David and I are back in Toronto and settled in our new apartment. We’re back to school and back to work.
Albeit, it took an extra 3.5 weeks leave from work, a lot of tears, sleepless nights, and dare I say it, a bout of depression, to get where we are now.
I had intended to write and share this post on October 15 – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day – but I still needed a bit of time. I think you can probably see where this is going.
David and I were expecting a baby early next year.
Everything was going according to plan. We got pregnant during our European adventure, found a midwife, I even bought a crib, mattress, and sheets because the deal was too good to pass up ($50.00 for everything, you say? Yes, please!). I joined BabyCenter‘s group for pregnant women, and David and I started daydreaming about names and life after baby. We had even decided, wholeheartedly, on a girl’s name – both first and middle names! We were so thrilled.
And then at our 12 week ultrasound, we learned that I had suffered what’s called a “missed miscarriage.” The baby had actually died before we ever returned to Canada, but my body still believed I was pregnant. We had told some of our close friends upon our return that we were expecting a baby, never knowing that it had passed away weeks before.
Miscarriage is common. But that doesn’t lessen the heartbreak when it does happen.
It didn’t help matters that we learned this difficult news while we were both sick with the flu, still in the process of moving, and in the midst of exploring an entirely new part of Toronto. Needless to say, we ate a lot of takeout for several weeks. There were days I cried for hours and hours. Sometimes I’d wake up and stare at the ceiling for what felt like days. I lost a lot of weight. I didn’t sleep. I would look into the second bedroom in our apartment – the one we specifically picked for baby – and become so angry I had to slam the door. I don’t think we laughed for several weeks. Obviously a large part of how I was feeling was hormonal, but again, that doesn’t mean that what was felt was any less real. And we’ve both suffered greatly. We were in a deep fog for a long time, and in recent weeks we’re finally laughing again.
One of my close friends also suffered a miscarriage, and I remember when she told me about it, I thought it was so sad, but not a big deal. It happens all the time, right? And it’s not like you suffered a loss after the baby was born. Sigh. Oh my. Based on my own naive experience and expectations, I’m not sure anyone can truly understand the real devastation in learning about a miscarriage until you’ve experienced it for yourself. Also, I don’t want to say the husband or partner doesn’t experience suffering, but I do think that the physical manifestations, and necessary medical procedures, of a miscarriage that a woman must endure only make things more difficult to bear.
These days David and I are doing very well. My purpose in writing this post is threefold – it’s cathartic in that I can express to you something that has profoundly impacted me and David. I also hope that, by talking about this, more women will feel empowered to share. Finally, I wanted to use this platform to express my gratitude to those that helped us heal.
First of all – why do we wait to tell people we’re pregnant? Because of the fear of miscarriage, right? Ultimately deciding to tell people early on or not is an individual choice that each have positives and negatives.
However, because of our experience, David feels strongly that the next time we get pregnant we’ll share with our close friends and family immediately instead of waiting for that “safe” time. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, but his reasoning is that it was easier for us when people could share in our joy… but also hold us up in our pain. We told several people we were pregnant, but when we miscarried, we told many more people who never even knew we were pregnant at all.
And it’s been through our loving community of friends and church that we’ve found healing. It’s not time that heals all wounds, it’s through our relationships with others – a community of healing, if you will. And sometimes wounds never fully heal. Someone I know recently told me that grief is like the tide – it ebbs and flows, sometimes more strongly than others. These words really resonated with me; we have had our share of grief in recent years and know this to be a real vision of grief. And it has been a great relief to know that during those times of ebb and flow, we’ve had so much support.
I have told almost everyone at my workplace, and together we told so many at church, and many close friends. Our friends listened with open arms and open hearts, and that’s all we really needed. One such friend offered to fly to Toronto and look after us – and we knew she would do it if we expressed in any way that we wanted that. Women who told me they’d experienced a miscarriage themselves united around me with love, support, and understanding. And those who didn’t understand the deep pain, were still some of the most loving and gracious people we’ve ever met.
To those who have suffered a loss, whether it be through miscarriage or otherwise, don’t be afraid to share. One of the passages of the Bible that I hold dear to my heart is Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12:
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of threestrands is not quickly torn apart.
And we’re blessed that our cord has many strands.
So with that we want to encourage others who have experienced a loss to remember that it’s okay to have and let others lift you back up. Life will go on and be wonderful again, but perhaps things will always be just a little bit different. And that’s okay.
We also want to express our deep gratitude to our wonderful friends for being such a great support in our lives.
You know who you are.