On February 10th 2019 I found out that I was pregnant. On February 17th 2019 I lost my baby.
Finding out that I was pregnant was a whirlwind surprise. Although my husband and I had been together for years previously, and had consciously removed barriers to conception, we were recently married and were not expecting to conceive so quickly.
Although it was short lived- I really loved being pregnant. I felt like a goddess. I felt apart of an ancient club of women who had come before me. I was instantly at peace and had a deep intuitive sense that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I’ve always been a “mother” through various roles and dynamics in my life, and am most at peace when I’m caring for people, plants and animals, so the natural progression into an identity as a pregnant woman felt like an incredibly beautiful and sacred next phase of my life. I felt excited and prepared.
As a birth doula I spend a lot of time thinking about womxn and babies. I spend hours and hours in trainings, watching prenatal and postpartum videos, reading books on pregnancy and solidifying a well-rounded arsenal of expertise so that I can best support my clients down whatever route their pregnancy and their newfound parenthood take them. I spend a lot of time with pregnant families and try to always make myself available to friends who are trying to conceive or who are navigating their own experience with pregnancy, childbirth or caring for a newborn. As a professional I’m an unwavering pillar of support and factual knowledge. I know that miscarriage happens in 1 in 4 pregnancies. I know that many womxn struggle or take a while to conceive. I know that these are not indicators of your ability to see a healthy pregnancy to term in the future. None of this matters when it’s you.
Miscarriage hurt. And I don’t just mean mentally or spiritually. It physically hurt. Heavy blood loss, cramps and “contractions” that I had never experienced previously along with hours of tests; prodding, poking and probing in the E.R. just to find out that what you thought was right and real is no longer your current reality. After our ordeal I was exhausted and eager to move on. I was only pregnant for 5 weeks and thought that it couldn’t be that big of a deal for me emotionally given it was such a short period of time. My husband was kind, loving and gracious and I assured him it wasn’t a big deal. I compartmentalized my emotions and packed them away into a perfectly packaged little space in my mind, tied a bow around it and wrote a quaint little instagram post that received likes and affirmations of support. I decided that anger, resentment and sadness simply weren’t my M.O., I “moved on” with my life and that was that.
For the past few months since my pregnancy loss my body and cycle have been all over the place. No period for months, a few that were super late and then eventually when I think it’s all starting to re-regulate and return to the same general schedule, the next cycle is just as unpredictable. With regulation I thought- this is it! I got pregnant so quickly the first time, I’m sure it will easily happen again! And although it hasn’t been long, with every month that passes, the emotions, self-judgements and fear of failure and the unknown re-emerge.
Both miscarriage and the journey to conceive have been isolating. The majority of my close female-identifying friends are not in a period of their lives where pregnancy is on their radar. Despite their endless love and support, they can’t relate to my experience and it doesn’t always feel like the most comfortable topic of conversation. The other portion of my friends are currently pregnant or have recently given birth and are navigating their own challenging and beautiful next phase, unknowingly simplifying my feelings with kind, and well meaning advice like “it will happen when you relax”, “let go of control” or “my pregnancy happened exactly when it was supposed to”. These are all true and beautiful concepts (and are the same advice I would give to any friend going through the same experience) but they don’t make me feel better.
Talking about the sadness and anger from my miscarriage makes me feel vulnerable and weak. I worry about boring my friends or making them uncomfortable, but the more I hold it in, the more alone and frustrated I feel. The longer I stress about it and hold onto my emotions, the harder it is for my body to navigate a new pregnancy. The reality is- it’s no one’s job to “make it better”. This work is mine and although pregnancy loss is universal, my journey toward healing is mine and mine alone.
So what to do? I only recently admitted to myself that this experience is still heavy on my heart, and with that realization comes a renewed commitment to honoring myself and what I need.
It’s time to slow down and rest, sleep, eat well, go for long walks with the people I love most and ultimately take care of my mind and my body. It’s time to make an appointment with my favorite therapist so that I can continue to add the necessary tools to my toolbox of mental health and process my emotions and experience in a proactive, safe and healthy way. It’s time to confide in and lean on my community who hold me up to the light and who love me dearly.
It’s time to give myself a break, because perfection is overrated and the journey has just begun.
Wish me luck <3