One of the hardest things about losing a pregnancy or baby is that there doesn’t seem to be an obvious place to go to get the comfort you seek. For me, I had no idea how many people around me had experienced loss, and this meant that I was unable to find my tribe of people who could help me through the loss. My husband was there, which was awesome, but I needed other moms who understood what I was feeling.
The first thing that I experienced other than complete heartbreak was fear that I had done something to cause the loss. I immediately honed in on a week prior when I was crying while watching an episode of Modern Family, and in my head I thought to myself, “I can’t take 9 months of crying at silly things.” It was an unconscious thought, one that just slipped into my head and was so far from the reality of how grateful I was that I was pregnant. So when a week later I started spotting, I thought to myself, maybe I wished this pregnancy away. Maybe it was me.
The actual day I found out that the baby had died, I remember wanting nothing other than to lay in my bed and cry and eat horribly unhealthy foods. I was angry at my body, I was angry at a coworker who had told me earlier in the day that it wasn’t even really a baby yet, and I was angry that my mother hadn’t shown me the caring that I truly needed. I knew that what I needed was a friend who could hold me and understand that my heart was truly broken and I felt like I would not live again.
On the day I went in to have the D&C, I was terrified. I knew emotionally this was going to be excruciating, but I was totally unprepared at how physically painful it would be as well. The process of getting my body to open up was awful, and the actual procedure was painful and scary. It didn’t help that I was awake and aware during the entire procedure and despite my husband being right by my side, I felt alone.
In the days and weeks afterward, I was numb at work and in my life outside my house. At home, I cried a lot. I felt like crap most of the time and my body felt like a shameful thing. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I wanted everyone to leave me alone. At Thanksgiving that year just a month after my D&C, my very pregnant sister sat next to me at dinner and my mother asked me if I had felt the baby kick. It felt like she had slapped me in the face, and I had to leave and go home shortly after. I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I remember crying with relief when my sister gave birth, not because I was relieved that everything was ok, but relieved because she was no longer pregnant, which was the one thing I wanted more than anything. These feelings that bubbled up made me feel awful, like a bad person. I couldn’t control them and even though I was happy for the friends and family around me that were getting pregnant and having their babies, I ultimately felt more jealous than anything. I wish that at this time somebody had been there to tell me that this was normal and ok.
By the time I found my loss group, the pain and grief was taking over my life. I felt completely out of control, obsessed with the loss and with trying to get pregnant again. It was on my mind every minute of every day, and I couldn’t stop. The loss group gave me a place to say all the things that had been floating in my mind. To express my ultimate fear that I would never get pregnant again, and that my only experience with pregnancy would be that of a loss. These women understood my jealousy, my intense sadness and anger, and my hope every month that this would be it, and I would be pregnant again.
I tell women now who are experiencing loss that everything they are feeling is normal. I give them a place to talk about any aspect of their loss and I reassure them that the anger they feel is normal. I want to give women the opportunity to be completely candid and open and feel safe in doing so. I encourage these women to find a group to attend, or find a chat room, or a thread on a baby site to get some of their feelings out. The one thing I want to do more than anything is to break the idea that we remain silent.