I sat in that beach chair for what must have been hours. Alone. In front of the fireplace. We had just moved into our new home and the family room stood bare, except for the beach chairs which had been put to good use.
It had been a missed miscarriage.
We had lost the baby at 6.5 weeks but my body had not shown any indications and I had gone on believing for another 5 weeks that I was still pregnant! So, when the doctor gently broke the news that they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, mine nearly stopped for a few seconds — first in disbelief, and then with acceptance…
I didn’t fall apart at the time. My husband and I hugged and then held hands during the drive home. There was quiet conversation, and a tear or two.
I asked him if we could stop at Applebee’s for dessert. We settled over a chocolate molten lava cake while we both processed the news in our own way. We were told there were no complications and that I could conceive again. But how do you begin to be OK after loss?
We all grieve differently. Once home, I wanted to spend some time alone. And so I sat in the beach chair, with my loving and supportive husband checking in on me often.
At some point the tears came, slowly at first and then unabated, and for the rest of the day, Saturday, and all of Sunday I grieved, both alone and together with him…
I was surprised at the statistics for miscarriage. It seemed to happen way more often than I could’ve imagined, and nobody really talks about it, and I felt utterly unprepared to deal with it now. Grappling for a reason, my first question to the doctor had been, “was it possibly something that I did or didn’t do?!”. But she had compassionately absolved me of my guilt.
By Sunday night I had come up for air. I chose to return to work a day later and buried myself in work. Slowly normalcy returned and the sadness faded, or so it seemed.
About 6 weeks later as the clock struck ’12 and cheers of “Happy New Year!” erupted around me, out of nowhere it occurred to me that I would not have a baby to hold in this near year!
Crouching down next to the dresser, I grieved once again… and I remember waking up on January 1st with an emptiness in my stomach and thinking, “so this is what losing someone feels like”. I had never lost anybody until then.
Life goes on… and I went on to have 2 beautiful, healthy children, who continue to bring so much joy to our lives. I was no longer thinking of my loss or feeling the sadness, and so I assumed I had healed completely! Which is why 7 years later my own emotional reaction left me completely perplexed!
At a storytelling workshop in New York, all participants were told to dig deep and think of our angriest, happiest, and saddest experiences as part of a particular exercise. Over the next 20 mins I felt a wave of emotion slowly taking over me.
But how could this possibly be?! I was a happy mother of 2 healthy children, I had grieved already, and I had healed! Why was I getting so emotional about a loss that had occurred 7 long years ago?!
A while later I was able to share my dilemma with the amazing group of individuals gathered in that room. My wise friend Tim Lawrence said something beautifully profound that day. “Some griefs are meant to be carried”, he said.
Looking out the train window on the ride back from New York I allowed myself to wonder — for the very first time ever — if it would have been a boy or a girl?
How much would he/she have resembled my kids now? Since we had only wanted two kids, was it even possible to imagine life without my younger one now? Unimaginable! 🙂
Lost in these thoughts, I was smiling…