I’m Pregnant Today & Won’t Be Tomorrow: Healing From Miscarriage and Loss.
I’m Pregnant Today, But I Won’t Be Tomorrow
Birthdays have always been one of my favorite things to celebrate, and the year I turned 32 was supposed to be the start to an even more exciting chapter in my life. I was nine weeks pregnant and on my birthday, I was being gifted the experience of seeing my second baby and hearing its heart beat. It was my first sonogram.
For over a month, I had been waiting for it to happen. I was already stressed due to a regiment of different medications, hormones and doctors’ appointments that followed blood tests that were not where they were supposed to be. There I was, laying on the table anxiously “meeting my baby” for the first time, this little blob shown on the screen.
“Aren’t you going to play the heartbeat for me? Did you forget!?” I asked the technician. Instead of responding or printing out any pictures, she told me I would be called to meet with the doctor.
I knew it then; I saw it in her face. My stomach churned while I waited.
I was told that from its size, the fetus appeared to have died two weeks before and would need to be removed. There were a series of terrible options to choose from, and in the end, I chose an outpatient surgical procedure called D & C. I cried in the office that day, not knowing what to do or feel. On the phone, I cried to my husband who was working a night shift. I came home and spent the rest of my birthday hiding in the dark.
The day before surgery, a director I was working with caught me off-guard by asking if I was pregnant during our meeting. “I AM TODAY, BUT I WON’T BE TOMORROW,” I wanted to yell at her. I burned with the shock of her insensitive questioning, discomfort, and the mourning I was doing in secret.
The afternoon following my procedure I was restricted to bedrest, and remember not knowing what to do with myself. I watched movies with my husband and kept my mind busy with paperwork. It was a quiet, snowy January afternoon just like any other winter’s day. Things were the same as they’d always been, but they were also very different. I was different and nothing felt right. I’d lost my baby.
I found myself wanting to talk about it, but also not knowing how, and feeling like I needed permission.
My body very much looked and felt pregnant but my mind knew otherwise; a cruel joke and betrayal inside myself. I had to buy clothes to cover up a belly that had gotten bigger. It would take my body about a month to catch up with what had happened to me and the baby inside.
In the days that followed, I found myself lost in grief and loneliness. I remember collapsing on the kitchen floor when my mother asked how I was doing. Tears of sadness and anger pouring out of me as I cried to a point of being unable to breathe.
I learned 1 in every 4 women experience this type of loss. Knowing that it was incredibly common should have made it easier to accept, but it made it worse. It was worse to think that there was a society of women moving through their lives in silent mourning. When I finally felt comfortable, I started to share my story. Almost all the women I spoke with, younger and older, had been a member of this very sad club. In that, I found community.
Here are some things that may help you heal from the loss of a miscarriage:
Allow yourself space to grieve and give yourself time to cry.
Losing a baby is grief, plain and simple. It can even feel violating. Mourn the child, the plans, and the future you saw for them. Remember that you are the person who defines how much time you need to grieve, no one else.
Reach out for support.
This can be incredibly difficult to do, but reach out to other women. Ask for help, and surround yourself in a community that will validate and accept you and your experience. Also, don’t be afraid to seek therapy. Sometimes as much as friends and family want to help, they can’t feel what you’re feeling. A therapist to listen and share ways to cope can make a difference.
Lean on your partner.
They’ve experienced loss too. Share in your grief. Understand they may experience this loss differently than you, and that is okay. You can move forward through your mourning together.
Engage in selfcare.
Do something nice for yourself – eat the ice cream, get your nails done, journal in quiet, take a hot shower, sing your favorite song, color, laugh. Also remember that distractions can be a necessary outlet and can help provide relief.
Give yourself forgiveness.
Utilize self-compassion. There is not always an explanation or a reason this happens. Your loss is not a reflection of your quality of character, a mother or woman. You are a changed woman! You’ve endured one of the worst things someone can, and came out on the other side. As a result, there is a new level of power and strength inside of you.
It took me a lot of time, patience with myself, mourning, and remembering. Fast forward us two years, 10 months, and a Rainbow Baby later – there is a huge piece of me that identifies as a mother of three. I was once, even if it was just for a short time. The outside world sees me as mother of two beautiful girls when they look at my family, but I know that I’m different.
About the Author: Sarah Gugluizza, LCSW
Sarah lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and two daughters. She runs her own clinical private practice where she specializes in treating children and teens, and women experiencing maternal mental health concerns. You can reach Sarah by visiting her website at www.sarahgugluizzalcsw.com and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.