To this very day I tell the story of my third pregnancy through bouts of laughter. I will never forget the day. A cooler than normal spring day with a mist of rain spritzing my face as I ran from the car into the doctor’s office. I had made the appointment convincing myself I had a kidney infection and the flu. I felt miserable from head to toe. I made the obligatory walk with the pee cup in hand and then waited patiently in my fashionable paper gown. I truly just wanted some antibiotics, my flannel pajamas and sleep. Enter Dr.Doom with my file and a smile. As I paced the floor he whispered the words, “you may want to sit down.” This was it, he was about to tell me …. Before I had a chance to conjure up some life altering disease he blurted out “You are PREGNANT.”
I swear on all things meaningful to me I burst out laughing, and then instantly cried. This man had been my doctor for thirteen years now and knew this wasn’t the plan. I was a very proud mom of a twelve year old feisty, dramatic and beautiful daughter as well as a ten year old calm, handsome son. I was thirty four and had my children early for a reason. None of that mattered now, I was going to be a mom again. If my life has taught me one thing, it is to expect the unexpected.
We brought the children home McDonald’s happy meals and announced they were going to have a baby brother or sister. What I didn’t know was that during my pregnancy I would find out I was carrying a boy and a girl. What I also wasn’t aware of was that I would never get to meet my daughter.
Many people do not know this chapter in my life. I have learned that miscarriage is one of the loneliest forms of grief. We don’t talk about it. We are supposed to act as if it wasn’t a real, true loss. How are you sad, it wasn’t an actual full term child? You need to be grateful for the children you do have. Yes, these are things we hear, so we shut down deeper into loneliness.
When we lose a loved one and there is a physical body, that is what we mourn. We gather in groups to attend services and funerals. We lean on one another to make it through those tough times. When you are told that you are no longer carrying a “viable fetus,” that is the end. You conjure up horrible images of where it ends up. People don’t form support groups, or send flowers. They will avoid this situation because it is dark and awkward like all grief.
Our society conspires to render miscarriage invisible. There is an unwritten rule that a woman should never announce her pregnancy until she reaches three months “just in case”. Exactly who is this helping? The first trimester is when a woman does all the hard work of creating the baby. All the organs in the baby’s body is formed, and the mother experiences worse fatigue and nausea than at any other point of gestation. Women need to be supported through this vulnerable period and know its okay to ask for it?
If they miscarry, as one in six early babies will, women need even more support through their trauma. “Not telling” leaves women stranded with their grief. How can they begin to explain that they are mourning the loss of something whose existence was kept secret in the first place?
Pregnancy is a superstitious time and I can see why women don’t want to tempt fate by announcing their news too soon. Fate has dealt me, and many others that blow, the one people keep secret, and not talking makes it so lonely.
So talk. Tell. We can be proud of our pregnancies, no matter how “successful” they are. A hurting heart is a sign of a loving heart. The one thing that can help
is knowing other women who have been through the same thing. Miscarriage is such a common trauma – there is no reason for us to be alone in our grief.
Much Love ❤