“Why are you crying? You can try again. You’re lucky you’re young.”
I was 29 lying in an examination room. My husband still had his sunglasses on. I could see tears rolling down his cheeks.
“I guess I’m just sad about all of this. I’ve never had this happen before. I’m just sad.”
She handed me a tissue and said we were free to go. I was so angry, but her nonchalant attitude made me feel like I was overreacting. Like I shouldn’t feel the way I felt. Where was my regular doctor? What would he say? Why was this lady so insensitive?
We headed down the hall to the elevator. We held hands, but didn’t speak to each other, there was nothing to say. There was no baby. Nothing on the ultrasound. We had our answer. We pressed the button on the elevator. My husband still had his sunglasses on.
“I’m sorry.” That’s all I could think to say when the doors closed. He hugged me and we cried for 11 floors until the bell dinged and we stepped out.
We went out to the car and his mother called asking if we were coming up for Father’s Day tomorrow. I forgot about Father’s Day.
“Sure. We’ll be there.”
As we drove home, I felt angry, sad, guilty, confused. I knew I did something wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t have been lifting things. I should have started taking vitamins sooner. Will I be able to have kids? Why did we tell people before the first trimester was over? We should have waited. I should be in better shape. Maybe I didn’t drink enough water. Now what?
Driving up three hours for Father’s Day the next morning was a mistake. I didn’t know how much pain, blood, cramping and trauma I would feel as the tissue passed. I didn’t even know I would pass tissue. I’m sure the doctor told me, but I didn’t hear it. I didn’t know there would so much pain physically and mentally. I didn’t know I would be sitting on the toilet for hours watching it fill up with red and just wanting it all to end. It took days.
I still questioned my sadness. Why did that lady say that to me? Why was I so attached to something I couldn’t see; or touch? Looking back the answer is so clear. Looking back, I wish I could grab the face of that sad 29 year old and tell her everything she was feeling was her right to feel. Everything she was thinking was normal and the reason there is so much sadness is the joy that is so swiftly ripped away.
You are left empty wanting so desperately to hear a heartbeat again that you knew was viable and connected to your soul in unimaginable ways. Because the minute you found out you were having a baby, you started dreaming of every possible thing that comes with the awesome responsibility of bringing a life into the world. Your mind switches to being a mom. Your whole purpose and person change. You think of names. You think of your own mother. You hope you’ll be good enough. You hope the baby will be healthy. You wonder when you’ll feel him. You wonder what she’ll look like. You’re so filled with hope and wonder that you get a chance to be someone’s mom. And as much as you try to keep the thought at bay, you quietly pray that you don’t have a miscarriage.
I wish I could tell the 29-year-old girl what I know now after two miscarriages and two healthy children. After listening to people, I should have shut out. After working through my own personal emotions in my own way. I wish I knew then what I know now, but that’s not how life is. That’s the joy and pain of it. And miscarriage, though it rarely gets talked about, is common. It’s painful. It’s bloody. It’s traumatic. And it’s personal to whomever it’s happening to. So, if this is happening to you, or to someone you know here’s what I wish someone had told me…
It’s Not Your Fault
Nothing you did made this happen. You didn’t eat the wrong thing. You didn’t lift something heavy. It’s not coffee or paint fumes. What happened is that it literally is a miracle when everything works right. When all the parts and pieces come together to make a human being it’s an absolute wonder. The parts and pieces didn’t come together. That’s it.
Everything You’re Feeling is Normal
Your feelings are your feelings. You could miscarry at 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 11 weeks- everyone has a different story. Everyone is further ahead or further behind when they miscarry. Don’t compare your pain to anyone else’s. Don’t judge anyone else’s story and don’t judge your own. What you feel is what you feel. You could be numb, indifferent, devastated- there’s no playbook or rules. There’s just you and who you are and what you feel and all of those things are perfectly fine.
Give Yourself As Much Time As You Need
Maybe you can’t wait to start trying. Maybe you can’t bear the thought. You’re on your own timeline. No one has any expectations of you and if they do, you need to shut them down. If you want to try again, you’ll know when you’re ready, take as much time as you need.
You Will Have Pain and Be Scared
Having a miscarriage hurts. Your uterus will cramp, you will pass blood clots and other tissue. You will go back for blood tests to make sure your HCG levels are dropping to zero, if not, you may have to have a dilation and curettage (D&C) to remove tissue from your uterus. I wish I had known how much pain and blood was coming. It’s sad, scary and painful in many ways.
Tell People or Don’t
Whether you told people you we’re pregnant or not, your closest friends and loved ones will know you were when they hear about your miscarriage. If you need support, tell people. If you want to be private, be private. Either way, you’ll have to talk to someone about your feelings and if that’s one person or many, it’s up to you. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you share or don’t share. Just make sure you lean on the people closest to you when you need to.
You’ll Have Terrible Thoughts And Happy Ones Too
Can I have kids? What is wrong with me? What if I get pregnant again and miscarry? No one knows. That’s the thing about life. Everyone has a different journey, a unique story. You will worry because it’s a natural reaction when trying to start a family. You will wonder. You will hope. You will be able to handle whatever comes your way. I promise, you will.
Whatever beginning, ending, twist or turn your story takes, it’s your story, your life and like a vast majority of us, miscarriage is part of our story, but it’s not the end.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s ok to cry.
Courtney is the author of The Gnat & Corky Series. You can purchase her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.