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.
I am a part-time Communications Coordinator and full-time mama to two little boys. On my days off, my boys and I go to the YMCA to workout, practice swimming (them), and enjoy an hour of quiet while the boys are in Childwatch. My oldest son loves to run errands with me as long as he can hold “the map” (i.e. the weekly ads at each store). I tend to be more structured with my children, planning out our days with activities, as well as including daily portions of time when each boy entertains himself during some independent play time.
You’re a mother, how many times over?
I have been pregnant four times; two have been lost, but I am so happy to have my 4.5 year old son and my 3 year old son with me every day.
What was the hardest part, for you, walking through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss?
What upset me the most during this time was that no one really knew (my fault because I didn’t tell people), so they would ask things like, “So are you guys going to have a third?” “Do you want a girl?” “Oh, come on. You HAVE to try for a girl.” I know people just ask these questions without thinking, but it really got to me at times. I wanted to answer, “Actually, we thought we were having a third…twice, actually.” “I don’t really care about the gender of a baby.” and “Well, you know what? I secretly thought the second miscarriage was a girl, so thanks for bringing back some hurt for me.” I was angry because both pregnancies were unexpected (but I was filled with excitement once we knew about them).
My fourth pregnancy (which was lost last July) took me a bit longer to really “realize” or “accept.” I had just started a new job, both my boys were going to be having crazy school schedules this year, and I was trying to figure out how to juggle it all. I remember really accepting it and just being so excited in my heart. Then, one Saturday morning, I woke up, dragged my family garage sale shopping because I was ready to start re-building our baby gear items (I had literally just sold everything at a garage sale in May.) We returned from the garage sales with a trunk full of items, and not even an hour afterwards, I started bleeding and having terrible cramps, so I kind of knew what was happening. I was so angry with a lot of things during this time.
What was the biggest help for you, during this time?
Physically, I started running a bit. I’m a slow runner, but somehow just the physical exhaustion that came when I’d run on the treadmill helped relieve some stress. It also took my mind off things for a bit.
Emotionally, my husband was great. I don’t think men can truly know what it’s like to experience a miscarriage because it’s different for them. For me, my body had to physically lose the baby. That was hard. I had two successful pregnancies before, so I knew what I was passing. It was pretty emotional not only passing the baby, but also dealing with the still pregnant feelings I had, but without the actual pregnancy. It didn’t help that I had a trunk full of things for the new baby. They stayed in the trunk for a month or two before I finally just sold some at a garage sale and took the rest to Arc.
photo credit : Tom Page
What was it like being pregnant, after suffering a loss?
My second miscarriage took place almost a year after my first one. I was really shaky on it not only because it was unexpected, but also because I knew how the one prior to that had ended. I felt like I didn’t want to get my hopes up because the first one was sad enough for me. Just when I did get my hopes up, I lost the pregnancy, sending me into a whirlwind of sad questions: “Did I somehow cause this?” “Was it because I had a glass of wine before I knew I was pregnant?” “If I had been more excited about it initially, would that have prevented the loss?”
What is the best way you think a person can offer support to someone going through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss?
Just be there to listen. Let them cry if they need to. Don’t try to explain it away as, “Well, it probably means that there was something wrong with the baby.” Or “better it happen now rather than later.” That might be true, but it doesn’t help to hear you say it. And unless you’ve had a miscarriage, too, don’t try to know how this person feels, because you don’t. Even if you knew someone who had a miscarriage, it is not the same as feeling it for yourself.
If you could look another woman in the eyes who is currently walking through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, what would you tell her?
Don’t try to pretend your baby never existed. I tried to just ignore it the first time it happened. It didn’t help anything. In fact, I think it made it worse because I didn’t allow myself to grieve really. The second pregnancy was more emotional for me, so I allowed myself to think about the baby, think about what was happening to my body, and think about how cute my boys would have been as older brothers. In the short term, I cried a lot more; but in the long terms, I think my body needed to, and allowing myself to do so was a beneficial thing.
Is there anything else about this season in your life that you would like us to know?
It is, just that, a season. While a little part of you will always wonder, “What if…,” you will find happiness. It might not be right after the loss, but it will come to you. And on the flip side, even when a lot of time has passed, you will also still feel sad at random times. I get hit with sadness when I least expect it. Things will trigger my memory, someone will ask me when I’m going to try for a third, or I’ll see a little red-haired baby and wonder what things would have been like.