I should preface this blog post with a warning: this is a kind of long (sorry!) and very personal story of miscarriage and loss. I understand that for some of you it may be too much, for others too painful, too dramatic, too graphic, or honestly, maybe you can’t really relate. And that’s okay, because even if it speaks to one of you, now or in the future, sharing this story will be worth it.
Last Thanksgiving, I sat at the dinner table with my in-laws, holding back tears trying to keep a secret and mask the pain I was in (physically and mentally). I was pregnant with a baby that didn’t have a heartbeat. Between asking for the gravy and passing the corn, I was waiting for my miscarriage to just happen already. It had been weeks since my husband and I had been given the terrible news that our 10 week old baby had stopped growing, and the few weeks to follow would be even more difficult than sitting in that ultrasound. As I sat at Thanksgiving dinner, I remember thinking, “Next Thanksgiving will be different. I’ll be holding a sweet little babycakes while stuffing my face with pie, and it will be perfect!"
Well almost a year has passed with Thanksgiving right around the corner, and unfortunately more sad news. Did you know that recurrent miscarriage only happens to 2% of women? When the ultra tech told me the news of our second loss I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even cry. ME! Queen of waterworks! I even went to a business meeting after. I was numb to say the least. After I released my “Angel Baby” card, you would not believe how many women messaged me, friends told me, and family members shared that they too had suffered from a miscarriage and I NEVER EVEN KNEW. One in four. One in Four. ONE IN FOUR women suffer a miscarriage in their lifetime. It is so prevalent, yet you probably don’t even know if your sister, cousin, Mom, aunt, coworker, or friend has felt such pain! Women (and men, too!) should feel like they can share about loss through miscarriage. It’s devastating and it’s even more devastating if you do it alone.
So what did miscarriage teach me?
Here are the 10 things that miscarriage has taught me…
1. It’s okay to be afraid.
Before I lost my angel babies, I carried, my now, two year old son, full term without any complications. I am so beyond thankful, grateful and blessed for the gift of a healthy little boy especially over the course of the past year. His smiles and giggles brighten my day and give me all kinds of hope for the future. Although I am so excited at the thought of being pregnant again, I’m terrified of it. When I was pregnant with Max, I was naive and I’m so happy I was. I never worried about loosing Max while I was pregnant- I had lattes (single shot but still), I took baths, and once in a while I even snuck a lunch meat sub! Since I’ve had my miscarriages, I drink half the amount of caffeine I used to, down double the amount of water I did and take lukewarm baths JUST IN CASE. Sometimes you just can’t help but be afraid, and you know what, I think that’s okay. I also think it’s normal. And yes, I’m fearful but I’m even more faithful. I have moments of anxiety but then I have even better moments filled with faith in God’s plan for me and my family. I know in time, I will see it.
2.It’s also okay to not be okay.
I was a mess. I cried for weeks. I’d think I was okay and then cry some more. I was also a hormonal nightmare. I stopped praying, and didn’t go to church for months, obviously because I was mad about the plan that God had orchestrated for my life. It didn’t seem fair or right. We all go through tough times in life and it is okay to NOT be okay…which leads me to number three.
3. Time may heal, but you will never forget.
It’s been a few months since we received the news of our second loss, and although I am in a much healthier mental and emotional state, there are still hard moments and things that trigger tears, like writing this post and feeling incredibly anxious about being vulnerable but also reliving the pain of my miscarriages. I expect there always will be difficult times, but I don’t believe grief lasts forever. For those of you that have waited years for your rainbow baby, struggled with infertility or have experienced a loss greater than the ones I speak of, I want you to know that I am thinking of you. I am praying for you. I am sending you a hug, right now.
4. Life is precious.
It’s cliche but it’s true. You don’t know what’s going to happen today, tomorrow morning, in 5 years, or 10 years. Life can be altered or taken in a moment, so enjoy the time you have with the ones you love. The way I look at Max has forever been changed since experiencing my miscarriages. I knew he was a miracle before, but I am in even more awe of him now!
5. Empathy is a powerful thing and we all could use more of it.
My miscarriages have reminded me that every single person endures pain, many experience pain much greater than the ones I speak of and that breaks my heart. Since having my miscarriages, I am much more sensitive to the pain of others and understanding the power empathy can have on those we love and care about.
“Be Kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Socrates
6. Be careful, you planner, you!
I’m the definition of a “planner” but you know what we don’t plan for? The unexpected, the unimaginable, the difficult and heartbreak. Am I still a planner? You betcha! But do I also have a better concept of just letting life happen as it should? Yes! The more I plan, the more I feel disappointment so I try to do it less. Life rarely manifests in the way you envision anyway. I still picture a life with multiple kiddos, but instead of always focusing on that I remind myself, I have the most loving husband, beautiful son, wacky dog and incredible family and friends-I have more than I need and much more than I deserve.
7. Give grace; it’s hard to know what to say.
Somebody once told me in reference to my miscarriage, “maybe it’s for the best.” That statement is still, to this day, hard for me to swallow. Under zero circumstances would losing my baby be for the best BUT (now that I’m at a place where I don’t want to throw a chair at someone for saying something insensitive) I also realize that there is nothing you can say to take away someone’s pain. There is no “right” thing to say, but I hate to break it to you, there are some “wrong” things…the above being one of them. Give grace; it’s hard to know what to say, especially about a topic we aren’t “supposed” to talk about. I had an overwhelming amount of support and love from the small circle I originally shared the news with and then again when I decided to share publicly through my business and with my followers. There were numerous statements, that to me, at the time were very difficult for me to hear, but in the end, everyone is just doing the best they can, saying what they think helps, and I can’t fault anyone for that. But in case you are wondering, here are some of the things that I think show support and love best:
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
Send a card.
“You are so loved.”
Say a prayer.
“I’m here for you.”
“Life really sucks and I’m sorry this happened to you. I love you and your angel baby. Let’s eat ice cream and cry together.”
8. I am enough (and so are you)!
After hearing about my second miscarriage, I remember sobbing that night and saying, “I’m not even a good enough Mom anyway, that’s why this happened.” I have tears in my eyes typing that because that moment of my life was one of my lowest and sadly, it will forever be engrained in my mind. I know that’s not true, but when I experienced miscarriage again, I could only blame myself. There had to be a reason and more than likely it was due to a deficit I had. I look back and honestly, I’m crying that I let my mind allow me to even say that aloud. YOU ARE ENOUGH. I AM ENOUGH and I AM A GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER. Yes, my kid eats lunchables every so often and watches Daniel Tiger everyday but you won’t find anyone who loves him more than I do!
Typically I don’t like sharing about the lows, I want Wild & Precious to be an uplifting, happy stop on your feed, but I don’t think it would be right to not also share about the not-so-easy part of this wild ride. Right? I mean it’s not always rainbows, there are storms, downpours and drizzles along the way. You know what the biggest thing my miscarriage has taught me…to be thankful for the people I do have, the child I did bring into this world, a husband that is everything to me, a platform to share my story and maybe a few people who will read it! ;) I’m thankful for my amazing body, even if I hated it for awhile. I’m thankful for the people who didn’t say the “right” thing but more importantly, said SOMETHING. I’m thankful for a doctor that I couldn’t imagine going through all these experiences without. I’m thankful for all the women and men who have exhibited all the strength in the world as they battle obstacles to becoming parents. I’m thankful for LIFE and every experience that goes with it because it made me who I am and made me realize who I want to be for others.
10. Even the smallest of footprints, leave a mark.
Always. And forever.
So here’s to hoping, wishing, learning and growing along this wild and precious ride. If you read this far, THANK YOU. It means the absolute world to me. Please know that if you are struggling, hurting, or remembering, I am praying for you and hopeful that the rainbow you’ve been dreaming of is right around the corner!