Baby Loss and Silent Suffering
A silent miscarriage will rock your world or any baby loss for that matter. Nothing will tear you apart quite like that does. We’ve had 3 and they were all silent so that is what I can speak to. However, I can only imagine how a still birth or SIDS would feel and I hold space for those that have experienced.
Silent miscarriages are when your body doesn’t recognize it. No bleeding, no cramps, just loss of life with no sign at all. Which means, those who have them usually find out through an ultrasound and no heartbeat.
The pain cuts deep
There I found myself 13 weeks pregnant, just announced on social media, excited to see my baby in an ultrasound only to find out the heartbeat no longer existed.
I felt dead. Death experienced inside my body. No death more intimate than that. That pain goes deep, deeper than your bones. It felt like my whole body was in emotional and physical pain I could literally feel my heart breaking from the inside out. I had been carrying our baby for 5 weeks unaware of no heartbeat. At the doctor's office I was told I could take a pill and allow our baby to flow out of me or schedule a D&C. I chose to schedule a D&C in order to avoid the trauma of seeing our baby come out of me.
The day my D&C was scheduled at 11am on a Friday. I woke up that morning at 5am with cramps beyond painful. I was going into labor. My mom picked me up and I remember my feet were on the dashboard and the cramps were coming every 2 minutes. Not exactly how I imagined labor to go. I got to the hospital and was drugged up as I couldn’t handle the idea of labor with no baby to come and the pain physically and emotionally was unbearable.
After the D&C the silent suffering began. The fear of never having a baby was a thought that crossed my mind too often. I focused on work and decided I wouldn’t let this affect me, that it was just science. At the time, that mindset truly helped. I told my boss that I didn't need time and wanted to not think about it.
Break the Stigma
I don’t know why most people don’t discuss miscarriage. I think the stigma is beginning to break but it is still highly a stigma. Maybe some people feel like a failure or want people to continue to think their life is perfect. Or maybe they think if it's not discussed they can forget it ever happened. That's how I felt but ultimately, I was just masking it, avoiding dealing with it and buried it. Not addressing pain then makes it complicated grief and harder to process and heal later on.
When you become pregnant most women can imagine their lives all the way through adulthood, wondering how they will be, hoping they have the best life, thinking about their milestones. When you lose a pregnancy, you also lose the life you imagined with them and for them. It’s overall a huge loss that people who haven’t experienced do not understand. I never understood before we experienced. I thought it wasn’t a big deal, it’s so common I would think, it wasn’t even a fully developed yet, gods greater plan… but why would god will this on to me? On to any of us? I stopped believing actually for a solid year.
When we first got pregnant, I had two friends that were in our wedding that got pregnant at the same time as us. We were so excited. Then we lost ours. I found it so difficult to process. I remember I went to my friend's baby shower that year and I left crying. All I could think about was how I was supposed to be pregnant too, how I would never get to hold our baby. My next friends baby shower I couldn’t go to. I knew the tears and pain that would come, and I just couldn’t put myself through it again. I felt terrible for not going. Those who haven’t experienced cannot even begin to understand. It’s not that I wasn’t happy for her, I was just too unhappy with myself.
These losses whether further along in pregnancy or not are painful. The memory never goes away, but then again- do we want it to? Those 3 babies' souls are still my babies. It made me stronger, and it made me appreciate the babies I have on earth now.
I remember in March of this year I finally allowed myself to feel it. For the first time while not working and my kids were at school, I was able to process the emotions. I fell to my knees and allowed all the tears to flow. I never even cried that much when it first happened, grief really does get complicated when avoided.
I hope this brings comfort and understanding to those who have experienced and those who have friends that have experienced. Be gentle with those you know, give them grace for the struggle, and most importantly hold space for their grief while allowing them to speak openly about it for however long it takes.
Sending all my love to those who are currently grieving.