(Magnolia- pic not really relevant to post but I just love magnolias! So pretty.)
This past week a friend went through a hard time. Even though I've been through some stuff similar to her experience, there is nothing to say that will make it better. I am still helpless. So sorry, girl.
I'm thankful that I had the week off so we got to hang out for a few hours one afternoon. I feel priviledged that we got to have some good conversation, even in the sadness. We connected on quite a few things, and even though she has appreciated that I am able to be there for her (and I'm so glad), in an odd way, it was actually like she was there for me also, dealing with my stuff too.
Here are things I'm learning after thinking through my own early miscarriages/pregnancy loss (before 12 weeks, because that's what I know about)... I know not everyone goes through the same thing, so I understand if it doesn't ring true with everyone.
1. Usually it is easiest to blame yourself- even I didn't say it, I thought it. Like thinking, I skipped rope before I found out, I ate that weird thing, I was too hot, I had that sip of wine, etc. NO YOU DIDN'T CAUSE IT. (Unless you abuse your body in an obvious way like with drug addiction, reasons for early miscarriage are still not medically clear and they don't know how to prevent it. Don't let others or old wives' tales tell you otherwise.)
2. It is hard to know how to think about the little life that was in you. It is easier to think of it as a vague entity, but it was life. Yet we think it wasn't 'fully' a baby, so how do we acknowledge it? Sometimes it is easier to not think of it as your child, but it was. It was wanted. It was God's creation. (Safe in the Arms of God looks at the biblical basis of this if you want a book on it, by John MacArthur.)
3. It affects your marriage. Wives and husbands deal with it differently and it is not easy to know how to communicate about it. I feel like sometimes it is the whole 'circular effect' of not wanting to hurt the other spouse or see them cry, so we either don't bring it up or try to be brave and bear with it, but we end up avoiding it or miscommunicating somehow... (There's lots of resources on grief and the impact on marriage too.)
4. It surprises you how lost you feel. You didn't realise you could be attached or feel love for something you had not seen, met or, in some cases, felt.
5. Morning sickness may continue after the loss... and this is a difficult physical reminder.
6. There is shock because it all unfolds fairly quickly. You were pregnant, now you are not. What are you going to do with the plans, real or vague ones, that you made?
7. You kinda don't want to make a 'big deal' out of it but it rocks your world. For some just a little, for some a little more. There are now a lot of "What ifs". What if I get pregnant again, what if I miscarry again, what if... It may also bring out other insecurities, like what if all your friends or sisters 'over-take' you and become moms before you, have their second and third children even, etc... that is normal. There are no easy answers to these, just continue to bring them before God.
8. You don't know what to tell people- if you've been away from work, if you've already told some friends about your pregnancy, if you need to tell your mother she isn't going to be a grandma etc.
9. You don't know how others will react and you can be sensitive about comments... we brace ourselves for the comments that may be awkward, or make us feel angry or like it was our fault. Hopefully none come.
10. There are lots of questions for God, and not always sufficient good answers. You try not to think about it too much but you sorta can't help it either.
11. Time will help the intensity to ease. There may always be random things that will always remind you of your pregnancy and the loss, and this is normal so don't feel silly, and it does get easier over time.
12. It makes you so so so thankful for loving friends and family. Some may have been in the same position too and some not, regardless of that, their encouragement and support means so much and you realise how much you need them. If you have kept it all very private, sometimes it does help to share it with a close friend or family member whom you trust.
13. It helps to 'let it out' somewhere. For me, I have a journal where I 'write to God'. Some days I had lots to say to God and some days I didn't- I write sad things, angry things, glad things. Counselling also provided me with good guidance when my grief seemed to be quite overwhelming or when it was affecting me in a way that was more than what close friends and family could help me with. Going for a walk and listening to music or just letting yourself weep was also fairly therapeutic.
I found this book, Free to Grieve, by Maureen Rank, good too. (They had it at the North Shore's Albany Library...)