As some of you may already know, October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan deemed October as such back in 1988, but I don’t know how widely it was acknowledged until very recently. Miscarriage and infant loss has been a fairly taboo topic for quite some time – but not long ago, it started to become a subject that women bravely began discussing. Perhaps it’s social media or perhaps we are just becoming a society that is done swallowing sadness, as if it doesn’t exist – either way, I think it’s a beautiful thing.
I have been privy to the secrets of many a broken-hearted friend who has lost a baby either before birth or shortly thereafter. I always feel very humbled by their willingness to share their pain with me and do my best to absorb even a small fraction of it. I feel their sadness to my core, because I, too, have experienced loss.
For a long time, I considered my two experiences “less awful” or “not worth sharing” – but then I realized, my loss matters and so does yours. It doesn’t matter how many weeks you were when it happened, what matters is that the very second you a hold a positive pregnancy test in your hands, a part of your heart is changed forever. You are a mother.
The first time I experienced a miscarriage, it was very early on – maybe only 5 weeks. It was considered a “chemical pregnancy” by my OBGYN. I tried to wrap my brain around what that meant, in all its scientific glory – this was never really a BABY, nothing ever really happened. Why then, did I find myself sitting in a parking lot sobbing, hitting the steering wheel til my palms ached while “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” played on the radio? And why now, 3 years later, do I still feel a sharp pang in my chest whenever that song comes on? Because I was SO excited and happy and elated. I was already envisioning what my baby might look like or sound like… I was attached. And when I realized that dream was coming to an end, I was devastated. But I bottled it up because no one needs to hear another sob story.
The second time it happened was just this past June, while I was walking around Boston celebrating my birthday with my husband and baby. I literally just kept walking and was determined there was no need to ruin anyone’s day or plans. I plastered a smile on my face and marched around the city. I sipped wine with a pit in my stomach, wishing I wasn’t supposed to be sipping wine. It wasn’t until we weren’t able to be seated at the restaurant we had picked that I stormed off down the street in downtown Roslindale and eventually burst into tears. I was a little over 6 weeks that time. But I had already told my family and Chris’. I felt sad and also humiliated. It’s like taking back a present because you overdrew your bank account – at least that’s what it felt like to me.
In between both of those experiences came my beautiful Logan – and I often rationalize in my head that he was meant for me and I was meant for him and that is why something else didn’t pan out. That helps a lot because I truly can’t imagine a life without him in it. But it doesn’t change the fact that loss still hurts and you carry it with you, a little scar forever on your heart.
I will be honest when I tell you, I am feeling such relief writing this post (mainly because I’ve suffered from insomnia since that loss in June and I think it’s because I never really dealt with it, just forged on like it never happened). But I’m also terrified and have grappled for hours with the idea of this topic and of really posting my own experience. It’s a very personal thing, this loss we experience as mothers. And no one should ever make you feel small about it or tell you to “hurry up and move on.” So I am going to bravely share my own story in the hopes that if someone out there is hurting, they don’t have to feel quite so alone and they know they can always come to me if they are done swallowing their grief, like they aren’t perfectly entitled to it.
To those of you who have not suffered a loss like this, I am so very glad for you. I don’t wish that pain on anyone. And to those of you who have suffered loss like this or greater, I am so very sorry and hope that you find the peace you need in your life.