I’m so confused; I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through; somehow I ended up here.
I don’t wanna think, I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of Your plan.
When I try to pray all I’ve got is hurt, and these four words –
Thy will be done.
Thy will be done.
Thy will be done.
I played this Hillary Scott song a thousand times over. The words rang true every time and depicted my puzzled emotions perfectly. As I missed my unborn child more with every breath, I tried to convince myself that it just wasn’t meant to be.
But a contradictory thought also mocked me – if it wasn’t meant to be then why did I conceive this baby in the first place? Why was I blessed with something, only for it to be taken away?
God, the universe, some higher intelligence, karma…whatever you believe in is questioned with the loss of a child. I felt torn between my science driven intellect and my spirituality. I knew this pregnancy loss had nothing to do with me, my actions, or lack thereof. But I couldn’t help but feel as though I was being punished. I felt guilty for not being able to protect my child.
Things got worse–much worse–before they got better. It took me months to get to a better place, but eventually I did. And then for a while it felt like things were going to work out after all. I continued to experience some ups and downs but was able to bounce back a bit faster each time.
When we finally conceived again, my joy and excitement was indescribable! I let those emotions reign supreme, hushing my doubts and fears of history repeating itself. That wasn’t easy but most days I was good at it. With each reassuring doctor’s visit, encouraging lab results, and ultrasounds showing a strong heartbeat, enthusiasm grew and fear dissipated.
To this day I relish the flawless image of my baby on the ultrasound screen. It was my 10-week appointment and the beautiful baby on the screen had me mesmerized! I could see the early formation of it’s arms and legs, the body, and the face. That face…oh my, was it magnetizing!
My heart swelled with happiness and anticipation. That was the last time it did, because a mere 2 weeks later, at the 12-week scan, there was no heartbeat.
This time I stared at the screen, trying to memorize every line, every curve, of that sweet face, knowing I will never get to see it again. I fought back my tears just so they wouldn’t blur my vision. Every piece of me that I had struggled to put back together got shattered with each tear that crashed against the cold, hard floor.
If one miscarriage is a huge blow to your very core, two will definitely knock you over. “Things were going so well…what are the odds!” I thought to myself. Waves of pain, anger, and sadness came gushing back…fierce, strong, and overbearing. But if there is anything in life that’s true, it’s this – nothing teaches life lessons like an experience does.
I had learned a lot after the first miscarriage – which coping mechanisms worked, what ignited more pain, what to do more of, what to do less of, and most importantly, who I was. If I could overcome this challenge once and emerge stronger on the other side, I sure as heck could do it again. Because giving up was not an option. I had come close to that before and knew how much darker reality would be if I did. I was wiser, stronger, more resilient than before.
This time, instead of isolating myself, I identified what would keep me going and spent more time doing that. I used my bereavement time and let reality sink in as opposed to burying myself in work right away, which was a big mistake the first time. I went to two interviews in the midst of my bereavement time for a promotion I was striving for, another on my first day back to work, and landed the job. It served as a reminder that while some things were not going per plan, I could still seize other opportunities.
I went on a preplanned vacation to San Diego a week after the loss. It would have been a lot more fun under different circumstances, but I figured a change of pace might be beneficial for us. We continued with our plans to move. We sold our house and moved into a new one 3 months after the miscarriage. I handled all the intricacies of buying, selling, and moving like a champ.
Why do I share all this? To impress you? No. Rather to impress upon you that quicker recovery and true healing is possible. While I mourned my baby from the depths of my heart, I applied my lessons and grew further more. I learned that grief over what was could coexist with joy of what is becoming.
A warrior’s mindset, effective coping tools, and sharper interpersonal skills are my legacies from these tough life experiences. And if you take a few moments to dig deeper, you will realize that your profound loss also left behind much for you to gain.