This Is Your Warning
So it has been five months since my miscarriage. I was planning to be 30 (and a half) weeks pregnant right now and well into maternity clothes. The baby would be kicking frequently, and I wouldn’t be drinking wine or fully caffeinated Starbucks coffee. I would be working on scheduling a baptism for sometime in June and planning for a maternity leave. Instead, I’m figuring out how to adjust to something completely unplanned, and I’m working on being well again.
I am feeling better than I was several months ago, though I’m not sure I will ever be who I was before. A few thoughts….
1. I still think about it every day, and I am still feel very emotional about it. I went to a baby shower a couple of days ago that was for a cousin who is due with her first child a week or so before I was supposed to be due with my third child, the one I lost. It was hard. Harder than hard, if I’m being honest. I know most people probably expect that I have gotten over it or should get over it if I haven’t, but it’s just not that easy to erase a life that should have been.
2. I don’t like to say this out loud, but I just can’t be around pregnant women without feeling angry. It’s not a comfortable feeling, nor is it one that I have really chosen for myself. It isn’t that I’m not happy for my cousin or any other pregnant friends, because I am; it is just another reminder of what I should also be experiencing right now, but I’m not. I hate that it still makes me angry, but if I’ve learned anything in my line of work, it is that it is better to deal with your emotions rather than suppress them, because you will have to deal with them at some point, and they are a lot messier the longer they sit and fester. So for now, I’m angry, though not at anyone. I’m just angry. So if you are pregnant and I have been quiet around you or haven’t said much, know that it isn’t you; it’s me.
3. This whole experience has made me think differently about a lot of things. Things like how people like to constantly ask young women of child-bearing age who are married when they will start having kids, when they will have their next kid, and if they will have any more kids. Sadly enough, I’m sure I have done this before, too, but I won’t do it anymore, at least not without understanding that I might not be comfortable with the answer I get. These people who ask these sorts of questions aren’t trying to be offensive. They aren’t trying to cause problems on purpose. They might have no idea that the women they are asking the question of may have just had a miscarriage, may have been trying for months (or years) to get pregnant and haven’t been able to, have or are with a man who has fertility issues, or just simply have chosen not to try to have children at this time. I mean, it’s a free country, so feel free to ask anyone whatever you want, but you should be prepared for the answer you might get.
4. I’m sure some women would look away and pretend like it’s no big deal when asked the kind of questions I mentioned above. They might make up something or change the subject, but I’m going to be honest and say that if someone asks me that question, she’s going to get the full story. Yep. I’m going to tell you that yes, I did want another baby, but I had a miscarriage less than 6 months ago, and when you process what I’m saying and the look of shock takes over your entire face, I’m probably going to tell you what day it was and how I found out and exactly how it happened, whether you want to hear about it or not. Then, I’ll probably tell you how we tried again for a couple of months after that but I was too depressed to continue trying, so now we’re not. At this point, you’ll probably have no idea what to say, so I’ll probably just keep talking. Be ready for that, but seriously. Don’t ask questions you’re not prepared to hear the answers to. It’s that simple. Up until my miscarriage, I had been extremely lucky in this department. I conceived both of my (living) children in just two months of trying, and I conceived my third (the one that I lost) the first month. Some people try for years and years and it never happens for them, or when it does, they lose the baby, and no one really ever knows about it. The ONE miscarriage I had was a horrible experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and some women have had numerous miscarriages, or have never even conceived, and they are having to endure questions like “So when are you and “insert name here” going to start having babies?” Unfortunately, most women don’t talk about their fertility issues or their losses because it’s apparently not cool to do that, so most of the time no one has any idea what they might be struggling with.
I was lucky that no one asked me any questions like that at the baby shower. Or maybe I should say they were all lucky because they didn’t have to hear my long-winded answer to that question. But the reason I would give such a long-winded and detailed answer isn’t because I want people to be uncomfortable. It’s because people would be uncomfortable when they shouldn’t be. It’s not really anyone’s fault that it is uncomfortable for them; it’s just that society has made women who have experienced these losses feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal and they are supposed to just “suck it up” and “get over it,” so very few actually talk openly about their losses. It’s a secret until someone you know has it happen to them, and then all the women you know who have experienced a miscarriage come out of the woodwork. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for all the women who did share their stories with me, but it makes me sad for all the women who didn’t feel like they could share their stories with someone when they needed to the most. Just a little something I’ve noticed.
5. I’ve come to my final point, and then I promise I will shut up. For now. If I seem quiet, not myself, or just different, it is just me figuring out how to live with all of this. I don’t feel quite the same in social situations and I often don’t have a lot to say these days, so I have noticed that I just stay quiet a lot of the time. For those of you who know me in real life, this is pretty abnormal. Also, little things sometimes trigger my thinking and I get stuck in my head for awhile, causing me to grow quiet. This happens less often than before, but it still happens. It’s just me figuring out a new way to be.