I started cramping at work, and because I almost never cramp during my period (lucky, I know) I thought I had to go to the bathroom-stat. I sat on the toilet at work, and was surprised that I had started my period and realized it was “just cramping.” When walking back to my desk I was overcome with pain and had to lean against a chair-and that’s when the thought first popped into my head, “I think I might be miscarrying.”
I didn’t actually know I was pregnant. My period had been acting funny over the last two months-one day of very light bleeding and then nothing for six weeks. I took pregnancy test after pregnancy test but they all came back negative. Since my husband and I weren’t trying (actually actively preventing) I just figured that my cycle was being impacted by the severe amount of stress I was under.
The next morning though, I passed tissue that was beyond evident I was miscarrying and it wasn’t just a tough period. I honestly had no idea how to feel–my husband and I were done having kids, I hadn’t even known I was pregnant until I miscarried, but I knew that I felt alone. So very alone. Finding out I had been pregnant the same day I was miscarrying was a lot to take in.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to tell my husband or not. This wasn’t my first miscarriage and truthfully–after those I was fine. Beyond the physical symptoms, emotionally I didn’t seem to miss a beat and just moved on. At first, I was not going to tell him--if it wasn’t really going to impact me, why should I tell him?
This one was different though. I found myself obsessively thinking about my miscarriage. I was sneaking out of my bed at night to cry away from my husband. I couldn’t stop vividly imagining flushing what would have been a baby down the toilet, over and over again. I felt guilty, so guilty. I didn’t want this baby, so why am I in mourning? I don’t want future babies so why am I sad? Why was it so easy for me to get pregnant (when I don’t want it) and other women can’t. The guilt and sadness was eating away at me.
I knew I had to tell my husband, but I was scared. I didn’t want him to be sad, but I also wanted him to feel something because I was. I was petrified I would tell him and he would have an, “Oh well” stance about it since we both fully agreed there are no more babies in our future. Telling him was probably one of my most vulnerable moments because I just knew if he didn’t react the way I needed him to (though to be fair, I didn’t know what that was) I was going to struggle so much more. My husband is my husband for a reason though, and I wasn’t done telling him before he scooped me up in his arms and held me as I cried.
Once I told him, I thought I was going to finally be able to “get over it.” I thought that maybe the reason I was struggling so much was because I had been keeping it a secret. The crying didn’t stop. The lying awake at night just feeling sad didn’t taper off any. I was just stuck in sadness. With my husband’s encouragement, I contacted a counselor to finally help move forward.
Through heavy and intense conversation, my counselor helped me come to the realization that with my previous miscarriages they were “easy” to move on because I had a plan of action and I could put my energy into that. I knew that in the future, I would try again and my baby making days weren’t over. This time, I was not only dealing with the loss of a baby, but the realization that I was truly done hit me like a ton of bricks. It doesn’t mean that I was any less sure that I didn’t want more kids, but there was still mourning period for me over the fact that I would never have another baby.
I also was stuck on the fact that I just flushed the tissues I passed down the toilet. It felt so inhumane to me. My counselor asked me what else I could have done. I suppose I could have fished it out of the toilet and buried it in my backyard but that wouldn’t have felt right either. She helped me realize the choice I made that night wasn’t wrong–it was the one I only felt I could do. She suggested I take action to honor the loss I had, light a candle and blow it out recognizing the loss of the flame for example. While I felt too silly to do something like that, the imagery of a candle being blown out with the smoke slowly dissipating helped. It felt hokey, but I knew I was on my way to healing.
Miscarriages can be devastating no matter what–a surprise (but welcomed) pregnancy; one that you longed for so deeply in your heart or even pregnancies that aren’t wanted. It has been several months now and I’m OK. I wonder sometimes if I would have gone through a mourning process over that stage of my life being over, the miscarriage just caused it to happen sooner than later. And while I would have much rather not gone through it, I get to now look at my perfect (for me) family and feel wholly complete.