In December 2014, I suffered the devastating blow no pregnant woman wants to endure. I walked into my OB/GYN office hoping to hear good things, but instead I leave after hearing, "I'm sorry, we can't find the heartbeat." Nothing was more devastating at that moment.
I had a missed miscarriage, something that was completely oblivious to me until December 2nd, 2014. I had never heard of a missed miscarriage and no one I have ever known has had one. I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel invincible at nearly four months pregnant. I figured I was past the common miscarriage stage and it was so unlikely I would make it to June 9th, 2015 without my precious baby.
I read before and during my pregnancy, I wanted to educate myself on everything I possibly could and I wanted to know what options were out there for my child and family during my pregnancy and after the baby arrived. I was prepared for just about everything, except the labor and delivery portion. But I will admit, I skipped over all of the miscarriage portions of the books, I didn't want to be negative or think negatively.
Little did I know, I should have studied the hell out of those sections.
In the days following my D&E surgery, I rehearsed all of the things I did wrong or what I could have done differently. Every miscarriage survivor I have met since December 2nd, 2014 has told me they have done the exact same thing. It's common, and we don't want to hear how we shouldn't do or feel this way.
"It wasn't your fault," they say.
"Bullshit," I think.
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.
In addition to feeling like a total and complete failure, you wonder if you will be able to ever have that spark and happiness you had before you conceived. Will the sex with your significant other return to what it was? Will he love you any less? Will he have a secret hate for you because you couldn't carry his child to term? Is there any chance he might leave you for a more competent fertile woman? If you continue to miscarry, will that be the end? These are all questions we sit and ponder on for hours, days, and months following our miscarriages.
I have wondered all of them, I have played out terrible tragic scenarios in my mind, and I have even gone long periods of time without eating due to my indescribable worry. Feeling like you are not enough or feeling like a complete failure can ruin your soul and body. Miscarriage brings out your worst demons; the ones you didn't even know existed within you.
As I am only a couple of weeks away from the projected due date for my pregnancy, I feel all of the losses and worries again -- something else many women face during this time. We aren't necessarily "healing" but we are trying to recover from a severe trauma that happened; something that is hard to explain and hard for outsiders to understand.
"Today is my due date. I never thought I would be sitting on my bed staring at ultrasound pictures, a flat stomach, and no baby in sight," a member of Diary of a Hopeful Woman said as she described her worst day following her D&C surgery.
Hope is another thing lost for survivors, maybe not forever, but for a decent period of time. We hoped to be buying a crib, stocking our cupboards with bottles, gaining baby carrying muscles, and all of the other things that we realize will come with motherhood. After a miscarriage, you understand you will never have those same hopes again, not for that child.
A survivor's significant other is a strategic asset to our survival. We depend on them, we cry on them, we need them to just listen when we are confused and hopeless, and most of all, we need them to feel the loss of the child too. Miscarriage isn't a loss suffered just by the mother -- the child belonged and was created with the love of another human, the father. It is important that the father of the unborn child is reassured of their meaning to the survivor -- I try to take time from my misery to validate my significant other of his place in my life and my trauma, he is one of the two reasons why I have survived.
To all of the survivors out there, I know you're suffering more than just the loss of your child, I know it feels like there is no more hope to have... just breathe, you're worth your survival.
For more information on Diary of a Hopeful Woman, visit their website.
There is a booster campaign running until June 1st trying to raise awareness for Miscarriage support, go here.
Special thanks to the member of DoaHW who was willing to be quoted for this piece.