Dear women of the world,
My life experience is woven together with the pain of miscarrying.
This is why, despite no advertisement, a majority of people who find my therapy office have experienced a loss from their womb.
As a culture, we are unaware of the prevalence of miscarriages because spontaneously ended pregnancies are not held in an honest light. Miscarriage is summoned into the shadows of darkness—we are shunned to suffer in silence.
Not using our voice, or sharing our experience of miscarrying keeps the subject taboo, tormenting, and terribly isolating—it continues negative societal and social norms. Norms that need to be challenged so future men and women know that they are not alone in their pain of losing the child they will never meet.
That silencing is why I am sharing about an experience that is so personal, so potent, so painful. Sharing holds so much power.
I am one of five women who will miscarry. I have miscarried many, many times. I have grieved a child I will never meet many, many times. Grief from their absence has left me hungering, empty, and questioning every facet of my existence on this earth. Each miscarriage has left me broken open, raw, bruised, vulnerable, and torn to pieces.
Miscarriage led me to feel unloveable, unworthy, untouchable, and defective. But the social stigmas that silence the experience of miscarriage are what have led me to experience a more painful feeling: that I am completely alone in my suffering.
When my clients walk into my office and barely utter the words of what has happened to their womb because the tsunamis of tears are trembling for an escape—I get it.
I have experienced shame around my “failure” to carry for nine months that at times has left me feeling annihilated from humanity. Just like my clients, and just like other women who have miscarried, I have craved feeling a second pulse within me. I have cried myself to sleep with my hands on my womb. I have been conflicted about my adequacy to be a mother. I have contemplated everything I could have done differently. I have missed feeling as if I am never alone because they are within me. I have carried pain in the place of my womb where my child was once present.
My first experience of miscarriage was at the sweet age of sixteen. The pregnancy was a result of sexual assault, and its occurrence was the first indicator that my body housed a rare form of uterine cancer. One that makes my body ripe for fertilization, but an inhospitable home for unborn babies. These cells in my womb mean that I have experienced multiple miscarriages.
Being seasoned in this form of loss, I can tell you that each miscarriage comes with a pain that is as unique as the potential life that has been lost. Miscarrying my daughter at sixteen, in isolation, left me in a prison of mental pain. I was tormented with thoughts like:
What if I miscarried again?
What if I couldn’t have children?
What if something was wrong with me?
These fears drove my life. These fears kept me awake at night. These fears veered my life off course. These fears led me to a life focused on finding extremely externalizing, validating career successes. These fears kept me in the fast lane on the suppression freeway.
I started to slow down when I was forced to turn down my speed after the second miscarriage in my early twenties—I was confronted with the prison cell in which miscarrying in silence had placed me. However, I didn’t have the support to use my voice and share the pain that was suffocating my life. It wouldn’t be until years later when I experienced another miscarriage that I would finally look down at the blood coming from my body and accept—accept that I was afraid of never being able to give my future partner a child.
I was afraid of contaminating a future partner’s heart with the pain of miscarriage. I was living my life out of fear of being a disappointment to someone, someday.
I was afraid of miscarrying (again).
I accepted that I was living my greatest fear (again).
These beliefs about being defective and infecting someone else’s life were always lurking behind the choices I made when dating—older men, men who had children, men who never wanted children, men with full-time careers, men who weren’t serious about me, men who would never commit, men I settled for. Men that I would not let down by not having their child.
In that moment of pause, when I was forced to feel the pain of losing another baby, I was able to witness how my first miscarriage had reverberated in my life. I saw how the lack of anyone to confide in, share with, and guide me through the process of mourning had generated a tidal wave in my life that went on for a decade.
I was continuing to repeat the pain of losing her by partnering with men who were not truly present for me. When I witnessed all of this, I was forced to feel—feel how losing my daughter had broken my heart.
Feel my aloneness in lacking shared support and guidance.
Feel how I settled for men who would never fulfill my desires.
Feel the pain of doubt that maybe I would never carry a child to full term.
I felt it, and then I surrendered.
Surrendering led me to do things differently when I miscarried most recently. It led me to reach out. To speak out. To be vulnerable and brave and say, “I have miscarried. My heart hurts. I need your support.” It led me to seek the support that I am privileged to offer other women today.
I am sharing my story so we can break the silence that stops others who have experienced miscarriage from accessing support.
If you are out there feeling alone in your experience of miscarrying, not knowing what to feel or how to feel it, questioning if you will ever heal; if you feel confused or less than human and don’t have anyone in your life to connect with over your grief, anger, sadness, confusion, please know you are not alone. Remember that others have been where you are now. Remember that there is life after a miscarriage. Remember to surrender.
Surrendering to everything you are feeling now will leave you open to the lessons that are manifesting from your unborn child’s absence. The first lesson being that we are never alone. Remember, remember, remember. Remember, and live for the child or children you did not get to meet. I know that I am.
With love and gentleness from,
a therapist and woman who has miscarried just like you.
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