Joy and Sorrow: Miscarriage, a journey of loss
I genuinely do not know how to begin this post, so forgive me if this ends up being a blubbering mess of nonsense. Here goes…
Last year I had 4 miscarriages. Yes, 4 in one year. For those of you that may not know, as I write this I am currently 24 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child (praise Jesus). So just know, that despite all the sorrow and heartache I’m about to lay down there is hope and joy at the end. I do realize, however, that is not always the case for everyone.
At the start of 2018 we began tracking and trying for our 3rd child. My hope was that my middle and youngest would be about 2 years apart. Side bar, you would think after having 2 children I would know that our plans for conception never actually work out, but I digress.
My two rainbow babies Carter (left) Brody (right)
Shortly thereafter I got the anticipated positive test and we were pregnant!!! That was until the following week when the pregnancy ended. I knew from past experiences (both of my boys are rainbow babies, babies born after miscarriage) that early miscarriage is common and often a chromosomal issue or a chemical pregnancy. You may have had an early miscarriage and never known.
Despite all the scientific knowledge and experience I have with miscarriage it doesn’t change the way it feels. When you are trying to have a baby the most exciting thing that can happen is to see a positive pregnancy test. It’s like a victory, we did it!! This is the joy. For me, the first days are filled with “you know how this goes, don’t get too excited” followed by online shopping for baby stuff and figuring out the due date. Yeah, I go 0 to 100 reeeaaal quick.
So when you sit down to pee and realize you’re losing the pregnancy, it’s devastating. All those dreams you had of this baby, despite how short lived, are crushed. You start to think about the next time you can try to conceive again and how far off “your plan” that will put you. Usually no one but your partner knows you were pregnant. So while you’re hurting inside emotionally and physically you pretend everything is ok.
My emotional pain was often plagued with worry that I may not be able to have another baby. That I had done something to cause this (which we all know is never the case). That it just wasn’t going to work out for us again. And despite how early I miscarried I always felt really “off” for the first month following. I attribute that to the hormonal shifts of going from pregnant to not pregnant.
I would describe the last year as an up and down rollercoaster. I would get pregnant, hormones would rise. Then I would lose the pregnancy. Hormones would drop. This went on for almost the entire year. It was exhausting.
Some of the things I felt during the last year of this journey were loneliness, sorrow, joy, confusion, sadness, shame, guilt, loss, grief and hopelessness. It was truly one of the hardest years of my life.
The most devastating miscarriage I had last year was around 10 weeks of pregnancy. We shared our news with a few people because we felt confident that this one was going to work out. A few weeks later I miscarried. It was July and I was helping out with our church vacation bible school. I just remember it being really hard to be surrounded by such supportive, caring people but to feel so alone and lost. I mean, it’s not really the best conversation starter. And that brings me to what I believe is one of the hardest part about miscarriage. No one talks about it.
Maybe it’s shame or guilt or fear, for me I think it was a combination of all those things. And like I said, when someone asks how you are, a response of “well I’m awful because I’m having a miscarriage” doesn’t really roll off the tongue. But it is so important for women suffering a loss like this to feel safe talking about it. I think lot of my inability to talk about this was because of things others had said to me about it in the past.
There were a few times I allowed myself be vulnerable enough to open up. Some asked “are you sure you were actually pregnant?” This was incredibly hurtful because it made me feel like they didn’t believe that what I was going through was real. Someone said “so you got a positive pregnancy test each time?” as if maybe I was mistaken and was not actually pregnant to begin with. Again, innocent, but hurtful and isolating. These people were well meaning but they had never gone through what I was going through and they were clearly having a hard time understanding. Their questions made me feel like sharing wasn’t safe or helpful because it felt like no one believed me.
It’s so important for women to feel like they can open up and share about their experiences. My hope is that through sharing my experience and story people will have a better understanding of how miscarriage affects a women, so that in the future it won’t be such taboo topic. Because according to tommys.org 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage…1 in 4.
My story has a happy ending and I’m over halfway through my pregnancy with my 3rd child (baby girl due in July!). There were times that I lost hope that this was possible for us. There were times where I questioned God’s plan. Today I am utterly grateful for all that I have and have learned over the past year. If you are going through something similar I pray that you continue to have faith and hope.
trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge to Him and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6