I’ve been holding back on posting about this until now. Like many women who go through similar experiences, it’s nearly impossible to get over the feelings of shame, inadequacy, embarrassment and pure grief to feel comfortable opening up. Olympic gymnast turned Dancing with the Stars celebrity, Shawn Johnson, decided to share the sad news of her miscarriage with the world, so I figured now is as good of a time as any.
I had originally intended to return to Modern Mommie and share the story of my loss on Valentine’s Day, three days after I experienced a miscarriage at eight weeks pregnant, merely two days after seeing the flicker of baby’s heartbeat at my first ultrasound. The people closest to me know. I gave my best friend the devastating news while she was five months pregnant – we thought we were going to have little ones just months apart. It was hard to tell my sister who had been through the same thing multiple times, it’s still hard to talk about it with her now.
Even still, the best advice I received was from my sister. To allow myself to grieve, to feel my loss as deeply as I want and not play the “well things could have been worse, look what other people go through” game.
I can’t begin to count how many people ask me if I am going to have a second child. Each time I want to say, “We’re trying but I had a miscarriage.” Instead I come up with some line like “Oh, well we’d love another but we’ll let the universe decide.” Universe decide? Yeah right. Says me with the at-home ovulation tests and the Ava ovulation bracelet who has gone to Acupuncture nearly every week for the past eight months and is now seeing a fertility specialist. I guess that’s my idea of leaving it to chance.
I am going to share with you the raw, unedited words that came to my mind during sleepless nights and words that came to me while drinking coffee on a Saturday morning – copied and pasted straight from the notes section of my phone. I will also share my reflections and things I’ve learned, and some of the other steps on this journey of loss and recovery. I invite you to come with me.
So we begin with what I was going to originally post on Valentine’s Day:
A year ago today, my baby girl’s father asked me to be his wife. The year that followed was a whirlwind – from getting a real estate license and listing our condo to finding our now home which we settled on 7 days before our wedding with me as the real estate agent. I also took another new (but sort of old) job at a place I used to work. They had an opening and asked me if I wanted to come back just four weeks before the house and wedding. During this time, my husband had also lost his job and found a new one but one that requires a 2-hour commute each way.
I thought this post and coming back to Modern Mommie was going to be about the trials and tribulations of the working mom life – how difficult it is to balance family and career. About supporting a spouse whose work life is intense. I thought it was going to be about the exciting challenge of having a toddler in her second year of life. Things that every mom, every parent can relate to. But today I return to Modern Mommie to talk about something that is regretfully and possibly even more relatable – loss.
Nearly a decade ago I was in graduate school for writing. While completing my thesis in creative non-fiction, I had an advisor point me in the direction of maneuvering the focus of my piece from what I had been writing about to the idea of how individuals connect over loss. It was in a completely different context than what brings me here today but at the time, I was so apprehensive to be vulnerable enough to explore the topic. Having experienced the greatest loss of my life a few days ago, I now realize that loss truly does bring people together and has a universality unlike any other emotion.
Thank you, Shawn, for sparking the courage in me.