Living with Loss:: The Silence After Miscarriage

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, where we honor the moms who have lost babies to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn.

Living with Loss:: the Silence After Miscarriage

Image courtesy of Goggins Creations

I had different plans. I had nearly accepted that having a “traditional” family was not in the cards. We were focused on adoption and researching what that path looked like for us. And then I knew. It wasn’t some spellbinding movie scene with stars in my eyes. I was actually holding a 9 a.m. glass of champagne {Don’t judge me}.

Short-lived Dreams

Living with Loss:: the Silence After MiscarriageI had just finished an NYE spin class and the boutique gym was celebrating. I stared at the bubbly and thought, “I shouldn’t drink this.” I gathered up my things and stopped at the first pharmacy I saw.

Despite my Pinterest-worthy plans to announce this news to my husband should a miracle occur, once those dazzling lines showed up crisp as crystal, they all flew out the window. I ran into his office still donning my flying pig leggings and gasped, “We’re pregnant.”

I looked up a thousand things on what we should or shouldn’t be doing. I created a locked Pinterest board and found bamboo baby utensils the husband approved of. But, nothing told me what to do when everything came to a sudden halt.

When the doctor calls to confirm every fear—the pregnancy is failing. Your baby won’t survive.

I wish that somewhere among the medical journals and blogs telling me what would happen during a miscarriage, someone would have prepared me for what comes afterward.

Who came up with this name?

The word itself—mis-carriage—is shaming. The prefix implies fault of some kind. That we did something wrong. Insinuates that we did not hold on to our baby with every fiber of our being. Being an enneagram 3, I do not handle failure or even the implication of it very well. And this? Miscarriage made me feel like I was a complete disappointment—responsible somehow. Here was this one thing my body was meant to do and for the life of me, I couldn’t. No matter how badly I wanted to. I was furious with myself and ashamed and I wanted no one to know. I left my office, had a good cry, and returned like somebody was not literally dying inside me.

You can’t explain your body.

Living with Loss:: the Silence After Miscarriage

When I was newly pregnant, I was wretched sick. I actually thought I had food poisoning or an amoeba virus. After that initial phase came the Jack in the Box tacos phase. I didn’t just think to myself “Oh, that might be tasty.” I needed them with an insatiable, cannibalistic craving. {Keep in mind I hadn’t touched one of those grease holders since college. Yet, there we were.} By the time I began to lose the pregnancy, my breasts were already swollen and ridiculously sore. There were spotting and cramps that would bring me to tears. And the worst part of the miscarriage was that there would be no reward. Changes were happening within myself that I couldn’t control. My own body was betraying me.

People won’t know what to do.

Or say—especially your pregnant friends. {It’s not their fault.} A dear friend was pregnant at the same time and we had plans of our children being just shy of three weeks apart. Her baby girl is now one of the spunkiest, most adorable 3-year-olds I’ve ever met. But at first, my miscarriage was hard for both of us to navigate. I heard everything from “When will you try again?” to “Well, maybe there was something wrong with the baby.” Because no one really knew what to say or do, I didn’t tell many people for a very long time. I walked alone in shame consumed by silence—which was also not a great choice. We are given community for a reason and when they don’t know what they should do, tell them. Don’t be afraid to say what you need at that moment.

Your story is yours. 

It doesn’t matter what the statistics are or how many miscarriages your coworker had or what your cousin’s wife’s uncle’s sister went through—your story is unique to you, and no one can tell you how to respond. For us, I knew something was wrong from the first sign of blood but everyone told me it was normal. For months I questioned whether I had made enough noise, would it have made a difference. Ultimately, probably not. Tell your story or don’t—that is up to you. But know that everything you are feeling—or aren’t feeling—is completely okay because no one else has been in these exact same circumstances. No one has walked your life or held your baby.

You ARE a mom.

Image courtesy of Goggins Creations

Even now it is difficult for me to be a mom without a child. Something shifted in me as soon as I saw those bright pink lines. I’m at the age where part of the getting-to-know-you conversation always starts with some form of, “Do you have kids?” What a tricky question. Why yes, I do. But you can’t meet any of them because they aren’t here. I usually reply with a casual response about being dog parents or now, foster parents. But every time there’s a little pang. If you haven’t had someone tell you dear one, set down your coffee mug and let me grab your sweet face. You are every bit a mother. You loved that sweet baby every second of their life. And just because you don’t get to celebrate the same milestones or post pictures on the first day of school doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find ways to celebrate or remember. It just looks a little different.

You are not alone. You are seen.


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