A friend of mine lost her unborn baby. She was more than 3 months along & was just starting to show. What do you say … “I’m sorry” feels so hollow. Anything else feels inappropriate. How do I know that? Because I’ve been there.
I lost a baby when I was only 8 1/2 weeks along, and it broke my heart. I had known for a few weeks that I was pregnant, and in that time, The Husband & I dreamt of all the possibilities for our unborn child. I felt it was a girl. No, I knew in my heart of hearts, she was a girl. We thought of all the wonderful ways our lives would change, who she might become, and how much she would be loved … how much she was already loved. How can a bond form so quickly with someone you’ve never even met? That’s what happens when you become a mother. At least for me.
My heart broke when we didn’t hear her heartbeat on the monitor in my doctor’s office. The sick feeling of having your world turn upside down, to have all of your dreams shatter in an instant. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I had to remember to breathe. And no one could help me, not even The Husband. I felt so alone and so empty … and I felt like a failure. What did I do wrong? Why did this happen to me? It didn’t make sense. It wasn’t fair. It still isn’t fair.
Time does heal wounds, but it doesn’t make them disappear. The first few weeks were hell, but I couldn’t indulge in my heartbreak 24 hours a day – I had a baby who was here, alive, who needed me to be strong for him. I couldn’t let him see my sadness. But at night and when I was alone, I would lay in bed and cry. The pain of loss consumed me. The heartbreak was constant & it was all I thought about; all the what-if’s … all the dreams I had had for her that would never be realized.
People tried to be kind, they tried to comfort me with comments like “it wasn’t meant to be” or “at least you have one beautiful child already” … those words left me angry. I knew everyone meant well, but those words did nothing to help lift me out of the pit of despair that I had fallen into. The Husband was shaken to his core – he had never seen me so heartbroken, and there was nothing he could do to help me. I know for men, the feeling of helplessness is one of the most uncomfortable feelings. Watching your wife cry so hard that she vomits must have been pretty scary for him. I didn’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone besides The Husband & The Boy. I just wanted to lay in bed and cry.
And this went on for weeks and weeks … and I got to a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore, it was consuming me. I had to put my heartbreak in a box and close that box and put it somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, because I had to get back to living life … for me, for my family, for my little girl that I never got to hold in my arms. My heartbreak was indulgent. The loss of my pregnancy is something I cannot even think about without crying, it’s still difficult to discuss with people. As I write this blog post, I’m crying. She would have turned one year old this past week. In a different life, we’d be celebrating her 1st birthday & watching her take her first steps.
To know that a friend of mine is experiencing the unbearable heartbreak of losing her unborn baby just opens that box back up & it feels like my miscarriage happened yesterday, and suddenly I’m reliving that heartbreak all over agin. It doesn’t matter how long you were pregnant for: 9 weeks or 9 months. A loss is painful. The only advice I have is: be kind to yourself. Grieve, cry, yell, be mad, be sad, and then put all of that pain in a box and put it away. Then breathe & know that each day will be a little better than the day before.