I’ve been up all night deleting my lists of baby names, deleting my secret baby registry, unfollowing the Twins groups I joined on Facebook, throwing away the books and the ultrasound photos that I’d been proudly displaying on our fridge. I’ve been up all night unbecoming a mother. I had a glass of wine and sushi and it wasn’t as good as I needed it to be. Women don’t talk about miscarriage, even though it happens to a lot of us. A LOT.
Colleagues will ask it, parents will ask it, students will ask it. Some will ask it because it’s the thing to do, some to fill dead air, some because they saw my (not to brag or anything) AMAZING vacation photos on social media, and some because they genuinely want to know. “How was your summer?”
You want to know how my summer really was? It was awful. I was an emotional, hormonal mess who was pregnant, but won’t be having a baby anytime soon. I had two miscarriages, my second and third.
My pregnancy was real. Really brief. Really scary. Really exciting. Really surprising. Really sad. Really hopeful. Really exhausting.
There were three emotional weeks between the moment I saw two lines on a pregnancy test in my bathroom at 4am and the moment an ultrasound confirmed we’d lost it. This wasn’t our first pregnancy, but it was our first since knowing the pain of losing one. We were scared and sad from the start that we might lose it, yet we were hopeful this might finally be our time…
I feel as vulnerable writing this as I did sitting in a hospital gown at four in the morning discussing the contents (or lack thereof) of my uterus with an ER doc. But that served its purpose, as I hope this will, too. I know there are people whom I know and care about who disagree with me fundamentally on this topic. I am only sharing my journey — may we each have our own. My sympathies if yours is similar…
With the help of some recent high profile announcements we’re starting to get better at talking about miscarriage, but when you clock three in a row no one really knows what to say. I’ve got one healthy child, three consecutive miscarriages, and now a fifth pregnancy that has stuck around to the 20 week mark, and is still hanging in there. In the past two years I’ve been pregnant for a total of 11 months.
My partner and I just can not keep a secret. The excitement for new things is just too much to hold in and inevitably leads to early Christmas gifts and disclosing information possibly too prematurely. We have never waited to tell our friends and family we are expecting. Our children know within days of a positive pregnancy test and share in our excitement and wonderment the entire pregnancy. It was no different when we found out that we were expecting our fifth child on my birthday in 2011. Our family celebrated welcoming a brother or sister while I blew out my candles.
I recently found out that I am pregnant. I had a very successful first pregnancy which resulted in a gorgeous daughter, and a second pregnancy, which I found out was not viable at six weeks. I am dying to tell everyone about this third pregnancy, but I also don’t want to be embarrassed if it turns out to be another chemical pregnancy, and have to explain myself… again.
Imaginary woman, you are part of a long line of women who have been through this. You are not alone. I hope you have friends who will talk to you about even the ickiest parts. But even if you don’t, or even if they’re all asleep right now, you’re not alone.