Continuing to write about how we’re doing in the weeks and months following the unexpected loss of our baby at 12 weeks has proven challenging. I find myself wrapped up in feeling inadequate and somehow not qualified to share my feelings surrounding our miscarriage because I feel a sense of responsibility to write words that resonate with other women who have been there before, especially those who have been through multiple miscarriages or losses further along in pregnancy. It’s stifling to my writing but also, I’m beginning to realize, a self-imposed sense of writer’s block that doesn’t need to be there.
When I read Emily’s blog post about her two miscarriages last week, I began sobbing. I cried tears I desperately needed to cry. Tears for Emily and her horrific experiences, tears for the baby we lost in January and tears for the tiny heartbeats and fuzzy ultrasound pictures so many wish we could will and pray into healthy babies.
It wasn’t until I read one reader’s comment on Emily’s blog post that I had the sense of clarity I had been searching for ever since we experienced our loss. The commenter simply began her comment by saying, “Miscarriage changes you.”
Miscarriage changes you.
The words I’ve been looking for all along right in front of my face.
Something happened after our miscarriage. I feel more emotionally fragile, more aware of what an incredible miracle it is to experience a healthy pregnancy/baby and full of a deeper level of sympathy for those who experience this loss.
In the beginning, it was hard not to feel immersed in the physical aspects of life after a miscarriage because it felt like my body was rebelling against me. In the days that followed my D&C, my face and chest broke out horribly. I wore only high-necked shirts because I was so embarrassed and my face was covered in blemishes even the best concealer could not hope to hide. First trimester pregnancy cravings and aversions remained for a solid week after my D&C. I felt the weight of the 10 pounds I gained during the first trimester of my pregnancy, along with a few additional pounds I gained after our miscarriage. The bleeding after my D&C stopped for a few days and then returned. It felt like my body didn’t know what to do to heal. Beautiful pregnant bellies and excited pregnancy announcements for the month of our due date and the months following our due date were seemingly everywhere. My hormones were raging and everything felt like a physical reminder of our loss.
Everything I read about cycles returning said most women will get their period again four to six weeks after a D&C. Mine returned seven weeks later, and while a week after the predicted time may not seem like a long time, when I was already in a negative space emotionally, it felt like an eternity and made me worry about whether or not my body, the same body that completely failed to recognize our baby stopped growing (I experienced a “missed miscarriage”), would get back to a healthy place.
When my period came, I cried. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief that maybe everything would be okay. We began to talk about trying again.
Something I’ve struggled with following the loss of our baby is the continued desire to have another baby. It’s still there and it’s strong. But it also comes along with fear and a sense of guilt. What about the baby we lost? Does the desire to have another baby so soon after a miscarriage mean we’re already moving on from the baby we lost?
During a yoga class last week, the instructor told us to dedicate our practice to someone and think of them as we repeated various phrases about strength, love and happiness in our minds.
I thought of the baby we lost.
It took everything I had not to crumble on my mat. I felt such an overwhelming sense of loss and love. But I also realized, as I was driving home from yoga, that the desire to have another baby does not in any way take away the immense love I have and will always have for the baby we lost. That love will remain forever.
If there is anything positive I can take away from our experience, it is the bond I feel toward other women who have walked in my shoes before. The number of women in my personal life and the number of incredible blog readers who have come forward to offer me words of hope, compassion and strength overwhelmed me in the best possible way. The people who helped us the most after our loss were the people who shared their experiences with us so openly and I am forever grateful to them and to you. What you were to me, I want to be to others.
Truth be told, I ended up writing this blog post in my mind at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning before I sat down at the computer an hour later to finally put words to thoughts that still feel jumbled and confusing. Coping with a miscarriage is hard. When I try to find the words to write about it, they fail me over and over again and no words seem capable of capturing such raw and intense emotion.
As so many of you assured me, healing comes slowly with each passing day. There are good days and bad days… I’m okay and then I’m not. A little over two months after our miscarriage, I still have moments when I break down but I am doing okay.
I now know and understand something important: Miscarriage changed me. I’m softer but I am stronger.