July of 2015 was the first time in my life that I got a positive pregnancy test. My husband and I were so excited – we cried, we laughed, and we told our close friends and family the weekend before our first ultrasound. We went into the doctor’s office, told her about our symptoms, talked due date, asked questions, etc. We went into the ultrasound room on cloud 9. I remember thinking, “The baby will be fine, I’m healthy, it will have a super strong heartbeat.” (I’m an over achiever.) In a matter of minutes, she came in, and it didn’t take us long to figure out something was wrong. Our hearts sank.
This can’t be happening.
We came back a week later, and she confirmed we had miscarried. The news felt so heavy in the room. We left overwhelmed and scared. I sat there with a blank stare trying to figure out how this was possible, what did I do wrong?
- I shouldn’t have done Crossfit knowing I was pregnant…
- Maybe I shouldn’t have helped my friend move that weekend…
- I drank too much coffee…
- And on and on and on…
All the should have’s and have not’s and guilt took over. I felt a profound sense of emptiness. How could that be? I never felt the baby, never even got to see it on the screen. Devastated, I wanted to crawl into a hole and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I stayed in my bed–grieving, crying and searching Netflix movies for “miscarriage”. It felt like everyone that week announced they were pregnant, and people were popping out babies with no problem. What was wrong with me? The movies make this seem so easy!
I slowly started to share our heartbreaking news with friends and family. Here are some things I did to acknowledge our short-lived blessing, move on, and get ready to try again:
Lessons Learned from Loss:
- People don’t really know how to respond to this type of news when you tell them. Many people will try to comfort you and say something like, “Something was wrong with your baby,” when all you want is a hug. Lesson learned: give people grace, because they are well-intentioned and just trying to comfort you how they know.
- You are not alone in this! I was shocked to learn how many people experience a pregnancy loss, especially with their first! I felt like every story I heard helped me feel less alone and more common. Why is this subject so taboo? When so many of us go through this, and it’s so painful, why do we close each other out instead of help each other through our troubles?
- I really felt like I needed to acknowledge the baby, but I didn’t know how. I always said I wanted to get birthstone rings for each of my children. So I decided to get one for “Bambino”. I got Sapphires for September (when we lost it) and diamonds for April (when it was due). Wearing this ring every day helped me feel comfort and reminds me of a miracle.
- I didn’t want to be physical with my husband for about two months after we lost our baby. Even though the doctor told us to wait a month to try again, I extended it to three months. Everything I read online said 1-3 months, and I wanted to play it safe. As much as I wanted to be pregnant again, I wanted our next pregnancy to be full-term.
- I relied on God and prayer to help me. I prayed with friends, had coffee, and cried with moms that had also lost babies. One day, I came home very mad at God that I was going through this. I picked up my daily devotional and was stopped dead in my tracks:
“Accept each day exactly as it comes to you. By that, I mean not only the circumstances of your day, but also the condition of your body. On some days, your circumstances and your physical condition feel out of balance. The demands on you seem far greater than your strength”.
I couldn’t believe it. What did God want me to get out of this? This alone really helped me mentally start to be more positive about the entire situation.
- I took bereavement from work. Nothing felt important, and I just needed some time to get my head straight and process what my mind, heart, and body were experiencing.
These are just some of the things I did to find some closure and acceptance. Everyone deals with loss and grieves differently. If I could offer a universal suggestion to those that deal with loss, it would be to give yourself grace to grieve how you need to, for as long as you need to. If you’ve never experienced loss and encounter a friend, family member, or stranger that shares that they have with you, my best advice would be to give them a hug and let them talk. Try really hard to not minimize their loss. They may not want to talk…yet. Say something supportive and empathetic, such as, “I’m sure that was really hard, and I wish there was something I could say to help. Just know that I really care about you and am here for you.”
A good friend of mine sent me a really heartfelt card with this quote inside: “A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she holds in her heart.” How beautiful; I have a huge heart full of love…
If you have experienced pregnancy or infant loss and would like to connect with others who understand, please consider joining our support group.