A Grief Reserved

*Written in 2014*

For weeks, I have sought to articulate what is particularly hard about grieving after a miscarriage. I began reading “A Grief Observed” by C.S Lewis today and, for the sake of those near me in the coffee shop, I only read a few pages at a time.

The hardest thing about my pain has been my reservation to share it.

My life is an open book, and I chose to write some about my grief a week or so after our loss. I shared my fears and my faith as I acknowledged my time of grieving. But now I struggle through the reality that to others, who do not know the pain personally, a miscarriage sounds like a sad event (singular).

When you lose a loved one, others who knew them grieve with you. They miss the person with you. Those closest will feel the loss more, but memories are shared with many when you find yourself in a place where the lost loved one used to reside. You get to a point, as slow as it may be, where the memories bring a smile and you can tell stories about them again without crying.

I know it has only been a few months, but I feel paralyzed in a state of pure sadness. Moving to the acceptance stage has been so hard because I can’t talk about any of the memories I have. I can’t talk about being on vacation with friends and waking Bryan up, wide-eyed from seeing “Pregnant” on a little white stick. I can’t tell about how funny it was to whisper questions like, “is this really real?!?” when we felt like screaming.  I can’t talk about the day I got back to work and started throwing up 4 times a day. I can’t talk about going to the doctor and confirming what was slowly sinking in: I was a mom! Or the joy I felt the first time we saw our baby on the screen, followed by the secret question of, “So what am I supposed to be looking at?”

Instead I have to reserve my grief.

No one wants to hear, “back when I was pregnant,” when you don’t have a child to show for it.

It’s too hard and too awkward. No one is really willing to enjoy your fond memories with you, because they don’t know what to say- to them all your pregnancy represented was a sad event. I keep passing these dates that serve as monuments of memories and I have no idea how to look at them without breaking down.

There is this cloud of “normal” that follows me around bringing to mind all of the things that would be different if I were having a baby in April. My grief isn’t isolated to a place or an activity that he used to go to, or do with me. It is in every cup of coffee I drink. It is in the clothes that still fit me, the glass of wine at dinner, the plans for our house, and my social agenda. Everything that stayed the same is a loud reminder of what could have been.

There is no certainty, and the attempt to assure me everything will be fine and I will “surely be a mom,” doesn’t sink in. My miscarriage was more than just a sad event in my life. It was a loss- a loss of someone, not something. That someone would have, and did for a short time, affect my entire day. We talked together and dreamed together. I made plans with him. I made sacrifices for him. I loved him. And he is gone.

I don’t and can’t expect anyone to miss him like I do. It makes me sad that no one else got to know him like I did. But what is worse? I can’t even tell people about him. I know that every woman deals with miscarriage different, so I don’t think there is a “right” thing to say. But having gone through this experience I will from now on respond like this:

 

“I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could have met your child. Your child will be missed in this world, for I am sure with a mother like you, he or she would have been a joy to be around. I know you must be so sad, and I am sad with you. If you ever want to talk about your child to me I will always be willing to listen. If you need to get out of the house, you are welcome in our home for dinner tonight- we can cry together or just sit and talk. Please let me walk through this with you.”

 

***I now have two rainbow baby girls, yet the pain of this loss still hits me. I feel weird every time someone asks how many kids I have. I feel hesitation when I refer to my oldest daughter as my "firstborn". For those of you missing babies lost, I am missing with you.***