It’s been a full month. The flowers have all died, the mailbox is filled with bills, not cards, and my phone is pretty quiet beyond a few friends who haven’t given up on checking in on me. To be honest, most days it feels like it never happened – then there are those days where it feels like it is still happening. It makes no sense, now does it?
The other day I booked a last minute massage. I was laying on the table, eyes shut tight, trying to relax, quieting my mind and focusing on my breath. My hand snuck from my side and rested comfortably on my belly and as I willed myself to stop thinking, I just couldn’t. My mind went to the calendar and I started counting backwards: 1, 2, 3, 4… it was exactly four weeks since I laid in that hospital bed and woke up with an empty womb. The flashbacks started as my massage continued. I remembered telling the nurses (what felt like a thousand times) my name, birthdate, and that I was there for a D+C. My hand stayed on my belly and I remembered the way my doctor held it as I was put under, knowing I would wake up empty and it would be over. The grief washed over me like a wave and my eyes stayed shut.
Four whole weeks since the little life was taken from that belly. I have tried to halt the miscarriage posts because I want to be conscious that even in my grief, I can be unearthing the pain people have tried hard to suppress. While most days are good and I feel like myself again, other days it feels like the world should stop turning… but it doesn’t. The waves of grief comes at unexpected times: some that I can just swim on through, others that drag me under. I found myself crying in the coffee shop on Monday afternoon, for no good reason and it reminded me that I have to continue to let the waves strike and let myself flow with them. Work goes on, life goes on, social media keeps coming and while it could be easy to stay in bed and let the world turn without my presence, I have never been a non-active participant in life. I’ve learned: just show up.
Miscarriage is a tricky subject, one not talked about often, but the more I put it out there, the easier it is to share. Letting the walls come down and extending my table to anyone who wanted to join was a way of me not letting myself forget. One thing I never want to forget is exactly how it felt when that was my world, when I was going through it, because it’s easy to say, “I’ve had a miscarriage, too” and in those moments I needed someone to say, “I’ve walked where you are walking and it’s messy, scary, empty, and you feel so alone. You will never be the same but you will make it through this and you were created by a Creator who makes no mistakes, even if right now you are questioning that.”
On Saturday I shot my first wedding. I watched my bride’s sweet mom beam with joy as her daughter walked down the aisle and I nearly sobbed as my groom’s mother clung to him with tears in her eyes as she swayed on the dance floor with him. In that moment I thought of my sweet baby and how I would never get to dance with that child on their wedding day. The tears flowed and I was pulled under. The hard thing about grief is that it doesn’t have a timeline, there is no day where it will be “over.” While I truthfully can say that I am at peace, there are still times where I hold my belly and wonder why my body betrayed me, what I did wrong. I folded up my maternity leggings and stored them way back in the closet, hid the baby shoes we had purchased, deleted the Pinterest boards and removed my parenting books from my kindle. The pregnancy apps were removed after they kept telling me how big my baby was… I wanted to scream, “Don’t you know? I don’t have a baby anymore.” Each little thing serving as a reminder of the emptiness that has taken over.
While we have no immediate plans to “try again” as they say and we aren’t sure how things will pan out, we are thankful to have people still thinking of us. While the answer to the question, “how are you really doing?” varies hour by hour, we have learned to both lean on one another and rely on a God who is the only one in control of this story. To live fully, we must experience loss. Each and every time loss washes over me, I am reminded to live a little louder, love a little harder, and to be intentional with the ways I am spending each minute. This world is not our home but while we are here, our focus should truly be on offering more grace and kindness. It has reminded me to never judge, because we don’t know what storms people are walking through and how to be a better friend, even after the novelty of loss happens. Wherever you are in your journey with grief, just know that on those days where the waves pull you under, there might be someone with a life raft patiently waiting for you to come up for air.