This isn’t the news I thought I’d be sharing

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This isn’t what I thought I’d be writing you about.

I thought I’d wait a few more weeks. I’d be writing with happy, celebratory news. I’d been dreaming about how I would share it with you: subtly, in an on-topic article, or maybe with big fanfare. You see, I thought I’d be writing to tell you that I am pregnant, that we’re expecting our second child, expanding our family to four.

Instead, I’m writing to let you know that I’m not pregnant. That on Memorial Day, while as a nation we were celebrating our war heroes, mourning the loss of loved ones, and eating great BBQ, we as a family were experiencing our own, much quieter loss.

From a certain perspective this article doesn’t need to be written. Aside from a small handful of family, friends and colleagues, we hadn’t made the news public yet. But with every person I’ve told, I’ve been amazed at how many have experienced similar (in many cases worse) challenges, and it’s not talked about. I knew that miscarriage was fairly common experience, but I had no idea just how pervasive it was – and in several cases, I had no idea that women close to me had experienced this very same thing. Hearing their stories was very healing for me.

And so, here is mine:

I woke up that Monday morning feeling normal. Maybe a little more tired than usual, but that’s common for the first trimester. I was 9 weeks pregnant, and basically feeling great. When I used the bathroom that morning, I noticed a little spotting – nothing significant, but still a little concerning, as I’d never spotted at all with my first pregnancy. I assured myself that it was normal.

A couple of hours into my day, things were feeling less normal. Every time I used the bathroom there was more blood. I started to panic. I reached out to a couple of women who are in my innermost circle, and then called our OB. He asked a few questions and then said it was impossible to know until we did an ultrasound, but he was out of town for the holiday. We set up an appointment first thing the next morning. His counsel: “No sex [like that was happening today!], no exercise, and take it easy.”

I spent the day on the couch, my feet up, trying to remain calm. I talked to my baby, telling him how much he was loved and how much we wanted to have him as part of our family. I drank copious amounts of bone broth with extra gelatin (calming for the fetus according to my acupuncturist friend), and breathed deep into my belly, trying to infuse it with extra oxygen. I dreaded using the bathroom for it meant more blood and more loss, and I convinced myself that if I stayed horizontal, I could somehow prevent from happening what was starting to feel inevitable. I reached out to my husband and a couple of close friends, and leaned on them heavily.

By evening the bleeding had increased significantly. I’d started cramping, and generally felt horrid. It was like the worst period I’d ever had. I had a mean headache from so much crying, I was utterly exhausted despite resting all day, and my stomach was tied up in nauseous knots. I couldn’t eat and try as I might, I couldn’t distract myself from what was happening.

My emotions were all over the map. Of course I felt a deep sadness and overwhelming sense of loss. But along with that I felt shame and guilt – how had this happened to me and what did it say about me? What had I done wrong? Despite my age (I turned 40 last weekend), I am very healthy and in this pregnancy was taking my self-care to a whole new place. In many ways I felt stronger than when we conceived Sia, and I was expecting a smooth and vibrant pregnancy. This wasn’t in the plans.

I also felt embarrassed, and wished I’d not told anyone that we were pregnant. I dreaded all the “untelling”, and felt like a fool for getting so excited so early. And yet, with every person we told, we experienced an unimaginable outpouring of love and support. And my embarrassment shifted to deep gratitude and relief that our community stood behind us so firmly.

The next morning, I woke up feeling completely empty. I looked at myself in the mirror with dismay. My waist had shrunk by at least 2 inches overnight (one of the few times I’ll feel sad about such an occurrence). The ultrasound confirmed what we already knew in our hearts: the baby was gone.

I’m not sure why we don’t talk about this much. I’ve never understood why we’re encouraged to keep our pregnancies a secret in the early days, just in case of this very eventuality. What that does is force these losses to be swept under the carpet, dealt with quietly and privately, without the support and love of those around us.

I’m not saying there’s a right way to do this – if you want to keep it a private matter that’s absolutely your prerogative and I support that wholeheartedly. But we’re not quiet about cancer. We’re not quiet about heart disease or losing a loved one. Why – when it comes to pregnancy – are we only able to celebrate the good news together? The time we need each other most is when the news is not good or easy.

We held each other and our precious baby girl close that day, as we reached out to family to share the news. In the process and the days that followed, I learned a lot about myself and a lot about miscarriage. What stands out most is that:

A miscarriage doesn’t necessarily say anything about you, your health, or your ability to procreate. More often than not, it’s a little set of cells that weren’t genetically viable and couldn’t have grown into a healthy baby.

Loss is loss, no matter how big or small. At first I felt like I shouldn’t feel as much grief as, say, my girlfriends who had pregnancies that failed much further along. Perhaps my experience wasn’t as traumatic, but it’s still a loss, and it’s okay – no, it’s critical – that I feel that loss in order to really move through it.

There’s nothing anyone can say to make it better, but them saying it anyways means they love you, and love DOES make it better.

There is always a gift buried deep in even the most difficult situations. Sometimes you just have to look really hard to find it. Maybe it’s a wake up call that you need to pay closer attention to your self-care. Maybe it brings you and your partner closer. Maybe it gets you really clear that you do want a child. For us, it was a combination of all of these things, along with deeper connections to many of our family and friends and a shifting of life priorities to make space for a future new family member.

Once I cried myself out of tears I resolved to share our story and what I learned in the hopes that it might help someone, somewhere to know that you’re not alone, that you are loved, and that it will all be okay. Because you’re not, you are, and it will be.

This isn't the news I thought I'd be sharing. Reflections on a miscarriage | eatnakednow.com

 

MF post-script:
It’s now a few months later and I’m feeling much more at peace with this miscarriage. I had some great tools for helping me through this time, many of which are included in this great post on how to get yourself out of a funk by Ariana at And Here We Are.



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49 Comments

  1. jack

    June 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Margaret,
    Being male there is no way for me to truly understand your loss. We lost two children ourselves. I remember how tough it was on my Wife. I just (as most men) threw myself into my work and let work dull the hurt. You will have more, we have three beautiful daughters after two miscarriages. I hope this reply finds you feeling better, and feeling that many of us care about you and your family. Thanks for always being there for ALL of us. God Bless you and your family.

  2. Tauna Ingall

    June 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    My heart goes out to you and James. Experiencing this many times myself I know the heartache and pain you are going through. I’m a true believer that things happen for a reason but you are a very strong individual and you will get through this, I promise! Sending you big hugs from a far, lots of love!

  3. Jaime M.

    June 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Margaret,
    Thank you for your candidness about your miscarriage. Prayers of love and healing your way while you grieve. Your openness, as well as helps in your processing, is a blessing for all you touch, as it reminds us that we don’t have to conceal our wounds, that there’s solace in sharing life’s events. I too lost a child, and although it was an abortion, I still grieved the loss heavily and felt pangs of guilt at first. I held a small burial ceremony at home under a fruit tree. Every time I eat fruit from that tree, I’m reminded of the gift of that experience, the spiritual growth gained from that grief. It was my personal belief that when I did finally have a child, it was that same little soul still waiting for when I was ready to receive it. A family ceremony in your little one’s honor might be very powerful. Keep up with the self-love, self-care…find a “red tent” or “moon lodge” and bathe in the support of other women. Thank your body for doing the amazing job of having supported another life for the time it was necessary. If you feel a void, fill it with love and gratitude for all the beautiful people in your life. Sharing your story was such an act of sheer love; please receive it from us in return!

  4. Emily

    June 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Sorry for your loss. 🙁 I’ve had three miscarriages and I agree, it’s not something that’s talked about much. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Lisa Dana Goding

    June 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    So so sorry. Welcome to the club no one wants to join. So sorry you are here…Here’s my story. I am around if you ever want to talk, http://hotmamabear213.blogspot.com/

  6. Ashley

    June 5, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too, just this week, had a miscarriage. This was my first pregnancy. It was something I didn’t even realize I wanted and now it is something I am lost without. At first I questioned why I got pregnant and now I am questioning why I was given this gift only to have it taken away. I was blessed for a small time to carry a new life. I can only hope I am blessed again.
    xoxo
    Ashley

  7. gina

    June 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing, it makes me proud that you are so strong to be able to share in order to help other women in the same situation…I, too have been there and I wouldn’t wish the overall pain of miscarriage on my worst enemy.

  8. Leslie

    June 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    To say that this post is courageous, vulnerable, heartfelt, and inspiring is not to give it enough acknowledgment. Thank you for continuing to bring light to tough issues, to share yourself so openly, and serve your readers in such a profound way. Love, love, and more love…

  9. Tracy Spangler

    June 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, and I know saying sorry simply isn’t enough. Thank you for sharing this story, as you said for other women that have gone through the same thing. I believe there is much healing when we share our stories of miscarriage, or in my case rape, abuse and a suicide attempt. You question if it’s right to talk about our personal lives publicly, but it needs to be. By telling your readers about your loss you’ve opened a door for other women who have suffered silently to feel okay talking to others about their losses as well. Thank you for sharing, even though it must have been incredibly difficult. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  10. Sharon

    June 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Sending you and your family much love and light………

  11. Diane McAllister

    June 8, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks from the bottom of my heart! This help me to realize that I totally disconnected to that time in my life when I lost my second one at 9 weeks also…I cry as I read this and realize I have some emotional work here. For that I thank you. I too blamed myself for exercising too hard or maybe I did something to cause it to happen…but I realize these many years later and with the blessing of five more children that the body is so wise and the natural aborting was the intelligence knowing this one wasn’t going well. Continues to teach me how wise our bodies are! Appreciate your sharing my friend and sending hugs to the family for your lost, Diane

  12. Ashley Housley

    June 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Hugs, mama. This was a beautiful post about a hard topic. I hope you are starting to feel better.

  13. rosie

    June 9, 2014 at 8:50 am

    It’s been over 30 years and still miss my baby at times. Prayers

  14. Diane Biller

    June 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Thank you for your openness and willingness to share such an emotionally and a physically painful life event. My friend was going through the same loss as you at the same time. I wasn’t sure what to say to her. It too was their second child. It’s amazing how just letting someone know you are there for them and also understanding the confusion their body is enduring. No loss is small, grief is not limited in age be it in days weeks or years. I am so sorry for your loss.

  15. Ariana {And Here We Are...}

    June 9, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Margaret, I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with you completely, that miscarriages are not talked about nearly enough. Women often feel alone and like failures. The other thing is just the chemical process– everything that goes on with our hormones when our pregnancies end early– it is like a full assault from within!

    Sending you lots of love and thoughts of healing for you, James and Sia.

  16. Lindsey Gremont

    June 9, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I am so sorry for your loss Margaret. I am so glad you wrote this post. I think it will help many for sure. Hugs <3 <3 xoxoxo

  17. Marianne

    June 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    My dear, you were with me when I saw my first baby in an ultrasound. Since that moment I’ve delivered two beautiful boys but have also had two heartbreaking miscarriages. I had a miscarriage last year and I’m still mourning that loss. It’s never the same and it’s all heartbreaking. It’s devastating to a marriage or it can make your family stronger. No matter what your experience is, just know that there will always be a rainbow at the end and what’s meant for you will come. I love you and I’m sorry for your loss.

  18. Andrea Dahle

    June 19, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Sweet Margaret sending you a bear hug from an old friend now in Idaho. I just want you to know that I am sending prayers of comfort and Angels of comfort your way. I am so sorry for your loss and I think it is so wonderful that you have shared. So many do that journey alone. Love you old friend…

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