For some reason, I never thought I would have a miscarriage. I never thought my husband and I would lose our baby. Maybe it's that typical thing where you think, "That would never happen to me." What strengthened my conviction that in nine months, we would be welcoming our first happy, healthy child into our arms, was that we really, really wanted this tiny being in our lives; we charted my cycles, ate all the right things, took vitamins, ordered and read books on pregnancy and childbirth, and talked about our baby all the time. So, as naive as it sounds, I was under the impression that, since we wanted it so badly, and were so dedicated to being the best parents we could be from conception on, God would bless us without question. It's a silly concept really; because aren't there thousands of good people going through immense hardships every day, all around the globe? Why I believed us to be immune to this injustice, I can't explain. But in any case, I was in total, complete shock when this happened. And then the shock slipped into grief.
What I want to share with you all now is my humble advice on how to bring comfort to someone who has just had a miscarriage...and to reveal some comments which may seem laden with the best intentions, but which actually tend to add to the pain.
What I heard most often, directly after we lost our Blueberry, was:
"You are going to be an amazing mother one day."
"You're young. You're going to have children one day, don't worry."
"There must have been something wrong with the baby."
"Just be glad it happened early on. I know someone who miscarried at 20 weeks..."
"This happens to sooo many women."
Let me explain something very clearly: The minute that tiny fertilized egg nests into the lining of your uterus, you are a mother, and your husband is a father. For the rest of your lives. Even if you lose this baby, and never have another, you are parents. You created a living being together out of love, and that fact remains, no matter what. And just because there isn't a grave stone under a tree somewhere with your lost baby's name on it, doesn't take away the fact that this was a very sad loss, one which will be with you the rest of your lives.
That little being was absolutely unique. There will never be another living being with the exact same dna code or the exact same soul as this one. And that little being is NOT replaceable.
I was amazed how many well-meaning people jumped to telling me that we'll be pregnant with another baby before we know it. If I had lost my husband, I hope they wouldn't tell me, "Oh, but there are so many fish in the sea, take your pick!" People, pets, and yes, tiny little beings growing inside of you, are irreplaceable. Even if it's true that one day you may be blessed with a healthy child, that child will not replace your first baby. It will be your first born, but not your first baby. And one day, you can tell your children that. That they have a sibling who had to return to Heaven sooner than you had hoped, and who you and their father loved dearly.
Young or old, having a miscarriage will change your attitude towards pregnancy for the rest of your life. You will never again go into a pregnancy with a care-free and absolutely positive feeling. There will always be some fear involved. So even though it's great to think of the prospect that you can still get pregnant in the future, it's something secondary to your worry and grief in the first few days after a miscarriage.
The thought that there may have been something 'wrong' with the baby is not a comforting thought, and really need not be mentioned.
I have a very good friend whose baby died suddenly 12 days after it had been born. She told me, in all honesty, that the pain is the same, and she would never dare to measure the grief on a scale of how long you knew your baby. Losing a baby is absolutely heartbreaking. Please, don't ever tell someone who just had a miscarriage that they should be glad it happened in the first trimester. It's NOT A COMFORT.
Yes, miscarriage happens to alot of women. Some of you have had miscarriages, and will know what I mean when I say it doesn't matter how many women this happened to, your grief is your own and isn't made more mild because it happens so often. People die every minute of the day, but that fact doesn't make it any less painful when someone you love dies.
All the people who said these things to me are people I love, people I know mean well, people who were desperately looking for a way to comfort me and make me feel better. But I'll tell you, it just made me feel alone and misunderstood.
Here are words which really helped sooth and comfort me, and my husband as well:
"I am so sorry you had to go through this."
"You will always be parents now, no one can take that away from you."
"Your baby experienced love every day of it's life, and was lucky to be with you."
"Your baby's spirit will always be with you."
"Put your baby's picture in a frame, light a candle, put flowers next to it...you have a right to mourn. You have a right to say goodbye."
"This must be so painful. I can't even imagine. Please tell me if I can help you in any way."
"Take your time to grieve. There's no rush. I'm here for you."
"You were amazing parents, even if it was just for that short time."
Those words shone like a light at the end of the tunnel. When I heard things like that, I could breath, I felt understood, I felt loved. Our baby's life, however short, was honored, and the full spectrum of our sadness was taken into account.
I really wanted to share this all with you, even if it is more for my personal therapeutic benefit than anything else.
I also wanted to tell you all, again, that you have surprised and warmed me with your presence. When I began this blog I had no expectations or hopes of making real friends, or being part of a small supportive community. This development is such a wonderful gift, and a true blessing.
So, again, THANK YOU.