There are tears in my coffee this morning. I’m trying so damn hard to be strong, to be okay… I’m mostly succeeding, but these early hours where sleep leaves me and refuses to return, they’re hard. I’m the only one awake and I’m left with all the feelings I try to ignore the rest of the day. It’s just me, a keyboard, some Avenged Sevenfold, and a coffee.
Funny thing is, ordinarily, all these those things would leave me blissfully happy with some time to write. But when you go through a loss – a miscarriage in my case – you crave and detest alone time. You don’t want to talk about it, but then you do. You don’t want to feel it, but you have to verbalize it all to move past it. I know all too well this process, yet it doesn’t get easier with experience. Time doesn’t heal, but it does numb the pain a bit.
I can still remember the awful feelings I went through when we lost our baby way back in April of 2006. I remember losing it one night when I was left alone for several hours and literally ripping the head off a teddy bear we had bought for the baby for whom my body became a tomb. That loss – above all others I’ve experienced – was the hardest. You see, that little baby’s heart was beating away just one day before my body failed him. I was at the door of thirteen weeks – we were supposed to be safe. I was so filled with rage and anger. For months, and sometimes even now, there was nothing that soothed the raw pain that loss left me with. It changed me permanently.
While my other losses have been no less significant, they have at least not been so physically traumatizing. I’m older this time, eight years of distance has brought me more losses, two healthy children, and a bit of a better handle on my emotions. I still feel sad, hurt, shocked, angry, and bitter. Those are all normal reactions to the loss of a child at any stage. I still get tired of people asking how I am, yet appreciating it at the same time. I still hold most of my emotions in, with little outbursts when I feel as though I can’t hold it in anymore. I cry in corners, behind closet doors as I prepare my children’s outfits for the day. I won’t dare take down the list of baby names we were working on. I’ll leave the positive pregnancy test on my sewing desk where they’ve sat the last couple of weeks. Though most would feel it’s a reminder I shouldn’t be taunted by, it’s comforting to me. Those things will be put away when I am ready, but not until.
Miscarriage and stillbirth are so often swept under a rug and I don’t agree with that. I’m not going to apologize if my grief or open talk of my lost children makes you uncomfortable. I am not sorry for acknowledging their existence and the pain that their loss has brought. I want you to celebrate their little souls just as I do. When I plant flowers this fall and spring, I’ll nourish the flowers and delight in growth because that life brings me hope. The breeze, the raindrops, sand between my toes… All these little pieces of nature are little tiny fingertips upon the earth that I see my lost babies in.
I often watch the light dancing in my two little boys’ eyes. Oh that light!! I cannot tell you how much it calms and replenishes the broken pieces of my heart. I see so much in that light. I know what a big, huge role their lost siblings played in bringing them into my arms safely. They have been blessed with such health and happy spirits. They bring so much laughter and love to all those who know them. It is no coincidence that these two little beings are embodiments of pure happiness. While they carry their own energetic spirits, they carry their siblings too. So much life in such little bodies – it is a blessing to witness.
I have no idea what the future holds for myself or my family. We may remain as four, I might not find the courage to face pregnancy again. Even if I do, I know I am not guaranteed another child. We may have another child brought into our lives by other means, the future isn’t entirely our’s to write. What I do know is that I am allowing myself to feel all that life has given me. I am not forgetting my lost babies anymore than I’ll ever forget my living babies. I will celebrate the souls brought into my life, even if it was ever so briefly.
Even if you never experience a loss yourself (and I pray you don’t), don’t judge those who do. Don’t tell us it happens for a reason – it isn’t comforting. Don’t tell us it’s time we move on and let it all be. Just listen to what we do and don’t say. Don’t comment on our bloodshot eyes and sallow faces. We already know how much our makeup isn’t hiding. Just love us, even when we’re bitter and mean. Hug us even when our shoulders are stiff and our bodies cold and unmoved. Make us laugh. We don’t want pity, we have enough of that on our own. Treat us like a normal person, don’t try to shield us from all things baby or pregnancy. Sometimes, we need a little hope and we’ll find it in the oddest of places.
Just accept that our babies brought us joy and that their loss brought us pain… We’ll pull ourselves out of our pity and pain in our own time. Until then, we just need support to grieve in our own way.