This moving story about dealing with miscarriage grief by Athena Bryant tells us how this mother coped with the emotional pain of a miscarriage and helps you with handling your own loss of a baby.
Nothing prepares you for dealing with miscarriage grief, and it's something that most people just don't understand. Here is my story:
When I found out I was pregnant for the second time, it’s painful to admit, but I was scared and I wasn’t ready. I had given birth to my first 3 months prior. As a new mom, I was feeling overwhelmed with caring for my newborn, and early parenthood was straining an already difficult marriage. I felt guilty that I didn’t have the excitement and joy when I found out I was pregnant the first time. I even prayed that it was somehow a false positive.
As the first month went by, I accepted the pregnancy. I had felt emotionally distant from it, but soon I was doing better with taking care of my newborn son and began to bond with the baby growing inside of me. I found a little stuffed animal that looked similar to a giraffe. You could pull its head up and then music played as it slowly lowered back down. It was the first thing I bought for the new baby.
To announce to friends and family in the area, I looked for a big brother shirt for my son. But, being pregnant 3 months after delivery isn’t common enough for them to make big brother shirts in size 0-3 months. I bought a plain white onesie and used marker to write “I’m a big brother…already!”
The appointment to schedule an ultrasound was set and we were told we could find out the sex of the baby. At the appointment the tech started the ultrasound. She said she would be back and left the room and returned with the doctor. That was when the doctor told us, at 16 weeks, there was no heartbeat. She said that I would naturally miscarry within a week. It all sounded so cold and factual. I kept believing that I would go back in a week and there would be a strong heartbeat on the screen.
When the miscarriage happened, I felt like I had lost total control of my body and that as much as I willed the baby to hold on to life, my body was rejecting it. I refused to go to the doctor when I was passing blood clots because I was in denial. But then, the situation got so bad, my then husband decided we needed the ER. I was stabilized and returned home. I didn’t know how physically exhausting the miscarriage would be. I essentially had a drug free labor and in no way was I informed it would be like that.
Afterwards, we had to figure out a burial. Because cemeteries only bury a baby 20 weeks and later, we found a place in a church’s garden that would bury the baby and had a small funeral. We named her Lael which is Hebrew for “belonging to God”
I also bought myself a little piece of miscarriage jewelry to wear next to my heart in remembrance of Lael.
I learned that miscarriage is a very lonely loss to go through. People don’t talk about it, or they offer strange words meant to comfort; “you can always have another”, “it was meant to be”, “it’s in a better place”. People almost treat you like you were never pregnant, as if it was a false alarm pregnancy.
I also had to work through my own guilt at my initial reaction to the pregnancy. So many tears were shed as I wished I hadn’t taken the time I had with Lael for granted. I even thought that it was my fault, as if my reaction had caused the miscarriage to happen. It was irrational, but I was so desperate for an explanation on why it happened that I was willing to take the blame.
It’s been almost 6 and a half years since my miscarriage. Since then, I have had another child, a daughter. My pregnancy with her was a very healthy pregnancy, but I felt robbed of the innocence of the experience. I was anxious to hear the heartbeat every time. I would have dreams that I was miscarrying again. Not until my daughter was in my arms, did I finally feel relief.
When people ask how many children I have, I say two but think three. I want to say three, but I don’t know if they would understand. To many people, Lael doesn’t exist to them like she does to me.
The sadness is still there, I still have moments when my heart aches and the tears fall fresh like the day it happened. But I’ve learned that dealing with miscarriage grief is a part of me. It’s a part of me just like the joyful memories have formed me.
You’re never over a loss, you just learn how to live with it as a part of your story.
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