I was in 8th grade when my mother had her hysterectomy. I’ll never forget visiting her in the hospital with a room overlooking a busy freeway. Under a heavily medicated state she talked about how life just continues on. She said in the grand scheme of things that she was quite insignificant. It took me 20 years but following my miscarriage in 2012, I finally understood her morphine induced poetic words.
For some, miscarriage is a difficult loss but not very impactful. For others it’s a devastating experience that leaves women broken. I landed somewhere in the middle. My miscarriage occurred just a few days before I was laid off so I didn’t have much time to mourn the loss. I immediately got back on the freeway and just continued on with my life as I shared within my article A Burst of Love: First Trimester Miscarriage. Sometimes it doesn’t feel as if it ever happened, as if the pregnancy never existed. Just as nothing appeared when my midwife and I looked at the ultrasound machine together. Then there are times when the pain I experienced, as I lost my baby, still aches deep within. I’m often reminded that my loss was real as I look upon my 4 year old only child.
As life keeps passing by I find myself about to turn 35 and wondering if it’s too late to have the rainbow baby my heart aches for. My husband and I made the choice not to become pregnant again right away because we were trying to be responsible. One moment I was the breadwinner for my family and the next I found myself crying in the parking lot of a government office about to apply for assistance. Support we didn’t qualify for but would’ve received if I had gotten pregnant again right away. Life is sometimes funny that way.
Now as I watch my independent son thrive, the idea of sleepless nights with an infant fully dependent upon me is daunting. I know lack of sleep is something I could overcome, but the thought of possibly losing another pregnancy is paralyzing. I worry that if I do become pregnant again I’ll have a tingle of fear each time I go to the bathroom. Will there be blood? Will my body reject a piece of my heart once more? Will I have to go through the anguish of feeling completely alone in my loss once again even though my husband did all he could to comfort me? So many questions and fears. Yet also so little time left to decide what to do.
One of the hardest things for me about life after loss is the loneliness. When I try to speak with my husband about it, I see within his eyes that he’s still processing what happened. I change the conversation or just start talking about the possibility of another baby. When I connect with someone else who has been there, it never seems to be the right time to have a deep conversation. Just this past weekend I stood with a fellow mama in the middle of a chaotic party. I had time to tell her how sorry I was for her loss and give her a long hug. Then we were pulled in different directions. When I’ve felt brave enough to speak to close friends who have never experienced a loss, they tend to downplay it. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. You’re lucky you lost the pregnancy so early. I don’t feel lucky. My arms feel empty. I go back to remaining quiet because it’s easier that way for everyone else…besides me.
When we’re silent about miscarriage and infant loss, we make women feel just like my mother did that day in her hospital room; insignificant. This is my life after loss, and as messy as it feels, I’m speaking out in hopes it helps others to feel less alone and more significant.
sillbirthday.com is an outstanding resource for women who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. If you’d feel comfortable, you’re welcome to share your story, feelings, or just vent within the comments below.
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