Today I should be 40 weeks pregnant. I don’t have any delusions, though. Yes, today I would have been 40 weeks pregnant with our third child, but I know she wouldn’t have shown up for at least several more days, given my track record. I am grateful that I have been able to keep my weight down and that my stomach is flat(ish), but I really wish I was carrying our baby. I’m excited about our 2-week venture to California next month, but I wish I was planning a maternity leave instead. While it is nice that I won’t be losing money on a maternity leave or have medical bills associated with a pregnancy this summer, I know that things would have worked out if we had been able to keep the baby.
This day (May 19) may mean something significant to other people for completely different reasons (this also happens to be the day that a friend of mine passed away in a car accident 10 years ago), but most people will live this day the way they do any other. For me, this day has been etched in my mind since we found out we were pregnant the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. It is the date that I planned the rest of my year around. Even though our baby has already been lost over 7 months ago and was buried in April, this date will forever be in my memory.
I’m not writing this to gain sympathy or in an attempt to make anyone feel sorry for me. I’m writing this because I want people to be aware that this kind of thing happens all. the. time. And a lot of times, no one even knows about it. In fact, I guarantee that you know someone this has happened to. You know someone who has cried numerous times a day for months because she lost the baby she wanted so badly. You know someone who measures the months that come after based on where she should be in her pregnancy. You know someone who thinks about the unborn baby she lost every single day. You know someone who had to suffer and grieve in silence because society tells her she shouldn’t talk about things that are hard. Even if you don’t realize it, you know someone who does this.
I am telling you this so you will remember to be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle; you just may not know about it. But it is still very real to the person fighting it.
You may not know what to say if someone tells you they have had a miscarriage, but I can tell you that what helped more than anything were two statements:
1. “I have had a miscarriage. I understand.”
2. “I can’t possibly understand all that you are going through and I don’t know what to say, but I’m sorry.”
What is not helpful is silence. I read an article recently that said “your silence is deafening” and that is so true. I can’t think of a better way to say it. When people who are close to you don’t even acknowledge that there was a child, it hurts. It is an awkward situation for many people, but I’m telling you that acknowledging the loss, even when the person didn’t know what to say, was much more comforting than ignoring it.
So I am giving you a challenge:
Be kind to someone today. In fact, go out of your way to be kind.
Try to really be present when you are with people.
Notice if something seems off for them. Even if you aren’t comfortable asking them or they aren’t comfortable telling you what’s going on, just letting someone know that you see them goes a long way.
Someone you know may be going through something that you have no knowledge of, and just one act of kindness can make such a difference.