The first time I found out I was pregnant was September 10, 2011. I was on a business trip to Toronto for work and I bought a charming digital French pregnancy test that pronounced me both pregnant and “enceinte.” My husband and I were simultaneously excited and terrified. We told our parents and our siblings but nobody else.
I worried. I felt pretty much fine, a little more tired than usual. Weeks passed until finally I was 10 weeks and change, and the midwives I saw said they’d be able to hear the heartbeat on the Doppler.
They tried. They couldn’t. They sent me downstairs for an ultrasound with a cold, unsympathetic technician who refused to tell me anything that was going on. I became increasingly more panicked because hello, there was no kicking, squirming, heart-beating little jellybean on the screen. Everything was still.
I went back upstairs and they told me the baby was gone. Or, more accurately — that there never really was a baby. I had what was called a blighted ovum — my body basically grew an empty sac.
I grieved. I took the week off work and waited for the inevitable to happen. On Halloween night, it did. And it was horrific. I landed in the ER, admitted to the hospital and had to have a D&C. Needless to say, it was pretty terrible.
I am four years removed from that experience now. I have two wonderful children. It still stings. And when I try to put my finger on the why, it’s because I was not allowed to grieve.
Look, when a family member or a friend dies — the community rallies around you. People bring you casseroles, and flowers, and treat you gently for awhile. Expectations are lowered. You are loved on and comforted.
But when you have a miscarriage, in hushed tones, people remark, “well, good thing nobody knew about it, so you don’t have to un-tell people!” and expect you to jump back into life, pretending everything is fine. I went back to work shortly after that traumatic experience and told concerned co-workers I’d had to have “a procedure.” Most people had no idea what I was going through. And that right there was what made having a miscarriage so hard.
So here I am, shouting from the rooftops: I had a miscarriage. It wasn’t my fault, and it’s not your fault, either. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and you deserve peace and to be treated kindly.
Break the silence. You are not alone.
On this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, we acknowledge the grief, often silent, that so many of us mamas have lived through. As mothers, we want to help memorialize these precious children that, though their time was short, still touched our lives and forever changed our hearts. We invite you to add your baby’s name to our “Forever Loved” remembrance wall as a reminder that his or her life mattered and that you are supported in your grief by a community of moms who understand.