I've been thinking for a while about whether or not to share this. My fear is that it will seem dramatic, and that is actually kind of the opposite of what I want to communicate, so please bear with me, and hopefully I can get there.
I had a miscarriage last September. I was 10 weeks pregnant, which means I was due to have a baby right about now.
We had not planned to get pregnant so soon after having Afton (who was still nursing at the time) so it came as quite a surprise. We were overwhelmed but happy and just starting to think through the logistics of having two under two. Then one night, I woke up in the middle of the night with a cramping feeling. I thought "pregnancy is weird" before rolling over and going back to sleep. But I woke up again a couple of hours later and realized I was bleeding, which I knew was not good. I woke Alex, who called the doctor, who said I needed to come to the ER, so I did. We were pretty sure of what was happening (or really, had already happened), but it was a long and fairly stressful night in the hospital getting it all officially figured out. It felt weird to suddenly not be pregnant anymore, but I had just begun to wrap my mind around the pregnancy in the first place, so I didn't feel a tremendous sense of loss. Miscarriage was an unfortunate event, but it was not traumatic for me the way it sometimes is for others.
There are a lot of reasons for that, none of which have much to do with me. Compared to most others I've heard about, my miscarriage was early, and fast, and not that physically painful. Also, I had already told my local inner circle that I was pregnant, so having to tell them I wasn't anymore meant that I got their support. They cooked me dinner and brought me flowers and expressed their sympathy, and I felt so, so loved. Our families, though far away, showered us with love, too (as always.)
But I think the most important thing that protected me from experiencing miscarriage as traumatic was the tribe of women who have gone through this before me. I've had multiple friends talk very openly about their miscarriages over the last several years, so it has always been on my radar. I've always had sort of a list in my head of who this has happened to, so it has always seemed like a normal thing to me. Unfortunate of course, but still normal.
So that's why I decided to share this. Because maybe you don't have that list in your head that reminds you that miscarriage is a normal thing that happens to normal people all the time. Put me on your list, just in case you need it.
After it happened, I read a lot of blogs about miscarriage, and most of them were about the grief, the loss, the overwhelming sadness. I am so glad that it's become more common for people to talk about that. I am so glad people are validating the intense pain that a lot of people have when they experience this particular kind of loss. If you experience serious grief, that is normal, and there is nothing wrong with you. That's what all the blog posts say, and they're right.
But what they don't say is that if you DON'T feel overwhelmingly sad and you DON'T feel a strong sense of loss, and you come home from the hospital, finish up a blog post (of a maternity session, no less), and go to work the next morning, that is also normal and ok, and nothing is wrong with you either.
We are all different, and we all have different ways of coping. One of mine was that I watched those flowers my friends brought as they wilted, died, and shriveled up. I thought about death when I saw them, but I also thought they were beautiful. I photographed them, one by one, before letting them go and getting on with my wonderfully blessed life.