It’s been 14 months since I had my miscarriage. A medically induced one that would not process without forced medication. To say it took me a while to work through the mental trauma of it would be an understatement. Actually, since this is the first blog post going up on the site and Our Pursuit is about being transparent and learning to struggle well together, maybe we should start with some honesty. I can still say I’m not over that trauma. Might never be. And that’s okay.
For a while, people looked at me either with sad eyes that carry so much pity it disgusted me. Others went about the conversation like nothing ever happened. If we’re keeping up with that whole honesty thing, I was angry at both responses. Unsure of how I wanted people to respond but knew I didn’t want either of those. I didn’t want to tell people how I was actually doing when they asked, not because I was ashamed (well get to that in a sec), more because loss is something beyond personal or important. There is almost a sort of sacredness to it. So maybe I didn’t want what was so precious to be offered up in an exchange of information.
I’m not over that trauma. Might never be. And that’s okay.
I didn’t want to tell people how I was actually doing, but I also didn’t want to be fake. Faking my emotions is not me. I can’t have a genuinely normal conversation with you while my heart is broken. But, I also don’t want to sit there in the thickness of sorrow. That's the catch 22 of being in social settings in the midst of being shattered. Haha, it strikes me now that some of you who are reading this right now are mulling over some of our interactions this last year and realizing that I hated it. Sorry. Just being real, friends. I do love you all and appreciate all the efforts and attempts at affection and comfort.
During that time, I felt lost. Still do. Marc would tell you that it was like there was some sort of fog that we were walking in. Some days it was just a little hazy. Others, it was barely possible to see your hands right in front of your face. I woke up every morning and did what was needed. I went to work, made breakfast, did the laundry, went on dates with Marc… You know, all the “normal” functioning things people do throughout the day. All the while, people I interacted with wouldn’t know that my heart was in a million pieces. Marc and I worked very hard to glue the big pieces together. But we were still left to pick up the dust. The pieces so tiny, they would ruin your vision if the wind blew a certain way. Our marriage grew stronger very fast. It didn’t come without strain. You’d think I learned my lesson, right?
Well, today I find myself in the same position I was a year ago. I took a pregnancy test 4 weeks ago. It was positive, and it was a shock to both of us, but this time felt different. This pregnancy had many early symptoms. All the blood tests looked to be normal. The ultrasound looked to be progressing fine. I told Marc I wanted to be sure before we told people. We decided to keep this to ourselves for as long as we could. Cut to this week's doctor appointment when we found out things were at a standstill again. So, we are facing the same battle we did a year ago. Do I medically force things at home? Do I wait to see if my body naturally expels the dead tissue? Do I schedule a D&C?
Right now, I’m angry, sad, and hurt. Angry because my body has failed me. I can’t even miscarry correctly… I find myself praying for a miscarriage to happen naturally, so that I don’t have to force this to happen again. I'm sad for my husband and the dream of possibly holding his own child in his arms. I'm hurt because I didn’t want to go through this again. I didn’t want to experience this trauma and quite frankly, I am hurt because I have to. There is no ignoring things. Right now, I have a dead space in my belly that needs to be tended to. I think the pain and emptiness are taking twice as big of a space in me.
I find myself praying for a miscarriage to happen naturally, so that I don’t have to force this to happen again.
We already talked about how I didn’t necessarily want to share because I didn’t want to have the awkward conversations and greetings, but one thing we didn’t talk about was the…I don’t know if you would call it advice or words of wisdom, but…oh man, I don’t think I can fully express with words what it feels like to be broken over this and have someone remind me how high the percentage is for miscarriages, or how that percentage only goes up the older I get, that was a good one…oh, and one of my favorites, the cavalier way that people just asked, “ If you’re tired of waiting for your body to miscarry, why don’t you just have a D&C,” with the same inflection you might expect when you’re deciding where to eat lunch. I’m not sure what prompts people to think these sorts of responses are…good…like, at all?
Maybe it’s because they’ve been through it, but I can’t imagine a world where I would think saying any of those things would somehow breathe life into that person. Maybe it comes from a desire to help fix things. Maybe people want so desperately to help solve a hurtful situation for someone they care for so they offer up the first thing that comes to mind? And we all know that grief is uncomfortable to sit in, so maybe they just want to fill the silence? I’m not sure, but if you would allow me to give you a bit of advice, it’s okay to not know what to say, and it’s okay to tell someone that. At least in that exchange, we’re experiencing a moment of vulnerability together. We’re both being transparent. We don’t need to fix anything for each other. More than that, we desperately need to feel seen and heard and to know we’re not alone, even though we may never reach out. Sometimes the most comfort we can offer one another is simply by being present, which is honestly harder than offering up a little fortune cookie of advice. Little pieces of advice can actually often be offensive. It can come across as belittling. Almost like, if what I’m going through is remedied that easily, why haven't I figured it out? Loss is the opposite of easy. Sitting in grief alongside someone is messy, but it’s one of the most tangible ways for us to support each other.
...it’s okay to not know what to say, and it’s okay to tell someone that. At least in that exchange, we’re experiencing a moment of vulnerability together.
Our presence conveys more than our words ever can. Friends, someone who is suffering may very well know what is true. The midst of suffering may not be the moment to challenge or correct thinking. Sitting in the ashes with someone though, that’s powerful and healing. It communicates the opposite of advice. It says that “I don’t have any words to say, because what you’re going through is tough. It’s tough and you are not crazy for struggling. To say something like it would fix everything would cheapen what you’re going through. There is no easy fix, but I’ll be uncomfortable with you.”
So, how do I navigate through this loss? How do I keep from going deeper into depression? I don’t have an answer yet. But, I invite you to take space and sit next to me while we navigate loss/grief together. It’s incredibly hard. In fact, I believe it’s not meant to be easy. It may be dark, feel lonely and quiet, but we are together. Marc used to tell me about his counseling classes and he would talk about mindfulness therapy. Not attempting to stuff your trauma, or push it as far out of your reach so you can wear a fake face to everyone. Instead, acknowledge your trauma. Face it, see it, feel it, and live through it. Perhaps we need to do that together.
That saying that time heals all wounds has some truth to it, although if I had written it, I would say that “as time passes, our wounds don’t affect us as much, but the scars remain.” Our scars don’t define who we are or what we do, but they do remind us of what we’ve been through. So, yes, I can still say I’m not over that trauma. Might never be. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m not healing, or that Marc and I are frozen in time in a grief bubble, or that God isn’t good. We’re just learning to shift perspective. We’re practicing re-framing hard things in our lives, losses included.
Our scars don’t define who we are or what we do, but they do remind us of what we’ve been through.
That’s not to say things aren’t still good and we don’t still have sweet moments or days filled with happiness. Of course, those things still happen. That’s not the point. I don’t think I’ll ever not have that grief over our losses, because they never stop being loss. Does loss ever stop being sad? I’m not saying I will be actively grieving for the rest of my life. I’m just saying that years from now, I don’t think I will look back on our miscarriages and say, “that’s not sad,” or “that wasn’t disappointing.” And I don’t think we’re supposed to. But, I am saying today it hurts. Today, I am angry, sad, and hurt. I’ll work on tomorrow when it comes.
So, have a seat and feel the community gathering around you as we attempt to struggle well together through grief.