If things had gone a little differently, I’d likely be in the middle of preparations for a little one’s second birthday. According to my math, the due date would have August 8th, though it was never confirmed for sure and I’m well aware that there can be weeks between the due date and the actual arrival. I thought I’d convinced myself the date meant nothing. Instead I have been overcome with grief and, instead of it being the normal kind that just makes me feel bad, a nice (un)healthy dose of guilt has come along with it.
I miscarried when I was only about six weeks pregnant. I didn’t want to believe it, even when the ultrasound showed an empty womb, even when they explained that by that point they would normally be able to detect a heartbeat. Although I think I could tell by the way my body felt, I didn’t accept that the pregnancy was over until the blood tests confirmed it. I was devastated but had no one to tell. For the most part, I suffered in silence. We hadn’t even told people we were trying, much less that I was pregnant yet. I was thankful I had told my immediate family. My sister was amazingly supportive and my rock through it all.
I was surprised (and still am to a degree) that it hit me as hard as it did considering it was so early. I know that, had we not been planning on starting a family, that this baby might have never been recognised as anything more than a long cycle. I know the length of the pregnancy does not mean I can’t grieve but it still feels a little odd, especially considering if I’d had that baby, the amazing little wonder I have now would never have existed. I also know that, had the pregnancy continued, I would have missed the opportunity to work with some amazing people and volunteer on a fantastic project that happened a few months later. But these things are examples of the silver lining of a dark cloud, rather than an example of “things happen for a reason.” (Something said to me, but words one NEVER wants to hear just after miscarrying by the way!)
Last year the day was hard for me but I was still in the midst of feeling so low and numb that it wasn’t much different from the rest of my grey days. Now, as I have glimpses of normality again, it has been a real blow to feel so low yet again. I remember so many details of those few weeks that I was aware of the being growing inside me. My heart broke when we moved into a bigger apartment when we no longer needed the extra room. I cried with relief when I saw my little girl dancing around the screen at her 12 week scan.
I do think my grief is legitimate and have let myself feel sad for this baby that, for a short time, was a part of me. I am thankful I didn’t carry it any longer before I had to say goodbye. I cannot imagine how much worse the pain, both physical and emotional, would have been. I am grateful that the little lady asleep in the other room didn’t just survive it all, but that she is thriving.
However, in my heart, my little girl will always have an older sibling that didn’t make it.