A few weeks ago I gave birth to a wonderfully healthy little boy named Micah. About a year before that, I had a miscarriage. Since Micah was born he’s basically taken over my internet presence (and life in general), but I haven’t yet spoken about the one that came before him. The happy stuff is fun to talk about but the other side is just as important.
I certainly grieved the loss of the tiny creature that was growing inside of me and still tear up a bit writing about it. Miscarriage is sad and difficult. But for me, it wasn’t a tragedy. It can be part of the process of creating new life and it is incredibly common. Most every mother that I have spoken to has told me that she also had a pregnancy that just didn’t pan out.
So, I am not alone. We just don’t tend to talk about these things. It’s easy to apply our instinct to avoid physical pain to emotional matters as well. But just like the physical pain, the more we accept it, the more we can embrace it and all of our human experience.
SO MANY EMOTIONS. Though I was only pregnant for two months the first time, I loved that little tadpole in a way that I had not previously experienced. It was amazing. It was terrifying to care so much about something so very tiny and fragile and uncertain. I was so very afraid of losing him. Then, he was gone. I cried for a day or so and it was ok. I had people try to tell me that it wasn’t ok. That it was in fact devastating. I agreed to disagree.
For a while, baby bumps angered me. The women sporting those baby bumps angered me. Babies angered me. I had been denied all of those things, so why should anyone else have them, especially in my presence. Then I felt guilty for my anger. Then I stopped feeling guilty about my feelings because there’s no need for that. And soon I could see a baby and have no desire to punch his mother.
Like birth stories, miscarriage stories vary drastically. Some hardly even know it happened. Others (myself) go through a long and painful process.
I had two major bouts of cramping, 2 days apart, that each lasted about 6 hours. On a scale of 1-labor, the pain was probably about halfway to full-blown labor only there were no breaks between contractions. Though I was only 9 weeks along and hardly showing, all kinds of stuff came out of me. I was not prepared for that just because nobody ever told me that might happen. If Mike wasn’t around to talk me through it and assure me that all my guts were in fact still inside me, I would have either driven myself to the emergency room or had a mental breakdown. Despite the intensity of the experience, I required no medical attention. Just a lot of writhing around on my living room floor.
After that first night, I assumed it was over. The next day I had a couple more cramps, but nothing major. The day after that, we headed up to Chicago for a wedding. About an hour out of Chicago the cramping started up again and the last hour of the trip ended up taking three hours since we had to stop at nearly every exit to find a bathroom. It was rough, but we got there. And after sleeping most of the next day, I even made it to the wedding that night.
It took my body 3 months to completely heal from the whole process. And though that was often irritating, it gave me adequate time to emotionally heal before Micah started to form. I’d hardly told anybody when I was pregnant, but after the miscarriage I talked about it to anyone who cared to listen. It helped immensely to relate to many many other women who shared this experience. I found myself to be far less fearful the second time I got pregnant after having worked through the thing I feared. Stuff’s tough sometimes, but everything will always be ok.