Thirteen months ago, I experienced my first miscarriage and it has been a whirlwind of a journey since then. There was nothing that could’ve prepared me for the shock and heartache I lived through, that I continue to live through. Next month will mark the due date of my second miscarriage. I cannot even look at a calendar in the same way. It is now filled with dates that are forever imprinted on my heart, dates we found out we were expecting, dates of our losses and due dates, which I now call my babies birthdays.
The first two weeks after our first loss I was a complete mess. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone what we were going through. Honestly, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I couldn’t carry a baby, that my body had failed me and that as a woman, I couldn’t do what I was designed to do. Was I even allowed to be grieving? I hadn’t even met my baby and only carried him or her for 10 weeks. Were my feelings of devastation, despair, misery and anguish even valid? My grief tormented me day and night until I found the courage to talk about my loss and the strength to say the word “miscarriage.”
When I finally found the courage to talk about my miscarriages, what I heard back from people was, “me too.” Unfortunately, miscarriage is a common occurrence. It happens to one in four women, and yet we still have trouble talking about it. Dare I say that miscarriage is normal. One in four women I know own dogs, eat out once per week, travel at least once per year, all things we are comfortable talking about, but when it comes to grief and mourning, our society isn’t quite ready for the honesty in those conversations. I promised myself that I’d be more honest this year, especially with myself, and for me, this means normalizing my grief and talking about my losses. Here are a few things that have helped me navigate my way through my miscarriages:
For a long time, I could only have one on one conversations with people about my losses and sometimes that was even too overwhelming. Some days all I could do was send an email or text message. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone at work after my first loss and it was a big mountain to climb each day as I work with young families, families with babies! After my second loss, there was no way I could keep it to myself and shared with my work right away. They were so supportive and it made me feel more normal not having to lie about needing a day off or a ten minute break to get some air.
I didn’t really start writing until last year, and now I can’t stop! Writing has been a large part of my healing journey. There is something about putting words on paper, or typing it out. This is especially helpful if sharing with people is too overwhelming. On paper, thoughts become linear and stop cycling through your mind. I started journalling again after my first loss and it was the only place that I felt safe to really express my thoughts. Some people suggested writing a letter to the baby I lost. It seemed like an impossible task, but I finally did it after one year.
When I found it too difficult talking to people or writing about my miscarriages, I put on my headphones, drowned myself in music and just let myself cry. Two songs have remained on my playlist for the past year and have brought me comfort while allowing myself to lose every bit of my being remembering my babies. (Grab a tissue before clicking on the links, or a box.) I Will Carry You by Selah and Gone Too Soon by Daughtry.
Naming my Children
Naming our babies that we’d never get to hold was one of the most difficult things my husband and I have had to do. I’m so glad we decided to do this because it really helps to keep them close, calling them by name. Our three year old has a name, it felt weird to just keep calling our angel, “baby.” I never thought we’d have to name two angels, but they each have a name and an identity.
Talking About my Children
This is the most challenging because talking about my children who aren’t with us brings heartache, but any mother would love to talk about their children. I’m no different. I have four children, a three year old, two angels and one bouncing around in my womb that I can’t wait to meet. If given the opportunity, I will talk about all four. I don’t do it to make anyone feel awkward, but this is what my family looks like. If you’re chatting with me about my family, don’t ever be afraid to ask me questions or bring up my angels, it really means more than you could ever know that you’ve included them in our conversation. My angels have a story, just as you and I do, and I’d be honoured to share with you.
The grief and mourning journey will be completely different for each person. If you’re going through a recent loss, my heart aches with you. I can’t say that it has gotten easier, but I’ve learned how to navigate through my losses, not get over them. I will never get over not being able to hold my babies, but I will live forever holding them in my heart and sharing their stories.
I post to Facebook nearly every day and would love to connect with you there.