This week, I am not confining myself to a five minute response to the prompt from The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday, but I am still linking up and responding. I would also like to warn my readers that the topic of this blog will deal with miscarriage. I realize how deep the grief can be, and if you would like to back away from reading further, I understand.
The Gypsy Mama's writing prompt this week is Loss. Either it's entirely coincidental, or it's further silent urging for me to share my grief, something I have felt inclined to do but from which I have shied away. I believe it is the latter.
Three years ago, I was ten weeks pregnant with our first child.
Exactly three years ago yesterday, we went to the doctor, and she joyfully confirmed our pregnancy and showed us our baby on the ultrasound. There was a little blur on the screen, completely indistinct and only seen by me when she pointed it out (twice). A tiny heart was flickering with life.
We held hands, laughing in awe and happiness. It was a beautiful moment I have tucked away deep in my heart.
Then, she told me something that caused clouds to roll in and darken my joy. The doctor told me the baby measurements indicated I was six weeks along, and not ten, as I had calculated. When I expressed my concern, she brushed me off, saying I must have figured it wrong. I remained silent, but I worried because I knew I had not.
The next day, everything was all wrong. My doctor was out, so I saw another doctor. He brushed aside my concerns, saying if everything was fine yesterday, then my symptoms were likely nothing to be concerned about.
I cried the entire way home. I will never forget that drive as long as I live. Every moment is seared into my memory. I knew the truth. My baby had lived long enough to make me a mother with all the intuition and knowing that motherhood brings.
The grief of a miscarriage is often a hidden pain. The world does not share in mourning a life that never was, a light gone too soon, a child lost before the parents could even meet her. I had only known about my pregnancy for a month. We had told very few people, so few people knew about our loss and the reason for our sadness.
For me, the grief was too overwhelming to easily share with others distanced by the miles that separate me from family and close friends. I felt their love and concern and prayers, and I'm forever grateful for them. But I felt alone in my loss, made especially painful by the excruciatingly long and lingering physical process of miscarrying my baby.
It's not easy for me to put words to my feelings except in writing, so I do not blame my loved ones for my feelings of isolation; they reached out to me with love and concern through those weeks. I will never forget their outpouring of love.
For a mother, I feel that miscarriage carries too many emotions to be summed up by the simple word loss. I felt sickened and pained by the physical process, betrayed by my own body, guilty that I had done something wrong, angry that this had happened to me, who had loved and longed for and wanted this baby.
I felt... alone. Even when I wasn't. And from some people, mostly doctors, well-meaning and truly sympathetic words only caused me further pain.
I was told not to worry, that there would be other babies. I was told not to be sad, and that I would get pregnant again very soon. I was told not to feel too bad, that likely my baby had had some deformity which had caused my body to reject her.
Grief is not soothed by platitudes. It's similar to attending a funeral, and telling the mourning family, "At least she's in a better place." In the fresh ache of loss, those words don't make anyone feel any better, regardless of if they are the truth. And in my case, it was adding salt to a wound.
I wanted my baby with me. I wanted that baby, not another baby. I would have loved my baby with any defect she had. I raged against the injustice that took her from me.
Grief is not soothed by logic. No amount of reasoning brought healing to my heart. I'm a person who loves living by the rules, who embraces science and facts and realities. These things do not bring solace to a grieving heart.
They say time heals all wounds. I can't say that I have found that to be true in the case of truly heartbreaking sorrows. But, time does bring clarity to grief.
My baby is in a better place. I love to picture her in the arms of Jesus, her soul flying from the loving warmth of my womb to his gentle arms. It was an image that I think put me on the first step towards healing.
A piece of my heart is forever missing, flown away to heaven with my baby. A broken heart is never quite whole again, but it does heal, it does scar over. There are many others who have endured a pain far greater than my own and have come out on the other side scarred, but healing, and ready to move on with life.
Three years. I whisper words to the child I never met but I feel I know. I send hugs and kisses and love to the baby I still long to embrace. She is as real to me as the child who lays sleeping peacefully, ready for me to cuddle next to her when I return to bed.
But for the moment, I sit with my loss in the comforting embrace of the night. Daylight is unfriendly towards grief; sunshine and warmth seem incongruous with the ache of sadness. In the dark, grief sits by me as a friend, acknowledging my right to shed tears and feel this ache in my heart. So I embrace it. No platitudes, no logic. Just tears that bring healing.
Although I have not shared about my miscarriage with many people, aside from close friends and family, I have felt for some time that I would like to write about our loss. I know how terrible the pain can be, and how alone one can feel.
Miscarriage is something the majority of women experience as one in three pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but it is a loss only whispered about. The pain and grief is made all the more difficult because of the lack of support. I hope my words have brought even one person some measure of comfort in knowing her sadness, her grief, her pain, is shared and understood by others.