I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I am happy to see 2009 fade into the distance. It was a bittersweet year for my family—celebrating births & mourning losses. Some of those losses are still being mourned.
For those of you who don’t know, I suffered 2 miscarriages in 2009. One, early in the year, after finding out I was pregnant right before Christmas 2008; the 2nd, shortly after discovering I was pregnant again in August.
You know how they say each pregnancy is different? I think the same can be said for miscarriages. With the 1st one, we were told there was no heartbeat in our first ultrasound appointment. It was devastating from the standpoint that I never went to the ‘what if something’s wrong’ place. Why would I? No one else in my family had problems. The 2nd miscarriage was completely different—from finding out I was pregnant to when it happened. Aaron, I & 2 other people were the only ones who knew what was going on. I felt both prepared & completely unprepared to deal with it.
Miscarriage is one of those things similar to death in that people just don’t know what to say, how to act, what’s appropriate or inappropriate. I completely understand that—I frequently feel inadequate with how to help ease someone else’s pain. Sometimes you just can’t do anything & all that’s left is to listen.
When I had the first miscarriage, I was shocked by the news, but knew how common miscarriages were with first pregnancies (even if I didn’t think it applied to me). When I had the second miscarriage, it really threw me. Even though I knew what was happening, there was disbelief. If I didn’t think I would have a miscarriage with the first pregnancy, thinking I would have one with the second was even further from my mind. It really felt like a betrayal of my own body.
I considered many things at that time—maybe it wasn’t meant to be; maybe I waited too long; maybe there was something wrong with me; maybe it was a sign; maybe it was something God was telling me & I needed to figure out. Wouldn’t you know that I never figured out an answer!
I told people I was ‘ok’ when they asked. I don’t know if that was my shield or my way of making everyone think it was true so they wouldn’t worry about me. On the inside, it was difficult & the second time around really hit much harder. And the unfortunate timing was that it happened to be in the midst of a baby boom with friends & family close to me. I couldn’t turn anywhere without someone having a baby or announcing being pregnant.
I have this feeling that people think after the miscarriage is over, it’s just that, over. Time to move on. Nothing you can do about it. But what they fail to remember is that pregnancy, however brief, is the start of a dream. That’s a life beginning & no matter how you try to not think about it, you start to imagine what it will be like ‘when.’
I tried, I did, to put on a happy face, but there came a time when I just had to say—you know what? I can’t go. I can’t be around another happy mother with their baby right now. I bowed out of get-togethers knowing I wouldn’t be good company. I started to think there was really something wrong with me—that I was selfish & couldn’t celebrate the good news of others.
The truth is I don’t think I’ve been a big celebrator of babies/births. Sure, they are cute & say funny things when they get older, but they have always been just outside my line of sight. I either didn’t want any or wasn’t ready for any. I was perfectly fine with not having someone else to be responsible for. Some might take my standoffishness as not caring and that’s simply not true.
I joined a Grief & Loss group for those who have had miscarriages. Being one of many in that group, I realized that I didn’t have unique feelings. I wasn’t the only one who thought, all of the sudden, the world had become baby-centered. I wasn’t the only one who felt as though their body betrayed them. I wasn’t the only one who has taken several months to get to a point where they could be around other babies & not feel awkward, flashing back to thoughts of “what might have been.”
There’s a quote I ran across many years ago that really speaks to me and I think it’s something we should all consider when we have thoughts about how other people act:
“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.” (~Proverb)
If I were to sit down & talk to you, you’d know I feel this way—I am afraid of something, love something & have lost something. That’s what life is about, isn’t it.
Am I 100% good with things now? No. But it’s getting easier. I have some really great friends who have let me talk when I need, no matter how much, about my feelings and thoughts. It’s been what I’ve needed.