It’s much easier to type those words than to speak them aloud, but it’s true. In April 2020, I suffered a miscarriage, and it has completely changed me. I couldn’t and still can’t believe it happened. No shade to other women who have experienced this painful, life-changing event, but I never imagined it would happen to me. No woman ever believes it’ll happen to her. Here I am, a mother of two healthy, living children that were birthed with no complications. How could this happen to me?
When you become pregnant, there is a taboo around sharing the news of your pregnancy before 12 weeks because statistics show that early miscarriage is very common. I always followed the pattern of not sharing before 12 weeks. Honestly, I never say anything before 5 months of pregnancy. With my third pregnancy, I was planning on doing the same thing. I would be sharing the news of my pregnancy at the end of May 2020, only to have lost my beautiful child at the end of April.
Unlike some women (my heart goes out to those struggling to conceive), my husband and I weren’t trying to conceive a child. We were practicing natural family planning. I had no idea I was pregnant until I was almost through the first trimester. As soon as I began to accept our reality and became excited, my pregnancy began to end. My heart was shattered. I’m still shattered. I’ve condemned myself over and over again for still mourning my angel. Feeling as though I’m being dramatic. But God… But my husband… But therapy… they help me so much.
In general, I am not one who copes with the death of a loved one very well. So when I lost my child… it ended me. It ended the woman I once knew, was, and was becoming. Why would God allow this to happen to me? I wasn’t even trying to get pregnant, so why let it happen to only put me through pain? I was so angry with God. I felt abandoned by Him. I couldn’t understand Him. I felt disconnected from Him. However, I didn’t know what else to do so I continued to pray. I continued to ask Him for help. Cried out to Him endlessly. I told Him how much He hurt me every day. I felt like he’d broken me.
I knew about miscarriages, but I wasn’t educated. When I was in the beginning stages of my loss, I immediately thought of my friend who’d shared her experience with me. I couldn’t remember what I had said to her, but I knew that I owed her an apology. I knew that I didn’t have a true understanding of the impact the loss of pregnancy had on a woman, so I knew I probably offered very insensitive and unsolicited advice. I knew this because everything everyone (with the exception of a few) has said to me throughout this healing journey was completely hurtful and unhelpful. It wasn’t what I wanted nor needed to hear to “feel better.”
For the most part, pregnancy and infant loss is a taboo topic. No one talks about it, many women sit in silence as they mourn, and others are shamed for sharing their pain publicly. People only want to see the beauty of pregnancy, and that completely dismisses the community of women who are still mothers to precious angels they didn’t get enough time with. Many people will minimize the amount of pain a woman feels when losing a child if she experienced her loss early in pregnancy. A loss is a loss. Women experience pregnancy loss differently. Some women have no idea they’ve lost their baby until an ultrasound confirms no heartbeat, while others experience bleeding and cramping. Some have to get surgery to clear out their uterus, while others give birth to their lifeless child over a toilet. Some women experience labor in a hospital bed only to hold their baby for minutes to an hour. There are so many variables.
I tried posting to social media as normal for months. Pretending like nothing had happened and that I was ok. Posting pictures with fake smiles and laughs while suffering from anxiety and bouts of depression. It’ll be a year since my miscarriage in 4 weeks. I still have so much to say and share. This is the first time in a long time where my fingers just simply went to work on the keyboard. I tried so hard to blog last year, but I couldn’t. The topics meant nothing to me because I felt like my life was falling apart. I had fallen apart. So if this post is all over the place, forgive me. I literally picked up my computer and just poured out my heart. I will be sharing MUCH more as so much has happened in a year, and I’m beginning to feel encouraged and excited about life again.
I came across a Facebook post from a woman that I felt stole the words right from my heart. She spoke my experience so clearly. I feel seen every time I read it. I hope it touches you and brings a little more enlightenment to you.
“No one talks about the messy parts of miscarriage. No one talks about the painful details. No one talks about the cramping, the labor, the bleeding, the postpartum hormones raging-all without a sweet snuggly baby as a reward. No one talks about the “products of miscarriage.” The baby that comes out of you, just as it would full grown… only much, much smaller. The placenta. The blood. The horrendous pain and wearing of what feels like diapers 24/7 for days or even weeks. No one talks about what you should do with the tiny, perfectly formed body you just birthed. If it’s under a certain ‘gestational age’ it’s left up to you. Do you bury it? Do you cremate? Do you toss it in the garbage?! Do you flush?! If it landed in the toilet? What do you do?! And why doesn’t anyone tell you these are decisions you will have to make? Why doesn’t anyone speak up? No one should have to make a decision like that in the moment of extreme emotion, trauma, and pain. No one should have to look back and wish they had done something differently. Wished they had known there were options. We need to do things differently. When I was pregnant with my oldest, and especially after his labor & postpartum, I remember thinking “why didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this?” And here I am again. On the other side, wondering “why no one ever told me it would be like this?” So, I’m here. I’m standing up. If you ever find yourself in this horrible place… reach out to me. I will share the messy parts, the hard parts, the important decisions and moments of grief, pain, and healing to come. I will speak up.” -Annalise Washburn