Today’s post is a heart wrenching one – one that you hear whispered about in parenting circles, but is so rarely discussed loudly. We are hear to discuss it loudly, because we know it happens far too often. ATRP proudly presents, Sarah. -C
Miscarriage. All-too-often an unsung, tragic melody. It’s a song that has coursed through the hallways of our home this past week. Its python tendrils of grief have wrapped around us in our bed – keeping sleep just out of reach; traveled with us to work – making menial tasks heavy and wearisome; knelt with us on a floor strewn with toys – reminding us of the sweet baby that is not to be; clouded every thought – refusing to move out of the way of daily life that still surrounds us.
This is our second miscarriage. We have lost two babies. They were tiny. But they were fiercely and deeply loved. Those tiny Little Ones have been in our hopes and dreams for a 3-kid family from the beginning. We got lucky, super lucky with our first two babies. Our boy, we conceived on the first try. Our girl, on the third try. Piece of cake. Turns out, this is not average. We are now learning to understand “the norm.” Early miscarriages are common. They are probable. They are horrible.
Most people suck at talking with a person being suffocated by grief. I am not a fan of the well, aren’t you grateful you already have two healthy children? conversation. The implication being that I am not grateful, that I do not value the blossoming lives of my amazing kids. If anything, the terrible sharpness of loss provides the perfect contrast needed to value those children even more, if that’s even possible. I don’t know the sting of miscarriage before babies, and, yes, I am grateful because those Darlings have rescued me from encroaching panic and darkness countless times in the last seven days…I am sure they will continue to unwittingly rescue me from the waves of grief that still crash at random.
I am okay with I’m sorry and I am praying for you or what can I do to help? (But only if you mean that last one because this is not my first rodeo with life-altering grief in the last year, and you know what? grief teaches you to ask for help when you need it because it’s okay to need it.) I like those because they acknowledge the life that was lost. These phrases of sympathy do not diminish the immense love I have for my living, breathing children; rather, they emphasize and validate the crazy love I have for the babies I will not get to hold in this lifetime.
Do you know what our friends and family did for us? They showed up. They keep showing up. My sister-in-law came over and did all my dishes, then she held me, and we cried together. One friend brought us soup, bread, and salad, so we didn’t have to turn on the freaking stove. Another friend dropped-off chocolate, peanut-butter cupcakes on our porch like a ninja. My parents – who have been to hell and back with health issues in the past six months – hugged me, called, and texted me. My siblings called me, made sure I was okay. Every person we told the good news, and then the subsequent, obligatory bad news, poured love and empathy and kindness on us.
We broke rules telling so many people so early on. But I decided after our first lost baby, I want to invite our immediate family – which includes those friends who choose to love you and you choose to love them even when life is dumb – into the joy of pregnancy even if there is devastation to follow. Those texts (because talking on the phone is too hard when you’re sobbing) that brought the sad news were hard to type and hard to send. Oh, but the healing. There is great beauty in letting people see you at your most vulnerable. So uncomfortable, but so good.
It turns out, grief and weakness are not the same thing. I am one of those people that holds myself to an impossibly high standard. I hate the idea of people perceiving me as weak. But those same people I had to text the news of loss to, told me I am strong. Told me I am a great mom. Told me I am young, healthy, vibrant, free to try again if that’s what we want. My village comes through every time.
And then there’s my husband. I’m a lucky girl, and I know it. He gets better with time, and I am at the center of his love and affection. Maybe you noticed how often I used the pronouns we and our. Not sure why, but women don’t talk about miscarriage very often. People – as in women and men – hardly speak of it at all. My hubby lost these babies too. Babies that he deeply loves. He is grieving too. It seems to me, that we often undervalue the importance of Dads in many ways, miscarriage included. We have lost two babies. We are devastated.
But, I will say, the process of grieving has taught me that the state of okay-ness will return in time. I have learned it is acceptable and healthy to feel all of the feels, in fact, I believe it is a unique privilege of being human that we get to really feel. Grief is unique to each individual and deserves respect, honor, and validation from those whom with the grieving person is willing to share.
I hate miscarriage. But it does happen. And it should be okay to talk about it.
Sarah lives in Arizona, with her delightful husband and busy kids. She is a fairly private person, but felt a great need to share her story. The two rings she wears signify each baby her and her husband lost.
Featured Photo – Unsplash / Ester Marie Doysabas