Pregnancy Loss – A Reflection
This week on the blog, I’m taking a slight departure from my normal content. I also talk all about this on this week’s episode of The Mindful Mama Birth Podcast. I wanted to take a pause and address something that is such an innate part of the human experience – pregnancy loss. In 2014, my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.
The experience of pregnancy loss changed me. When you lose a baby, your brain works differently. The way I was treated and the impact of this experience is one of the many reasons I feel so passionate about supporting parents in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
Although this was many years ago, I wouldn’t feel right glossing over my experience. So, here is a letter I wrote to myself as a reflection on pregnancy loss and miscarriage. Thank you for taking the time to walk with me and witness my story.
I’m so excited to finally be pregnant.
I looked forward to this moment for so long.
I never thought it would happen.
I’m full of wonder, joy, fascination…
I feel my body suddenly take on a new sense of value and worth that is new to me.
And that day…
I felt a little crampy
Is this normal?
What is this supposed to feel like?
I sat down on the toilet…
Pink-tinged urine saturates my toilet paper.
I feel fear and terror paralyze my mind and body
Is this normal?
My mood immediately shifts from joy and dreamy vibes to fear and terror and disappointment
I knew it was too good to be true
I knew there was something wrong with me
I’m not good enough
What’s wrong with me?
I flash back to all the little things that remind me that I’m just not good enough or worthy enough to be a parent
I’m not responsible enough
I’m not smart enough
…not tough enough
I’m not beautiful enough
I’m not worthy of this
I don’t deserve a baby
I am nothing
Everyone else is better than me
They were right about me all along.
Later I feel some more cramping
A constant reminder of these feelings
I wipe and see brown blood
I call my doctor’s office in terror to see what I can do
Later, I had an ultrasound
The painful probe inside my body felt like knives
Who the hell thought up this torture device?
They remove the ultrasound probe
I feel wetness between my legs
They won’t let me see my baby
They can’t tell me anything
No one knows anything
I go home feeling paralyzed in fear
The fear, disappointment, uncertainty, and terror grip every part of my being
It’s all I can think about
I feel worthless
Once so full of hope, now a piece of garbage
My husband had no idea how to care for me
My family doesn’t talk about these things
I’m supposed to keep it a secret
I’m supposed to make sure other people feel comfortable
I suffer in silence
I keep it to myself
The days go on
Another probe violating my body
Grasping onto one last hope to prove my sense of worth
Holding on to one piece of hope
There is no heartbeat
I sat there and sobbed and sobbed
Alone in the ultrasound room
“Shhhh shhhh be quiet now.” the sonographer tells me
Clearly I was making a scene
She shuffled me out into the next step of their care
Ultrasound to the nurses for routine blood pressure & vitals screening
It was as if no one had any idea what just happened
It was absolutely surreal
I was just told my baby was dead
And yet they needed to take my blood pressure
“Have you ever had high blood pressure before?”
I am sitting there in the blue chair trying to stop hyperventilating to appease the nurse
Who just wants to do her job
I am stuffing it all down and I feel it like a ball of fire in my throat
I meet with my doctor
He suggests a d&c
I agree, wanting this ordeal to be over with as quickly as possible
Can I please move on with my life?
He asks if it’s okay if another doctor does it, he’s too busy.
Too busy to care for me
Too busy to care
I’m not important
I’m not worthy of care
I come in for the D&C
My husband says,
“Do you really need me there?”
“Do you need me to leave work? I don’t understand.”
He doesn’t care.
I’m not important.
I’m not worth his time.
Eventually we check in.
I get hooked up to whatever medications…
Too distressed to ask questions
Just get this baby out of me as quickly and painlessly as possible
My nurse was an absolute angel
She was the first person to ever tell me…
I went through this too
It was the first time I ever experienced connection with another person in this journey
True connection and care
She sees me
She sees my pain
I feel like I’m in her arms
Some comfort for the first time
I melt a little
I’m terrified of being awake during the procedure
…terrified of holding on to the memory of my baby being scraped out of my uterus
I’m terrified of remembering the rough hands in my vagina
I wake up
Suddenly realizing I’m no longer pregnant
But feeling loopy
I’m drinking ginger ale
My pelvis hurts like hell
I feel like my hips are ripped open
It’s all over
I called my family to let them know
“Well, do you really need us to come?”
I’m not worth it
I don’t deserve their care
I knew it all along
They were all right.
“You just need to get over it and move on!”
“You need to suck it up!”
I go to my follow up appointment with my doctor…
“You should probably avoid conceiving again for a long time, you’ll be scared shitless.”
Fast forward to 7 years later
Seven years full of growth, experiences, sage wisdom, pain, and joy…
Oh the things I could tell myself…
You are worthy of love and care.
Your body is a temple
Four strong, glorious, radiant, passionate, and confident births later…
You can do anything.
You can do things that are hard.
Your body is strong and healthy.
Miscariage can be a normal and healthy life cycle
Your body is so smart
That it could recognize when something wasn’t working right
And it ended the pregnancy
It’s a process to be honored
You can allow yourself time to honor
The fear that you feel is really the feeling that your innermost fears and voices are confirmed
The loss confirmed that the voices in your head…
The voices of others…
You received messages for so long that told you that you weren’t cared for…
That you weren’t worthy…
You were made to feel less than others…
People put you down and you believed them
You are worthy of love and care
Even when other people make you feel otherwise
Stop looking into external sources of validation
External sources of care
External sources of love
You are worthy of those
But they are never guaranteed
You can’t make people see you
You can’t control other people’s opinions
But you can see yourself
You can love yourself
And honor yourself
You don’t have to accept other people’s voices as your truth
You’re going to experience so much joy…
And all the little moments of radiance, passion, joy, struggle, grief, and love…
Pregnancy does not define your worth
Other people do not define your worth
The words of others do not define you
I’m sorry that you had to experience this
This was your initiation into parenthood
It’s like a fucking brutal hazing ritual
You are safe now
And there is so much more waiting on the other side
Take time to follow your own inner truth
You didn’t get the ritual you deserved and needed
You didn’t get the care and love you needed
But you can love yourself
You can honor yourself
Because you are worthy.
You are worthy of love.
I am worthy of love.
Want to connect with me? Join my Facebook group called Follow Your Own Compass! Connect with me and other parents who want to follow their own compass in pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.
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