Pregnancy and Loss
Life is tricky sometimes, and I feel like its even trickier when you’re a mom. Most days it’s like I’m running at a million miles an hour, thinking about everything and everyone other than myself. But sometimes things stop us in our tracks and remind us that we need to be a priority, too.
Last February, I received my first friendly visit from Aunt Flow since conceiving Alex, our second born. Alex was 14 months old, and I remember longingly looking at the four bottles of wine in the corner wine rack, knowing that most likely they would still be there a year later. I knew that my period’s arrival meant that our baby-making days were approaching again. My husband and I like to tell people that this is the season of love and craziness in our lives. We’ve had the season of travel, the season of self-centered reckless fun; this is simply the season of total chaos.
So the next month, we set off on conceiving our third baby in four years–and it worked. Without much planning or thoughts of myself, I got pregnant. I was exhausted. Alex was still nursing quite a bit, and I was paralyzed with the stress of being pregnant, running my own business, and managing a household with two little boys. We quickly tried to put systems in place, but when you’re private and a little control obsessed, hiring others to work in your home and for your business takes time.
Then about seven weeks in I started bleeding. I had a miscarriage.
Like most early losses, we’ll never really know what happened. Although I had a lot on my plate, I doubt stress had much to do with it. I can only assume the baby wasn’t healthy, and my body did what it needed to do. Emotionally, I was disappointed and sad. My husband was in complete denial. And I was left to do what many women have done: spend the day that followed lying in the fetal position alone in bed.
People always say how lonely having a miscarriage is and, as women, we should talk about it more. We should open the dialogue. But I struggle to really come up with what to say. To me, it is little like birth. It’s private. It’s intimate and calls for introspection. If given the space and power, loss, like birth, can teach us.
There were a few fleeting moments that I was lonely. There were moments when I wished someone would come and take the pain away for a little while so I could love on my boys who were a great source of perspective during the experience. But honestly, I just wanted to just sit there and be quiet and alone.
I am rarely quiet and alone, but that Sunday I was. As much as it was an experience laced with dread and sadness, it was a day of productivity. I talked to my body. I thanked it for staying strong during the four previous years, while it built, birthed, and sustained life. I apologized for not taking better care of myself as life got busy and for not taking the time to appreciate my health.
Like birth, I really tried to trust the process, but I had moments of fear. I watched the blood fall into the water and wondered if I was bleeding too much. I wanted the fear to go away and wished I had a better relationship with the midwife who caught Alex. I made a mental note if given the chance, I should take the time and energy to make sure I had a supportive resource for this stage of my life.
I said a few prayers for my best friend who just days before had found out her simple singleton pregnancy was actually mono di twins. For the first time I truly realized the delicate nature of pregnancy. I sent her the strength to navigate the journey and adjust to her new normal.
I was thankful for quiet support of texts and the simple messages of “We love you” and “You are strong” from my family.
We got pregnant again directly following the miscarriage; I’m writing this at the halfway mark of that pregnancy. This pregnancy has been simple and straightforward. And because of the gift of the the quiet on that Sunday, I feel supported, my life feels more balanced and everything feels much simpler. That day, I took the time to breathe. Through the loss, I took the time to feel alive and to remember that my body was my greatest gift and my family’s greatest resource.
(Image by Konstantinos Koukopoulos.)