Loss, In the Raw

This week I became a member of a club I never wanted to be in, a sisterhood of loss. Writing has become therapeutic for me, but I am struggling with actually putting this one out there. It’s a good thing that only a handful of people read these crazy thoughts of mine! I apologize that close friends will be finding out this way, but this is the easiest way for me to tell you and I am taking the easy path right now. This week I became one of the “Mothers who have miscarried.”
I know. There are millions of us, all around the world. And I have to applaud those millions and tell you all how much I admire your strength and courage, because I feel like I have none right now. I have so many friends who have miscarried. They tell me so bravely! I am not brave, or strong, or courageous at all right now. I’m crying. A lot. It seems to be the most common thing I’m doing these days.
Poor Steve found me in the bathroom one morning fresh out of the shower, shaking with sobs. I could barely keep it together dropping Zach off at school this morning when I saw another mother holding a baby while she dropped off her child. I’ve cried in doctors’ offices, phlebotomy labs, outside, inside, on Skype, on face time, heck I’m crying right now.
And holy cow the emotions! If the phone rings I get annoyed because I just want to be left alone. When it doesn’t ring, I’m angry and sad that a friend who knows still hasn’t contacted me.
It happened VERY early in the pregnancy. In fact, the doctor said there was hardly even a pregnancy. So shouldn’t I “hardly even” feel sad or disappointed?
I feel old. I feel incompetent. I feel like I failed. I thought I was healthier than I’ve ever been, so why couldn’t I pull off a pregnancy, especially when my body knows how to do it? It’s done it twice before! Steve and I are both healthier right now than ever—what is wrong with us that we couldn’t put together a good combination this time?
I’m angry at myself for trying to have a baby. I already have two—why wasn’t that enough for me? Why, at 37, did I feel the need to try again? I’m ashamed, for trying to have more babies when women out there can’t have even one. I’ve even heard that comment already, put to me by someone else: “You have two. Why are you doing this again?”
I’m also angry that we waited so long. My youngest is already 4. Steve is 40. If we wanted more kids, why didn’t we try earlier, so a loss like this wouldn’t hit so hard? But then I think about it honestly and know we couldn’t have tried any earlier. If we’d stayed in the U.S., this idea couldn’t even have taken form. And we needed time to settle in to this huge change before adding another huge change to our lives. And I believe in my heart that things happen for a reason. We have kept ourselves “open” to the idea of more children for over a year now, leaving it up to God because we couldn’t decide. I felt God thought what we thought—that it wasn’t the right time. But when we got pregnant so easily once we actually tried, I thought we were all in agreement yet again. What happened?
I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed, because I’m even a little bit angry at Steve. He’s been nothing but supportive and helpful and he says he’s sad, too, that it didn’t work. But he can just go to work and seem to be fine all day. He’s not the one who makes the bathroom look at a crime scene and runs around in the morning trying to clean up the blood before the boys wake up and see it. He’s not the one who doesn’t have the energy to leave his bed, who cries when he sees pregnant women or babies. Isn’t that awful? I’m angry at my husband and he hasn’t done anything wrong!
I’m also ashamed at how sad I am. I look at these brave women all around me and wish I could be more like them—stronger, more optimistic. I have two beautiful, perfect children of my own! What right do I have to be sad about miscarrying now?! I have gray hairs and I’m trying to have a baby, too! What was I thinking?
My heart truly aches for all those millions of women, my sisters in this, who have no other children when they miscarry. I wish I could hug each one of you and take your pain away. My kids are the main thing getting me through this right now. Because they don’t know what’s going on, the innocent distraction they provide, their constant demands of me that often make me so frustrated, are my lifeline right now.
Of course they know something’s amiss. My youngest got two cupcakes yesterday at school for two kids’ birthdays and he saved one for me while all the other kids ate both. He was so kind giving it to me. It didn’t matter that his brother and father ate it. It was his precious gesture that warmed my heart. I don’t know what I’d do without those boys.
And that’s why my heart truly reaches out to those women. For any one of us, to open your heart up to the possibility of children of our own and all the emotion and change that brings to our lives and then lose that life before it even gets started is true pain. Those women are mothers in my eyes. They have known the pain of loss. They have opened their hearts to love, filled it up with the coming joy and then lost it. That is a true motherhood journey.
I also feel tremendously for the women who carry their pregnancies longer, who can’t tell something is wrong because they start bleeding, who find out in doctors’ office and have to endure invasive procedures. They are much stronger and braver than I am.
I am in awe at the courage of women. The courage women have to try again, the courage to open themselves up again. I don’t know if I have it. And that’s where I’m even luckier that I have two children already. I guess when you really think about it—loss is loss, however it happens and at whatever stage of life. There’s no shame in feeling it, in allowing the emotions to present themselves however they will.
So sometimes I don’t feel so ashamed. I just feel sad. Maybe in some ways a miscarriage is harder when you have kids already. You truly know what’s ahead and the joy and amazement and hard work and exhaustion that’s to come– and then it’s gone. I admit—before this, I was one of those annoying women who got pregnant at the drop of a hat each time I even thought about it. It happened twice and each time I got a perfect, healthy boy at the end. No one on this earth wanted to be around me when the subject of fertility struggles came up. Yes, I had scary deliveries and one son in the NICU for a while, but my end results were all that you can ask for.
That’s why this time, I truly jumped the gun. I knew I was pregnant when it got to day 31 of my cycle. My mind filled up with thoughts of how I was going to take care of myself and relish every change in my body this last go round. I daydreamed of both my boys with their hands on my belly, feeling the kicks of their coming sibling. I walked them to school, holding each one’s hand, smiling at how in the coming months, there’d be three little ones with me on these walks. I knew exactly what was ahead and I was ready!
And now it’s gone. I feel empty. Empty and gross watching this stuff come out of me, knowing what it could have developed into. Empty and sad and frustrated and ashamed and angry and a little lost. My vision of our changing lives just disappeared.
Unlike a younger woman who’s starting her family journey, I don’t know if we will try again. Maybe this was our sign that our family’s complete. Maybe we’re too old for this. Maybe our kids are too grown up and it’s silly to try in a few more months to throw another one in the mix—would they even know each other? Maybe it’s unkind to the thought of any future child to grow up with two brothers who are peas in a pod and be five years behind them, on his own?
But then maybe this was our sign that I do truly want another child. Who cares about the spacing? My boys would be fantastic big brothers. And heck, I’m only 37! Just because part of this experience has included the mention of menopause doesn’t mean I’m too old to do this (ay yi yi—love those comments!).
I don’t know. I guess I don’t have to decide that now. I’ll just be a baby, crying over my lost baby, for a little while longer. Thankfully, I have an outstanding support system, with those two beautiful boys at the core of it. And they don’t even know the good they are doing for me right now, bless their precious little hearts.

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