On Monday morning, I had a miscarriage.
This is difficult to say. And not because of the actual event – my body, hormones, and emotions have made it VERY clear that this pregnancy is over.
Instead, it feels difficult to say this because it feels weird to talk about me, and because I’m scared of feeling like I’m saying it for attention.
And even though I have a fear of pity or attracting too much attention, I feel like I have to say it for all of the people who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss and haven’t said anything.
You know what’s been hard about experiencing my miscarriage? It’s the feeling that I’ve already been shrouded in secrecy for months, and I don’t know how to climb out of it.
You see, being pregnant taught me just how isolating it is to be pregnant.
This was my experience starting October 6th, 2018: I take a pregnancy test and realize that my life will never be the same. It’s not just an intellectual exercise. Within days, I start to feel the difference. I suddenly need to take daily naps. I am up at 2am unable to sleep for hours. I cry at advertisements and get nauseous on the train. My daily routines all completely change out of necessity. There’s no conscious effort to shift them, they just have to.
And there I am, feeling like a completely different human, so excited about the possibility of the future, aware that everything is changing, and…..I’m not supposed to talk about it.
I’m supposed to stay quiet. Maybe tell a few close family members or friends, but “think about what will happen if there’s a miscarriage”. I don’t want to tell people too soon, in case this baby doesn’t last.
And I’ll admit it – I felt the secrecy. I wanted to shout about my pregnancy to the rooftops. Every time someone asked “what’s new?!” I felt like a fraud. Every time I had to cancel a client meeting because I was nauseous, or sit on a block instead of demonstrating in a yoga class, I felt like a liar. I counted the days until it would be “safe” to tell people that I was pregnant.
And I get it. I get that if I told everyone I was pregnant, and then had a miscarriage, I would perhaps feel sad having to tell people. I would maybe forget someone and accidentally get a baby toy in the mail and suddenly be filled with sadness.
But I had to experience that anyway. I had to tell people that I was no longer pregnant, that I wasn’t going to be able to teach this week, that I needed time alone. Not telling people I was pregnant didn’t make this experience easier.
It’d be so easy to pretend this didn’t happen. To say I got the flu and had to stay in bed for a few days. I could do that. And the further I get from the actual event, the easier it seems to just ignore it.
But goddess.. That is isolating. That feels harmful.
I know this isn’t for everyone. I know that some people who experience loss find it difficult to hear “you can try again!” or “at least you’re healthy!” I totally get that there are situations where you don’t want to hear people’s opinions about your experience.
But I’ve also been in the unique position of coaching multiple women who have had miscarriages. I know where your brain can go after a miscarriage. I know the guilt and shame that it can bring. “Did I do something wrong? Is something wrong with my body? Maybe if I had just done X or Y….”
And here’s where I call in one of my favorite quotes – “the demons hate fresh air”. And right now – in my position – I believe that saying something about the miscarriage is better than letting the unhelpful thoughts broil in my own brain.
Because already in telling people about my miscarriage, I’ve learned their miscarriage stories. And I’ve learned just how often those women have gone on to have beautiful, healthy babies and families. It is possible. It does happen.
And I get to look at people who have experienced miscarriages or infant loss and are OK. And who are more than OK. Who are thriving.
I have hope. I realize that this doesn’t have to be an awful horrible thing. It can be a bump in the road, an obstacle in the path….just one experience.
And this isn’t about minimization. Miscarriages are awful things.
- Going to the hospital in an ambulance at 3am wasn’t fun.
- Moaning in pain wasn’t cute.
- Realizing that I had miscarried wasn’t a pleasurable experience for Shaun or I.
- Learning that even after you miscarry, the doctors want you to take drugs to make sure that the miscarriage is complete is scary.
- Taking those drugs and hoping you don’t end up in intense pain again takes bravery.
- Walking into the doctors again and again over the next few weeks to get blood tests drawn and make sure there are no complications….it’s not over.
Realizing how quickly my body feels different is disconcerting. After 5-6 weeks of feeling like a completely different version of me…I woke up on Tuesday like “Sam”. I had energy. I didn’t crave bread and granola bars (there’s a reason the blog has been all baked goods for a few weeks…now you know why). I imagined going to a yoga class again. I didn’t feel bloated or nauseous. It was like I snapped my fingers and my body was completely different.
“What does old Sam like to do?”
“How does it feel when she doesn’t always need to sit down or leave early?”
It’s a bizarre experience to come home from the hospital and realize that everything you had learned for your routine and energy has changed. I had to turn off the pregnancy trackers and change the timelines and remember what I like to do.
This is a big event. This is not nothing.
And so I can’t keep it a secret. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen.
I value honesty and open communication. I don’t like secrets. Or not telling people how I feel. And yet, in my pregnancy, I got duped into feeling alone. I got duped into not reaching out to the people I wanted and needed most when I was pregnant.
I would be sitting there for hours, wondering about a symptom I was feeling or an emotion I was experiencing….grateful for my sister’s name to pop up online, so I could hurriedly ask her a question. I don’t know what it would have been if I couldn’t have talked to her during my pregnancy. And…that isolation was so unnecessary. And most importantly, it wouldn’t have changed a darn thing about what I’m experiencing now.
I hope to get pregnant again soon. Shaun and I want to have a baby, and I know we will. Next time, will I be brave enough to share when I want to? Even if it means I might have to tell that person in the future that I’m not having a baby? In some ways, it feels better than trying to bring them up to speed after the tragedy. Maybe instead of basing all of my action on the possibility of miscarriage, I can base my actions on the possibility of life.
I’m not sure of how I will feel. I’m not sure of what I will do. But I have realized that isolation isn’t the answer. And the example we set during early pregnancy is one of isolation.
So I’m here. If you’ve experienced pregnancy or infant loss. If you’re pregnant. If you hope to be some day. You don’t have to hide it. It’s not unusual. And you won’t scare me away even if you experience a loss in your future. Instead, I’ll give you a hug (literal or virtual) and tell you that it sucks, and it will be OK.
Sending you so much love.