Losing What You Never Had: What I Learned from my Miscarriage
When the time is right, we will hope again.
Realizing you're expecting is a euphoric moment. It sets you off on this long journey down a road of possibility and wonderment. I began thoughtfully dreaming about who this baby will become, how I preferred to deliver and yes there were already names. I knew from hearsay that there was a chance that this wouldn't turn out the way we were hoping. But, I didn't want to focus on that possibility or give it a space to exist in. So, after our home pregnancy test: we told our parents. After our confirmation appointment at the doctor: our parents told a few people. And, when they sent us home from our first ultrasound without so much as a consultation, we went merrily on our way down the path of then-comes-baby.
Everything changed, though, when the doctor called to say there wasn't a heartbeat. It was still too soon to know what happening because she felt that we might have had the timeline wrong. So she scheduled me for another appointment at the end of the week. I started crying giant tears for the gaping hole that formed where my hopes and dreams had been. I mulled this over for the entire week, unable to concentrate and wavering between hopeless and hopeful. Then, it was confirmed. I'd had a silent miscarriage.
In the space between expectation and what happens, there is fear, sadness, guilt and anger. I am sad right now. Together with my family who we now must call to un-tell, we will heal. Mark Zuckerberg (facebook CEO) was recently hailed for talking about his wife Priscilla's three miscarriages in advance of their first successful birth. In small circles with his friends, he said, it was a common occurrence. Ironically, facebook feeds are filled with pregnancy announcements and sonograms. It's easy to feel you're alone in the midst of that. But miscarriage is common (as many as 50% of pregnancies end this way).
I'm not ashamed. I did everything the books told me to do. I am healthy. I was mindful. I followed the embryo's growth week-by-week online. I took all of the crazy advice they were giving out. It was nothing I did. Coming out of my ultrasound appointment my husband looked at me and asked, "Are you Ok?" I think I am. Many years ago my mother had a similar experience after carrying for eight months. Then there was less that medicine could do. Many couples have faced this reality over the course of time. Women endure. And I choose to believe that everything happens for a reason. After all, directly following that eight-month pregnancy she had me.
In that sense, what I know about hope, I learned from her. Hope is what we hold on to. Even after the batter and bruising we can manage to keep it in our grasp. And we will carry it with us until the time is right to pull it from our pockets and welcome it to grow again within us and around us. Yes, we lost something and that is a heavy weight to bear. But hope is, and will be again, unassailably ours.