Miscarriage: Your Story Matters At Every Phase

Content warning: Miscarriage

The second time I was pregnant, I knew instantly - okay, within 5 days to be totally accurate. My bras filled up, my poops changed, and I had that full body exhaustion where it’s not just your eyelids that want to close but your entire body wants to turn off. I took a pregnancy test even though I knew it was too early to show on the pee stick (it was).

A couple weeks later, I wanted to involved my husband so I told him the 3 minutes was up for the pregnancy test and as he walked into the bathroom I said, “two lines means yes, one line means no.”

He came out of the bathroom with a puzzled look, “what if one line is faint?”

Me, “no fu@k!ng way!!”

The smiles on our faces said it all. We were excited. After all the things leading up to this, it felt right (read this blog post where I chat all about our struggle with how to know if we were “one and done”, our couple’s therapy, and my decision to ask for PPD medication).

Within 5 minutes of excitement the obvious impact hit me, and tears started flowing, as I realized we really were about to go back down this path. Things like, “but I JUST feel like myself in the gym again” and “argh I’ve been craving sushi!!” came out of my mouth. As silly and petty as those things sound, they were really just the tip of the ice berg of knowing what I was in store for for the next 9 months, and what we’d be in store for as a family after that.

Not more than a week or so after, I felt the cramps, and again, knew immediately. I knew something was wrong. The heavy bleeding followed, and I had to break to my husband that this one wasn’t meant to be. After 5 days I took another test, to confirm what I knew, because both of us were still holding on to a little bit of hope that maybe things were okay. But this one wasn’t meant to be.

As soon those two pink lines confirmed a baby was on the way, we were picturing Christmas 2019 with an almost 3 year old and a 4 month old. Would it be a boy this time? Another girl? Up until getting pregnant I’ve said I wanted another girl - partly because I have boxes of clothes waiting downstairs - but as soon as we saw the two pink lines, it didn’t matter. It became the old, “as long as it’s healthy.”

Now, working out, eating sushi, and having wine, didn’t seem like a big deal, nor even enticing anymore. I didn’t touch a drink for a couple weeks after the miscarriage, even though I was “dying for one” when I found out I was pregnant. I still haven’t, months later, had sushi – again, that I was craving so badly, apparently.

It confirmed for us how much we did want this. No question now. We were sad.

And boy did we appreciate our little girl that much more. We were, and continue to be, so thankful that she came to us, and is the healthy spitfire she is.

I was additionally upset because I felt like the medication I had just started for my postpartum depression wasn’t working. I was low, sad, my social anxiety heightened again, and I didn’t want to partake in anything. I quickly reminded myself – no, this IS a reason to feel sad. If anything, it was a sign that my medication wasn’t “numbing” me as so many false claims are made about anti-depressants (especially maddening when those claims are made by famous people with huge influence circles, and add to this stigma. Not naming names. We’ll call this fictional character Hewis Lowes.)

There are always surprises in these life events. With my miscarriage, the surprise was in my inability to allow myself to be outwardly sad. I didn’t feel worthy of sadness. Why? Because I wasn’t far enough along. Because I never met my baby. I fell into the comparison trap of “my story isn’t tragic enough.” I was “just another statistic” of the many many women who will experience miscarriage in their life. But the truth is, the SECOND we found out we were pregnant, that child existed to us. It was the 4th at the Christmas table next year. It was Anna’s sibling. It was the 2nd grandchild (on one side) and the 34th grandchild (on the other side - yes, 34th).

Again and again I’m reminded – everyone, EVERYONE has their struggles, and every single struggle and story matters. Everyone is entitled to feel all the feelings, go through all the thoughts, and mourn or celebrate or laugh or cry. If you’re feeling like your situation isn’t worthy – it is. It absolutely is. And you have every right to feel every and all of the emotions over it.

I’ve come to view this experience as a necessary one for us. Never ever has a decision been so all-consuming, and it was the scariest thing in the WORLD to try for a second. Even when it happened, I still had a huge piece of me saying, “do we REALLY want to do this again?” Despite the tantrums, the hard days, the sleepless nights, the teething, the sickness, the trips to the Children’s Hospital, the constant physical contact, the constant repeated questions, the lack of time for us as a couple, the lack of time for us as individuals - despite ALL of it, we were sad when that was all taken away from us. It was the confirmation piece we needed to say, “Yes. This is a bad shit crazy ass way to live. But for some reason, we want it, and we want to add to the chaos.” (And even as I write that, I still don’t 100% believe it, hah! Do you EVER believe it?).

A Letter To New Moms

From this week until the end of December, we are expecting 7 new babies in our family and friends circle, and it got me reminiscing on those first days of motherhood. My daughter was born on the 7th, on a Saturday, so at this time exactly 9 months ago I was about to become a mom in less than 24 hours. And my world would be rocked!

Just shy of my daughter being 2 weeks old, my cousin came to visit for some baby snuggles. With a gift was a letter she had written, passing on some sage mom wisdom being a mom of two herself.

I BAWLED the first time I read the letter - I mean, I was 2 weeks postpartum and perhaps slightly (okay totally) overwhelmed and hormonal. But still. I think I only made it half way down the page the first time I read it because I literally couldn't see through the waterworks of tears.

For any women about to become a mom, or perhaps has recently become a mom, I would like to pass on my cousin's loving words (with her permission), in the hopes that perhaps it will give you a bit of reassurance and comfort during this absolute whirlwind time. Let's be honest, I just re-read it and cried again, it's great advice no matter where you are on your motherhood journey.

Let me start by saying how very happy I am for you and your new family! This is an exciting time that will without a doubt trump all other moments in your life thus far. As a fellow mom, I feel it is my duty to warn you about all the “super helpful” thoughts, ideas, and suggestions you will receive in the next while, and remind you that on those days you think you are going crazy…nope, you really are just normal. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts for you:
A little advice on taking advice:
Take all the “offered” advice with a grain of salt. Always remember, “mother knows best”…meaning you!
When someone offers help, take it! This does not make you weak, this makes you smart.
You will have those days that being short on sleep and overtired get the best of you, and you may look at that baby and say, “holy shit, what did I do!” Don’t feel bad, this makes you normal, and anyone that tells you they never had one of these moments is lying to you. Rest assured, when that sweet baby curls up in your arms and falls asleep to the rhythm of your heart, you will fall in love all over again.
Your baby does not come with a program, as each and every child and situation is unique, so take what you want from all those baby self-help books, and brainwashing Google sites, and toss the rest away.
Take guilt-free time for YOU! These are necessary sanity breaks, and YOU DESERVE THEM!
Join a baby group, but don’t get caught up in the comparison game. Some women will tell you that their child is perfect no matter what…seek out the ones that make you feel normal, not inadequate.
Lastly, don’t forget each other. After all, this baby wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the love that brought the two of you together. Some day that little baby will grow up and get a life of it’s own, and you don’t want to lose sight of each other and your marriage in the meantime. You will find date night takes on a whole new meaning once you have a baby – it means you get to eat a meal while it’s actually hot, wear something other than yoga pants and a hoodie with barf, poop, or snot on it, and perhaps even risk the idea of putting on a regular bra again, even just for an hour or two.
I can’t wait to watch your little baby grow and become the beautiful little person she is destined to be.
With Love
IMG_0916.JPG