Until it happened to me, I thought I was one of the lucky ones. Miscarriage rate goes down if you’ve already had a healthy pregnancy, right? And what are the odds that with such a BRIGHT pink line, the crazy nausea, the boobs that feel like they’ve been used as punching bags, and the overwhelming emotions that my baby isn’t strong and perfect?
I have had miscarriage happen at different stages of pregnancies. And every time, it hurts just the same. But I find myself minimizing my pain and loss because I never felt my babies kick. I never even heard a heartbeat.
And so I can’t possibly compare my experience to the strong women out there who have seen their babies in their full form on an ultrasound, who have watched the flickering black and white heartbeat and heard the accompanied galloping thumbs through the speakers. I can’t compare my loss to someone who has felt the flutters of a baby kicking, the growing baby that they saw swelling their bellies, and their hearts.
I’m not sure it’s fair to compare my pain that was only in the early stages, a missed period to a few short days after starting to spot. Had I not taken that test, I probably wouldn’t have even known. And that really doesn’t compare to someone who has felt the intense cravings for ice cream and pickles that come along with actual pregnancy.
I feel it wouldn’t be fair to measure my grief of going in to an appointment, to lay on the white sheet, sans pants, to feel the cold goo and the anticipation, followed by the letdown that something was amiss. There isn’t, in fact, any heartbeat to see.
And maybe…. come back in a few weeks. You might get lucky.
Except someone else was “lucky” They heard that heartbeat. Saw the flicker! That’s supposed to mean you can breathe easy now. You can TELL family and friends. You’re so much closer to a healthy baby than I ever was, I can’t measure my grief to that. It’s not the same.
I can’t pretend I know what it’s like to tell a child who knows better about their future sibling and then later have to explain to my innocent child that life is not guaranteed. The brother or sister they were promised was already too much for this world, and went on to another, without saying hello on her way.
Even though I have fantasized what kind of brother my child would be. Pretended I could picture what the two of them would look like next to each other for their first photo shoot. Wondered if they would get along famously, or not. How their first introduction would go, if my son would be a good helper, if my new baby would be a terrible sleeper like my last, or if my delivery would be as easy, or worse.
I start thinking about my versions of loss and how many other, more devastating tragedies there are in this world when it comes to miscarriage and infant loss and I start to think I didn’t have the traumatic experiences that I’ve heard and seen others have and so I can’t really feel as deeply the pain as they do.
Infant loss, miscarriage, in any form is a crushing event. Whether you only just found out or you grew to love the baby you had already begun to bond with. Whether you had only seen a blip on the screen or you had the opportunity to meet your little angel before they found their place somewhere else, it hurts.
And you don’t forget.
As a mom I remember many milestones. As a mom who has experienced loss, I can tell you where I was when it started, what I thought, and where I was when I came to the realization that this baby I had wanted so bad (or maybe hadn’t been sure I wanted yet, because it was such a surprise but I knew I wanted it NOW) was not going to make it into the world. It wasn’t going to make it to my first doctor’s appointment. Or my second.
I’ve spent weeks agonizing, waiting (impatiently) for my final chance to walk into the doctor and show them they were WRONG. That my baby DOES have a heartbeat and it’s perfect and strong. Only to get there and be heartbroken for the second time, even though this time, I knew. I knew all along. But that didn’t stop me from praying for a miracle.
I’m not sure if I can really compare my loss to that of another farther down the road.
I know that my pain was so deep. So raw. That had I been farther along in my pregnancies I’m not sure I would have made it through that kind of loss. Those women are the strongest women I know. My loss… it doesn’t compare.
And yet, it binds us together as a group of women who know a very unique and kinship kind of pain. Who understand what it’s like to love someone you’ve never met with every ounce of your being and to pray with every ounce of energy in your bones that you will get to meet that person. Hold them, kiss them, take them home. Spend one more day. One more year.
Loss is loss. Whether it’s mine or it’s yours, it’s our battle wound to carry. So, as I carry mine I’ll try not to minimize it if you promise not to hide yours.
Another Mom Who Wonders Every Day About The Child That Could Have Been