As a survivor of miscarriage, it is hard to not feel like you have lost your self-worth after miscarrying your pregnancy. You feel like a complete failure to yourself, your significant other, and to that child. You lose your sense of empowerment as a woman and it is hard to get it back.
Part of me still worried that I would suffer another loss if I got pregnant again. At 42, the odds were that I would lose another baby. But all I could do was hope that I would not deal with the heartbreak again.
I remember everything I wore. The unfathomable dichotomy between inside and out. I was wearing my optimism dress leaving the fertility clinic that morning, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and a huge question mark in my belly.
The plant may have been a memorial to our pain and grief, but over time, it came to symbolize our strength and resilience. Despite our pain, or maybe because of it, Matt and I grew infinitely closer as a couple during that time.
I never once stopped to ask my husband how he was handling the loss. After all my introspection and self-discovery, the one thing that escaped my notice in the weeks after the miscarriage was that it wasn't my loss -- it was our loss. I am not alone in making this mistake.
Before we even meet them, we have already planned their details and we have already seen their faces and we have already embraced them, alive. And then they are gone, and they will never sit in our car or sleep in that bed or look at the walls of that room we decorated with them in mind.
For a woman who has been trying to conceive, without success, this type of reflection and comparison can be devastating. Of course, it is always difficult for women dealing with fertility challenges, but this time of year seems to be the worst.
I am all for celebrating the phenomenal beauty of a healthy pregnancy. After losing three pregnancies, I'm likely more appreciative than the average person of what a remarkable miracle a full-term pregnancy and healthy baby is.
Most of the things you aren't supposed to say are the things that made me feel better. After reading that, I thought for a moment, Maybe things don't happen for a reason... then what the heck is going on?
On the night of my son's stillbirth, I experienced a range of emotions I could live several lifetimes and never really begin to describe. I felt absolutely separate from my body. I felt intermittently like a witness to events.
In the months following my son's death, yoga enabled a pathway for me to experience myself in my body again. In a rich and saffron-hued yoga studio, lit in the evening with candles, I learned to stay in a moment even as I yearned to escape it.
I won't tell you to hang in there. I don't expect you to cheer up just because people keep saying encouraging things to you. I actually will say the opposite: you are allowed to be sad, frustrated and even angry.
It was such a gift to realize that I was not alone. So many women have miscarriages, even ones who have healthy babies now. It is nature's way. And it can also be a cleansing process to have a healthy pregnancy going forward.