There are so many things in life that take us by surprise, that change our lives, that test our strength. That make us really wonder what we’re made of, make us sit up at night, stare in the mirror and think “how the hell am I supposed to do this?”
A month ago, I was pregnant. And not just pregnant, but happy to be pregnant, regardless of our financial status and current living situations. To some of you this might seem like an odd statement but when I was pregnant with my second child, I was scared out of my mind. I had no idea how I would be able to love another child as much as I loved my first daughter. Once I had her though, I realized that its entirely possible and quite effortless. So the idea of loving another wasn’t intimidating at all.
A month ago…eight weeks pregnant, arguing with my husband over baby names, on whether or not we were going to have a boy or a girl, agonizing on how I was going to manage to fit a family of five into a single wide trailer, remembering just how wonderful those first few kicks felt, gushing over adorable baby outfits, picturing my three children running around the yard as I gardened or my two girls at the table coloring as I cooked with a baby on my hip, actively planning on how I was going to breastfeed, how I was going to do things differently this time around, what mistakes I was going to avoid making, telling a handful of people my happy news and anxiously awaiting my first doctors appointment.
Today, I am not pregnant. Not even a little bit. There are times I think about how I’ve rehashed this story to my family, to those few people who knew, and wonder if any of them think I fabricated the whole thing. Maybe I’m thinking that because in all honesty, this entire situation is so surreal and I don’t know how to think about it. It took a week for my life to change so drastically that I can’t even wrap my head around how it all happened so quickly.
I realize that this is one of those times, those moments that don’t necessarily define us but change us and test our strength. And really…I don’t know how strong I am. There are moments that I’m fine. That I look at it objectively and realize that this wasn’t a good time to have a baby. We would have struggled, and we would have struggled hard. I can tell myself very easily that I am a statistic, that 70% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, that even though I did everything right, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to which is part of life.
And then there are times that I sit in my bed and think about everything I wont get to experience again. There is the woman who knows that come October, I’ll know exactly what I should have been doing and it will hurt considerably. There are times I can’t even listen to cheerful songs on the radio because of how much it hurts to lose something I never had a chance to hold. And there are times that I think about the two beautiful, healthy children I have…and wonder what it would have been like to have three.
It’s all normal. I know that too. This is grieving and it’s not cut and dry. There’s no time limit on how long you’re allowed to go through it. You can mourn the loss of a child any time and any way you please and no one has the ability to stop you from doing so. I remember one class I took in college and how we discussed the mourning cycle. My professor loved my statements on grieving. Yes, there are stages that you have to move through – denial, anger, sadness, acceptance to name a few. But there is no pattern in how you should move through them. Sometimes you revisit them repeatedly. Grieving is tricky business where one moment you’re in the phase of acceptance and you see something that throws you right back into anger. There is absolutely no set way in which you should move through the steps of grieving.
The doctor who informed me that there was no fetal heartbeat and that the pregnancy had ended did everything he could to reassure me that this was not my fault and that women moved on past miscarriage to have perfectly healthy babies and several times over. Which I already knew to be true. I can understand how some women wouldn’t, how some would blame themselves and live in this dark place where happiness only threatens to shine in spontaneous, short-lived moments.
More people are going to know now than any had before. Maybe that’s what I need to move on. I’m a writer so it makes sense for me to get all of this out in a way that is comforting to me, to hope that mothers going through the same thing stumble upon my blog and take solace in it. For those that do, a little note to yourself…do not, under any circumstances, Google the week that you’re miscarrying. I did and came across so many threads that detailed the amount of pain women went through that I was beside myself with fear over how much it would hurt. I remember reading one in particular, curling into myself and crying over how much I would have to prepare myself for the pain. As with any pregnancy, every miscarriage is different. Mine was only slightly above the level that I experience my periods at. Sorry for those male readers that might be cringing at this, but I think it’s important that women know this.
Sometimes you psyche yourself up for things before you can even experience them – high school, your first encounter with a sexual experience, a marriage, a pregnancy, parenting….a miscarriage. Everything that everyone goes through is so different that there is no set way you can experience life. You can rely on your support, you can rely on yourself, and you can rely on the fact that as difficult as life can be, as quickly as it can change and as hard as some of the situations you face can be, nothing is permanent. To every end there is a beginning.
To end this entry, I’d like to quote one of my favorite endings to one of my favorite songs; “So from all of us at Aerosmith, to all of you out there, wherever you are…remember, the light at the end of the tunnel may be you. Goodnight.”