Statistics say that miscarriage occurs in approximately 20% of all pregnancies. But that is only counting the miscarriages that were medically reported. It does not take into account the women who have early miscarriages at home who may not go to a hospital or the women who may not realize they even WERE pregnant and just assume the heavy bleeding and cramping to be a late period. The actual percentage of pregnancies that end in miscarriage could be as high as 40 or 50%.
I am what the medical community calls a habitual aborter. Nice, right? The label makes me cringe. I am a huge advocate of pro-life so to have a label slapped on me which makes it sound like I on purpose kill my unborn babies……it bothers me deeply. I have 6 children alive and well on earth. But what many people do not know is that in the past 13 years I have also lost 6 babies inutero. One at 20 weeks and 5 more were all early miscarriages at 8 weeks or earlier. The only difference between my late term loss and my early miscarriages is with the late term loss I had baby clothes I had to fold up and pack away into boxes when I got home from the hospital. The emotional pain cut just as deep at 8 weeks or 5 weeks. The moment I took that positive test the plans for that baby were set into motion. baby names began to roll around in my head. I started eyeing adorable teeny baby outfits at the store. I imagined how my older son would handle being a big brother. As my mother put it when she suffered her own loss a decade ago: “I already knew where we were going to put the crib.”
That encapsulates it all right there. The existence of this tiny being begins to shift and change your entire life. The unexpected loss of that life within you very abruptly brings those plans and changes to a screeching halt. Smashes into you like a car crash. Rips the dreams out of your arms. Yanks the rug right out from under your feet.
And the kicker of it is, in the midst of unspeakable grief and confusion, you find that the comfort can be very shallow. Not that anyone purposely wants to make you feel bad. But the fact is, if you haven’t been through a loss like that, you cannot begin to understand all that it entails. The grief, the jealousy of other pregnant women, the guilt and blame, the questions that often go unanswered. You get offered such comfort as “You can always try again.” “Well, at least you have your other children still.” “Maybe God took it because it had deformities and it would have had a hard life.”
What those folks do not realize is that there are NO WORDS to say to soothe that kind of raw pain. That a mother is a mother whether she has ever held her child in her arms or not. That to some, a miscarriage is just an unfortunate incident, a pregnancy lost. But to mothers who suffer through it, it is a child lost. A potential future cut short. I have a friend who just this past week lost her precious son at 16 weeks. As she put it to me ” A persons a person, no matter how small.” (Dr. Seuss sure hit the nail on the head with that one, didn’t he?)
Tomorrow is my ultrasound. Two p.m. A part of me is giddy with excitement. To be able to see that tiny lima bean shaped creature with its rapidly beating heart nestled deep within me. To see all is well. I can’t wait.
But another part of me is absolutely terrified.
I’ve been through 2 miscarriages where I didn’t bleed at all. The only way I knew I had lost my child is that the heart was still, oh-so-perfectly-still, on that ultrasound screen. I’m scared of seeing that again. I am scared of my body betraying me and failing my unborn babe. This is The Mans first child. I am scared of feeling like I failed him.
Miscarriage has been on my mind a lot recently. Two close friends of mine have suffered through that loss in the past couple of months. Another friend of mine is currently half way through her pregnancy after suffering multiple losses. I have watched these strong women navigate terrifying waters and keep their chins up above the water line and I have nothing much to say to them to help. Because I know nothing really does. Just love. Just hugs and support. Just permission to grieve in whatever way is needed that day.
We mothers of angels. We women mourning for angels. We are all members of a club we never wanted to be initiated into. A club that has dues that are far too steep. We never forget though. These angels will always be our children. Always.
I light a candle tonight for each of your angels. Namaste. ❤