Miscarriage. The word no expectant mother ever wants to hear. That simple word doesn’t do justice to the void, the emptiness, the pain that follows it. Webster uses the synonym “failure” for the word miscarriage. Failure… as if you could have done something differently – as if eating more protein, getting more rest, or avoiding stress would have saved your baby. It wouldn’t have.
What do you do after a miscarriage? The stigma surrounding the word tells you that you keep your mouth shut. That you carry your grief silently. It is, in my opinion, one of the biggest losses a person can experience yet there is no closure, no comfort, no acceptable time period for grieving. You pull up your boot straps and carry on, at least that is what we are taught.
Four years ago I thought there was a chance God had decided that I wasn’t worthy of taking the motherhood journey. After three losses, three crushed dreams, three silent grieving periods, I began to accept the possibility that it just wasn’t in the cards. The plan I had for my life, the vision of who I was, the mom I always wanted to be, slowly began to disappear. I survived by holding onto whatever small tattered remains I could of that dream. I held tightly to the belief in my heart that I was meant to be a mom. When the day finally came, the joy I felt was insurmountable. The day I held my son I finally understood for the first time why it had never worked out before. I wasn’t just meant to be a mom, I was meant to be HIS mom and the stars had to align just right for that to happen. I told myself after that day that it would never matter if I got to be a mother to anyone else as long as I had him.
I didn’t realize at the time that in the years to come my heart would long to hear him play with someone else. That I would come to the realization that there was room for more than just one in our lives. So when I became pregnant again, I felt relief that I could give our family the gift of another child. When we lost that pregnancy, I survived by reminding myself of the promise I had made so many years ago when my son came. The promise that it was okay if I never got to be a mom to another child because I had him. I reminded myself daily of how lucky I was and that some women don’t ever get that.
That’s what we do to survive. We hold onto the things we have and we work everyday to let go of the things that aren’t meant for us.
Most recently, we were excited to learn (at a viability ultrasound – also a terrible term) that not only did we have a “viable” pregnancy – we had a beautiful, strong heartbeat. We waited until we had heard more than once to share with family and friends. Although our pregnancy hasn’t been flawless and we still have a few tough things ahead of us, I know without a doubt that we are infinitely blessed to get to experience this a second time.
I want every other woman that experiences pregnancy loss or infertility to know that she is not alone. You will survive the loss, the grief, the waiting, and the pain and you don’t ever have to do it alone. Hold onto the knowledge that someday when you hold your child for the first time, you will finally understand why it never worked out before. The child you are meant to mother will find there way to you. In the meantime though, cry, scream, but most of all, talk. Talk to your friends and your family and know that you are not alone.