I am nothing if not a researcher. When I am uncomfortable with something, I read more about it. When I am interested in something, I learn all I can about it. When I’m excited about something, I’ll study it. When I’m grieving over something, I learn why.
Over the past week, as we’ve tried to begin healing from our loss, I’ve spent countless hours online trying to learn more about what happened and what is happening. What happened is a missed miscarriage. What’s happening now is grief. While I know I may never have more answers as to why we lost our baby, I can learn everything possible about our loss so I have all the assurance in the world that there is physically nothing I could do to change any outcome in the future.
When you’re grieving over something, one of the first things you do is question why? In our case, the why may never be completely answered. At the stage that our baby stopped growing, it was early enough in the pregnancy to be assumed as a genetic complication. The sperm or egg was not healthy and the baby could not continue to grow. Unfortunately, my body didn’t tell me this. My body kept growing and acting as a mother should to protect the baby in my womb. For this reason, I didn’t know my baby had died. Perhaps, the baby’s heart held on until my 12 week appointment because of my health. Maybe I sustained a “doomed” pregnancy longer than most can.
Because of the recent listeria outbreak, I have fears that I ate something that caused the baby to die. I ate just about every food listed on the recall throughout that period of my pregnancy. I know it’s silly to wonder, and I had no symptoms of infection from Listeria, but I still wonder.
Satisfied that there are no more webpages or scholarly articles to guide me in my quest for answers, I’ve turned my attention to my grief. Am I grieving ok? Is this what it’s supposed to feel like?
I’ve gone through all the stages. Anger, jealousy, fear, sadness, curiosity… in fact, I travel between all these emotions daily. It’s so incredible how contradicting your own emotions can be. I wake up one morning sad that the sun has risen… it seems impossible that a day could be so beautiful when I’m so sad. Later that day, the warmth of that same sun brings me peace that I’ll find happiness again one day. As the sun sets, I begin to feel anxiety over other areas of my life that I cannot control. This is a “normal” feeling that people experience when they lose something, they want to prevent that hurt from ever happening again by holding on to everything else they hold dear. I know this is why I haven’t done well when Michael is not with me.
After a long walk with a dear friend of mine, who has been through untold grief in her young life, I’ve found hope that this is all right. This is what I should be experiencing and that I’m not crazy for feeling this way. I know through reading, and her words, that only time will help in healing, and that there will be days where I feel whole again, and days where out of nowhere I’m hurting.
Miscarriage is different, because friends and family don’t notice a loss. Only the mother and father really notice a difference in their lives, so after the shock wears off, many forget the pain lives on. There will be days and moments when people around us have no idea what we’re still experiencing, but we will be hurting inside. Christmas, mother’s day or father’s day? Thanksgiving when we would have held a family shower, or new year’s when we expected to celebrate the last of our single, adult lives. The due date will come and go, and some may not even notice, but we will be thinking of the precious child that we will not hold in our arms that night. The sleep I won’t miss getting up from my bed to nurse the sweet baby I carried for 9 months.
One day, our pain will heal. Not fully, but it will heal. We will have children, God willing, and we will create the family we desperately desire. We will be asked “how many children do you have?” and we will probably leave out this little one we lost. But we will always hold on to our only picture of our first baby. We will carry it with us in life, the way we would have carried our son or daughter, were it to be so.
I’ve found peace in this saying found on pinterest. It helps me feel like other mother’s out there understand the relationship we have with our lost one:
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”