Getting pregnant, being pregnant, and raising children bring out some of the highest highs and deepest lows. It is a vulnerable place to be, to watch your body struggle to get pregnant, to stay pregnant, and even to recover from being pregnant. And when things don’t go according to plan, the statistic being one in every four pregnancies won’t, it is heartbreaking.
So we’ve gathered six different stories from six different women, all who are sharing their experiences of loss in the hopes that we might connect and encourage women everywhere who might have walked, and be walking similar paths.
Tell us about you, as a mother, and what a normal day for you might look like.
Hectic, is such an understatement! With the age span of my kiddos, it’s always go-time! I’m serving breakfast around 6:30am, and, if I’m lucky, the last one is headed to bed by 10:00pm. It’s non-stop activity all day long!
You’re a mother, how many times over?
I’ve been pregnant five times, and have three wonderful, healthy children.
What was the hardest part, for you, walking through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss?
This is hard to answer. On one hand there is all the self-doubt; wondering if there was something that I could have done differently, or better that might have prevented the loss. I think we all go through that. Even though all the medical experts will tell us, for the most part, that there was nothing that we could have done, there is always that part of us that wonders. We wonder. It makes it harder, I think, because there is no answer. There are no answers to be given, so we work to fill in the explanations.
The other aspect that is so difficult, is the suddenness of it all. With my first miscarriage, I was rolling along, so excited and filled with hope and making plans for the future, and then it was all taken away. The happiness, the excitement, the hope, the plans for the future, they were all just so suddenly ripped away. I was left with the gaping hole that slowly filled up with grief, loss, heartbreak, self-doubt, self-recrimination, and despair. It’s hard. And then, when you do get pregnant again, you are much more cautious, slow to feel that excitement and hope because you know how it can end. You try to set markers on when you can feel like it’s going to be real, because until you feel safe that this baby will come to be, you can’t really feel the hope and excitement. And that’s sad.
But for me, when that second miscarriage happened, I still felt all the grief and the sadness all over again. I just missed out on getting to feel as much of the hope and excitement. And then my next pregnancy happened, and it was just terrifying. I knew I might end up again with no baby. It’s just very, very hard.
What was it like being pregnant, after suffering a loss?
I lost my second and third pregnancies, so my fourth pregnancy was very scary in the beginning. I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I couldn’t enjoy the new pregnancy because I was so afraid that this one was going to be lost as well. I was afraid to be hopeful and joyful about the future. It was very hard, knowing that I couldn’t do anything. All that I could do was let it go, and leave it in God’s hands. I’m not a very religious person, but that was a time when I was reminded of how little in life I really have control over.
photo credit : Nell Barnwell
What is the best way you think a person can offer support to someone going through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss?
I think that the most anyone can do is let someone know that it is okay to grieve. So many see no reason to be devastated, because there was no one to hold. But I did hold. I held hopes and dreams for myself, the family I was looking to create, and this person that I chose to create. So many people just wanted me to move on, as if nothing had happened. Like it was just a setback. It’s not a setback. It’s the loss of a life that was valued and cherished, and that life is gone. It’s okay to grieve for that loss.
We all grieve differently, and whatever each person needs to grieve is okay. Sometimes that is someone to cry with, a hug, and hand to hold, someone to talk about what is missing, or a little extra space to absorb the loss.
If you could look another woman in the eyes who is currently walking through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, what would you tell her?
Time eases things. I still wonder about those babies; what might have been, how my family would look now, if not for their loss. But it isn’t the raw pain that it was then. It’s more of a wistful wondering of what might have been.
I would tell her to go ahead and grieve. Grieve for her loss. Feel everything, so that you can process it and move forward. Life only moves forward, and the only way you can really move forward is if you fully process what has happened – what it means to you and how it affects you. Only you can do that for yourself. No one can tell you what to feel or how to feel. This is yours. Your to go through, and yours to carry. Take hold of the hands that are reaching out for you. Take comfort from those that offer it. You are not alone, others have walked this path, and like us, you will survive it. It’s just gonna hurt along the way.
Is there anything else about this season in your life that you would like us to know?
This time in my life brought home to me that there are things in life that I will never have control over. Some things are just beyond my power. Which is a very frustrating thing to grasp. We all like to think that if we just did something different, took a different path, tried a little harder, we could have more control over aspects of our lives. But this one, you can do everything right, do everything perfect, and it is still nothing that can be done to change the outcome.
It was a valuable lesson in life, especially now, as I raise my three children. I don’t have control over everything. And sometimes worrying does nothing. It’s figuring out what those things are and letting them go that can be a challenge now. With these three wonderful, beautiful babies that I’m raising, there is enough worry, enough self-doubt, enough self-recrimination without carrying anything extra.
I did all the right things, I did everything the way that I was supposed to. Those babies were just not meant to be with me. And the fact that they are not is something to simply accept and leave behind all the doubts and anger about why and what could have been. They were mine for such a short time, that was all that I was going to get with them. It wasn’t enough, but it was all I was given.