I lost my pregnancy very early, at five weeks. Still, it was a loss, and one I grieved. I was very emotionally charged for several days following the natural miscarriage, but I allowed myself to feel what I was feeling instead of judging myself or feeling guilty. One of the traps of early miscarriage is feeling as though you do not deserve to grieve because, after all, you weren’t pregnant very long. It is so easy to compare our own loss with the losses of others. Still, I was reminded by people who care about me that a loss is a loss.
After several days of red eyes and broken feelings I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and took a step forward. I was able to go to work and care for other people’s children without resentment or heartbreak. I was able to smile and laugh with friends. I was able to enjoy being with my husband without focusing on what we did not have.
And then reminders started cropping up in the most unexpected ways. I am not talking about walking past a pregnant women in the grocery store. I am talking about a phone call from the birthing center, because somebody had not updated their records. And then there was the letter from my insurance company regarding my benefits not covering that birthing center. There was a flier in the mail about a sale on baby things.
One night when my husband and I were out with my parents I got a call from an unrecognizable number. I answered and it turned out it was my insurance provider again, calling to congratulate me and tell me more about their prenatal program. “Congratulations on your pregnancy!” she said, and all I could say was, “I’m afraid that’s no longer accurate.” I couldn’t even cry. My parents don’t know, you see.
Another time my husband and I were at church and one of the sweet, elderly men got up during the time for community prayer and said he just wanted to praise God for all the new and expecting mothers in the church, and ask a special blessing for them. That time I did cry. On my husband’s shoulder. In church. As inconspicuously as possible (read: not very).
That’s the thing about miscarriage. It just keeps on hurting. You expect certain things– you fortify yourself against the cute babies and the expecting women; the commercials; the extra long period; the craziness of your next cycle. But you don’t anticipate the other things– the fliers; the unexpected announcements from friends; the insurance company. You don’t anticipate when those things will occur or how much it will hurt.
So the cycle continues. You breakdown. You recover. You pick yourself up, and tentatively take a step forward. Maybe next time it won’t hurt as much.