, but I can never understand their pain.
For a long time, I thought I needed to say things like “I was only 11 weeks.” or “It wasn’t a planned pregnancy.” If you lose somebody you wanted before you were even pregnant, that is so much worse than what I went through. I know this.
But – my pain was real. My loss was real. I still feel it. I didn’t know I wanted the pregnancy until it happened. The second I read the test results, I wanted it. It hurt to lose this dream I didn’t know I had. I shouldn’t have to say those two sentences to try to make my loss better. Nothing will make it better.
I’ve experienced a lot of loss since then. In my opinion, I’ve experienced too much loss. I’ve only experienced one pregnancy loss. I’m glad for that because they are confusing and tragic. It took me over a year to even deal with the loss. I got to love the other people I lost. I hugged them. I held their hands. I knew them. Pregnancy loss is somebody you don’t get to know, but all you want to do is know them from the outside.
If you are one in four, I am thinking about you today. Not everybody grieves out in the open. I do because it helps me. It doesn’t help everybody. We all move through the steps in different ways. If you need to talk about it, I’m here.
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