Grieving the unknown: my experience with pregnancy loss

iamkarla.com

This is a difficult topic for me. Couples who have gone through child loss will understand why. This past Tuesday, I watched with much interest an episode of a TV show my Love and I really like: ‘This is us’. In it, one of the characters, Kate, miscarries and we get to see the devastation of such an event. For both, hubby and I, having recently experienced a pregnancy loss, this hit close to home. I cannot explain the level of pain and grief and anger that I lived through the first days. Even now, writing this, I’m feeling quite emotional.

At some point during the episode, Kate tells her mom: “How could I be this sad? I never even met the baby or held him or her”. That was my question at first. And then I talked to a friend who experienced a similar loss years ago, and she told me “from the moment we get pregnant, we bond with our children. When they’re gone for whatever reason, we feel like loosing our minds”. That is so true, I remember feeling numb when hearing the bad news. Probably my brain was blocking any emotion to protect me. I was like a robot just walking and listening to the medical staff instructions. I felt nothing when the doctor said “you can try again, this is good news in a way guys”. This is good news. If so, why this sadness?

Today is one month after I had to undergo a surgical removal of my pregnancy. That’s how the doctor treated my case. For me, I had to remove my baby. My beautiful angel who wanted to live. I had to let her go so I could live. In a way, I had to let go of a life project: growing our family. Even though, my experience at the hospital was really good and I felt like I mattered, the emotional pain was not eased at all. I, like Kate from This is us, felt like I failed my husband. I felt guilty “Was that one time that I smoked a cigarette after a concert when I was probably 1 day pregnant?” “Is this because I’ve been feeling so stressed that my sacral chakra is blocked?”. I felt terrible of having to get my daughter off my body. She was comfortable, she wanted to live so much that she resisted two shots of a very powerful drug intended to destroy her. She fought until some foreign instrument pull her away from me. And I could not do anything to stop that. I had two choices at that moment: to live or to die. To live by removing her or to die together. How can you feel good about having to decide between you and your child?

And there is hope along with love at the same time. When everything was lost for us, I decided to let her go with the same love we co-created her. I asked her to forgive me and to understand why I had to do this to her. I tried to comfort her by telling her that she was loved and that if we were meant to be, she’ll be back soon. I tried to put a nice face to it despite being crushed inside. Because, for me, this is what being a mother means. My heart was broken, yet I needed to think about my baby. I needed to make sure that she wouldn’t feel betrayed or alone when being removed by a surgeon. I wanted to make everything easier for her. I would deal with my pain later. After all, I was staying here surrounded by love. Love from the best co-parent & partner ever, love from the best friends, the sisters, the mom, the mother in law.

It’s funny how when something like this happen to you, you start listening to similar stories. Murphy’s law maybe? A few days after my surgery, I was watching some makeup videos on Youtube. Then, one of the Youtubers I follow, Rosy McMichael, told the story of her miscarriage. It had never occurred to me that such thing has happened to her. I mean, it never crossed my mind that I would go through something liked this myself, so. In the video she explains everything surrounding her loss and fortunately for her, everything ended with a happy ending when she became pregnant again with a healthy baby boy.

I’ve never been shy about my feelings or about my life. So, I started to talk about my pregnancy loss with friends and family members unaware of the events. I got so many “oh, it happened to me some time ago” that I’m not sure anymore about the official world statistics on pregnancy loss. I think that so far, in all my circle of friends, relatives and even acquaintances, there is only one person who, fortunately, has never experience any kind of pregnancy loss.

This is why I’m here talking about that. Because I feel that pregnancy loss is a topic not widely discussed. Is it because of shame or pain? How’s that possible that I only learn now that one of my childhood friends miscarried 8 years ago? Why didn’t she tell me at the time? Why women feel that this is something we have to keep for ourselves and our closest people? Why do we have to ask for permission or validation for feeling this way about a baby we never saw or touch? Why do we have to grieve the “unknown” alone? It is a painful event, yes. And it’s unfortunately so frequent. I find hope in the fact that when this happened to me, I searched for resources on the Internet and found some good support groups. Many women are sharing their experiences and talking more about this. Moreover, what ‘This is us’ did was truly terrific: showing on mainstream media the ups and downs of pregnancy loss. Let’s create an environment in which women will be able to share their feelings and thoughts on this topic freely and without any shame or stigma.

For me, the healing process is on and I’m the kind that need to let things out of the system. Talking publicly, acknowledging my pain and how of an emotional wreck I can be at times, is highly therapeutic. And just like Kate and her partner Toby, our loss has made me and my Love stronger. I knew how hard this was on him and never minimized or ignored his feelings. He lost a daughter the same way I did. Yes, he was not carrying her, but he was part of the project from day one. I still remember his face when we found out about the pregnancy. I will never forget his face when we heard from the doctor that we needed to end this same pregnancy. We are now grieving together, even if not at the same pace or in the same manner. And yes, maybe someday we’ll try again to grow our crazy family. In the meantime, we’ll keep our grieving process and we’ll for sure remain grateful for all the beautiful things we have as of now, knowing that we have an angel watching over us.

I found the following articles that are spot on with respect to the ‘This is us’ episode I talk about in this post:

‘This Is Us’ Breaks Down The Stigma Of Miscarriage

What ‘This Is Us’ Got Devastatingly Right About Losing a Baby

Hugs,

K

1 comment
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