It was 10 a.m. on a sunny day during my first pregnancy. I sat at my desk working, when I all of a sudden didn’t feel pregnant anymore… a feeling that’s really hard to explain. The “fuzzy” feelings of new pregnancy had suddenly vanished. I knew something was wrong, something in my universe had shifted. A few hours later I started bleeding.
When I lost my first pregnancy at around 6 weeks my doctor told me “it wouldn’t have been a baby anyway, a lot of people don’t even know they’re pregnant at this time.”
A simple “I’m so sorry for your loss” would have been better.
Miscarriage is devastating, painful, and confusing. I was grieving in silence and she was the 2nd person I told. Her response made me feel like my feelings of loss weren’t valid. That it was no big deal.
It was a loss. A loss of my new, forming baby, our future, that I held in my womb. My womb who was holding a child for the very first time. This was a loss of what was supposed to be. This was my first time experiencing pregnancy. It was overwhelming excitement turned suddenly into overwhelming sadness. This sudden loss led to many different thoughts, “can I even carry a baby to term?” “what happened?” “did I do something to cause this?” “what would this baby have been like?” “would it have been a boy? a girl?”
It hurt, physically and mentally. Miscarriage sucks. I wanted the first grandbaby, niece or nephew, to be an exciting, happy surprise, not an announcement of sadness and loss. So for whatever reason, I grieved in silence (with my husband) until I could make sense of it all in my head first, until I could share good news first instead.
Around 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. I am a part of those 1 in 4. I am not alone, even though I felt more alone than ever during that time.
Since then, I personally know and have met many women who have had losses. From IVF losses, loss of fertility altogether, to mid-pregnancy losses, to stillbirth, to infant/child loss. Life can be so beautiful but also incredibly cruel.
Women are strong, even when we feel entirely broken. Women are at the beginning of life and of death. Sometimes these moments coexist at the exact same time. We need to hold space for these moments and allow it to just “be”. Some things cannot be explained, there is no reason, there is no way to make sense of it. When we hold space for our experience we give ourselves permission to process our loss, our feelings, and grow into who we will be after this type of experience… forever changed.
If you know someone who has or is experiencing a loss of any magnitude, even if it’s a loss of an idea of the future, show compassion. Literally, just show up. Sometimes when devastating things happen people don’t know what to say, or worry they will say something that will make it worse, so they say nothing… don’t do that, just say I’m so sorry.
Acknowledge their loss, let them feel sad, let them talk, and don’t try to fix things. Say their baby’s name. Meet them where they are, however low or high. Let them know you will be there at any time and let yourself be a soft place to land when things are heavy. Be a listening ear without trying to fix it or explain it. Let it be ok for the person grieving to be sad and talk about how shitty it all is. Do not judge, do not diminish their feelings. Don’t say you understand if you’ve never been through it yourself.
Just be there. Just hold space.
To the mama who has experienced loss, I hear you and I’m so sorry. You matter. This matters. Love and strength as you navigate this difficult season in your life. Know you are not alone.
“When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.” – Oscar Wilde