3.3
June 14, 2022

Having a Miscarriage is Not a Single Event. It’s a Series of Traumas.

miscarriage

Forever in my Heart.

March 22.

I had a miscarriage. I was nine weeks. Society plants this seed in us that this is a private matter, enforcing the “rule” of not telling anyone that you are pregnant until after the first trimester so if you lose the baby, you don’t have to make other people uncomfortable by telling them so.

You’ll still feel horrible but you can feel horrible on your own, in isolation.  That rule does not serve me.

Some people (who likely have not experienced such a loss) say, “It wasn’t really a baby yet, just a bunch of cells; no need to be so sad about it.” You know the IKEA effect where consumers place a disproportionately high value on something that they made/partially created?

To you, it might just seem like some unformed cells, but to me, I made those cells, my body changed creating those cells, I changed my lifestyle for those cells, I had dreams for those cells—Mother’s Day celebrations, birthday parties, playing at the beach. To me, they were a lot more than a few cells. And now, I long for that life together that we will never get to have.

Right now, I am sad, and I am hurting.

In the midst of my sadness I listened to Glennon Doyle‘s interview with Susan Cain on the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast, and I immediately got/started reading Susan’s book Bittersweet.

In a time that often has felt so lonely, Glennon shared something that spoke to me: “You run as fast as you can toward what breaks your heart because that is where you’ll find your people and your purpose.”

Susan shared a Keltner quote, “Sadness is beautiful and sadness is wise. Sadness is a meditation on compassion.”

Susan suggests asking yourself: “What do you feel like is the wound that has most affected you. And what could you do for one being in this world that would alleviate their pain?”

They talk about how artists are often the bittersweet types and that we have the ability to use our bittersweet and sadness and transform it into communion to help alleviate the pain of another. In her book, Susan discusses how “sadness, of all the emotions, was the ultimate bonding agent” and how it “brings people together.”

So I am sharing this experience with my art and with my story. Not for the people who will say: “Oh my God! That’s private. How could she share something so taboo?” But for the other person out there also suffering to let you know that you are not alone, and we can get through this together.

I’d hold on to you forever, but our rope was made of sand.

So, I decided that instead of repeating every moment of my miscarriage in my head, I would write down my experience. I shared what I had written with a friend who has been going through a miscarriage too. She told me I put something into words that she has felt but couldn’t articulate and, although I still feel a heavy weight, it feels like I’m not the only one carrying it now.

It feels like society, even our loved ones sometimes, want us to put our pain in a box and forget about it. Move on. But this loss is now a part of who I am, and instead of hiding it in the dark, I’m going to shine a light on it and hand out flashlights for those who want to bring their stories to light too.  As Susan Cain discusses in her book, I’m transforming my bittersweet sadness into art in hopes that it will help someone else feel just a little less alone and a little more understood.

If it reaches the life of just one other person feeling this way, I’ve done my job.

So here we go…

I am wearing a broken heart on my sleeve, and I don’t know if it is visible to anyone but me.

I call to cancel my 12-week scan. They ask me if I want to reschedule. Shocked, broken, I struggle as I whisper, “I lost the baby.”

My sonogram picture hangs next to my bed, taunting me like a car accident.

I don’t want to look because it’ll twist and squeeze and torment my heart, but I also cannot look away.

I feel utterly useless. Almost as if I had an edible—I am heavy, pinned to the bed—but I am the opposite of high.

My overwhelmed, tired mind drifts away like a balloon, aimlessly shifting in the wind, my words, my will, my dreams of our life together, flying away with it.

It’s like the feeling of walking into a room and not remembering what you are doing.

Maybe that’s what loss is. Trying to move on but missing a piece of the puzzle, indefinitely.

And then there’s the blood. So much blood. The incessant bleeding. Days turning into weeks.

Just the necessity of going to the bathroom is trauma-inducing—will it look like a scene from dexter? Will I birth another olive-sized blood clot? Every trip wondering “is that a piece of my baby?”

Even eating my favorite food, brie, is triggering. Like getting back together with an ex, it is not as good as I remember and leaves a bitter taste of resentment.

And the guilt of not savoring every nauseous minute, every fire-induced case of acid reflux, can be consuming.

What I’d give for that discomfort again.

Seemingly unrelated things take on new, unexplainable meaning. I cannot bring myself to take the chipped polish off my toes because I painted them when I was pregnant.

I guess I just won’t wear flip-flops ever again.

My soul feels lost in this ill-fitting cloak of a body.

It’s so uncomfortable to share a shell with a body that so deceived me.

I’d hold onto you forever but our rope was made of sand.

Having a miscarriage is not a single event.

It’s a series of traumas, and every day is a battlefield.

It’s a lifetime of misses. Missed birthdays. Missed kisses. Missed first time of this. Missed first day of that.

And every step forward is another step away from the baby I was growing.

Riding it out.

Grief is not linear.

It also makes people really uncomfortable. Not just the person experiencing it, but the people around them. People either avoid it altogether or want to fix you. Like there is a magic elixir that takes away pain. Or have you tried putting your pain in a file in your mind, locking it up and losing the key?

Happiness isn’t the only emotion, and restricting ourselves to feeling and expressing only one emotion is like choosing one color of the rainbow and ignoring the rest—it is so limiting and is such a disservice to our humanity. A prism just looks clear until you shine a light on it and see the whole spectrum of colors within it. So for now, I’m honoring myself and the life lost by feeling all the feels.

For those who (bless their souls) want to fix me, I am not a DIY project. Wood filler can’t mend the hole in my heart. A little sanding won’t buff out the pain I now wear on my sleeve. You might add some paint, but I remember the painful story underneath every stroke.

Trying to glue me back together is as hopeless as trying to nail down a wave. I will have good days and bad days, ups and downs, high tide and low tide, and all of that is okay.

I’m just riding it out.

We don’t love because it will last forever but because the process of loving changes us forever.

~

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