When I had my second miscarriage, I was, in many ways, “prepared” for what recovering from my loss would look like. I knew I’d be crying (so much crying), I knew that I would need a lot of time and space to grieve, and I knew that I’d probably be super unproductive and miss my usual workouts at the gym.
I was okay with all of that, because I also knew that I needed to do what I needed to do to heal. Those of you who have had multiple losses may know what I mean when I say that I was almost proud of myself for healing through a second loss. It didn’t break me and I was able to find a way to live with two empty holes in my heart. But just when I thought that I was doing “fine,” I was faced with some of the most difficult “firsts” after miscarriage:
The first pregnancy announcements.
I have to admit to you, just between us mamas who’ve experienced losses, that I was completely taken by surprise by how freaking hard those first pregnancy announcements were after my second miscarriage. I mean, I had done this before, right? I should have been prepared!
But I wasn’t. I totally wasn’t.
The first pregnancy announcement I heard happened to have a due date that was within days of what my due date would’ve been, and it took me down for the weekend. I couldn’t stop crying and my husband, bless his soul, was at a loss. He let me cry, held me when I wanted to be held, and let me grieve for my baby we’d lost.
The second announcement came from someone close to me, someone who’s had her own loss too, someone I love dearly. I am thrilled for her! But the pain, unfortunately, is still very much there for me. And with that particular announcement, I was so furious with myself for feeling even an inkling of sorrow that I buried my own emotions away. You are fine, I told myself. You’re happy for her. Don’t be so selfish that you take anything away from her.
But burying my emotions didn’t erase them. Funny how that works, isn’t it? We can’t pretend our emotions away, and when I tried to, all I did was cause my pain to seep out in other ways in my life. For an entire week, I was short and irritable with my family, I was unproductive at work and just downright miserable. It took me the full seven days of sitting in my own dark energy before I finally connected the dots and realized why I was so unhappy — and it was because I hadn’t allowed myself to face the emotions that the pregnancy announcements brought up.
It’s not pretty and it’s not ideal, but pregnancy announcements, no matter how happy I am for or how much I love the expecting mamas, are just not easy for me right now. That doesn’t make me a bad person and that doesn’t mean I need to avoid those people forever.
What it does mean is that in order to heal my own heart and be mentally healthy, I need to be very honest with myself. I need to admit when it’s more than I can handle, I need to protect myself at times and I need to give myself a little extra grace time when those announcements come my way.
Miscarriage has taught me a lot of things, but one of the lessons I am learning over and over again is that there is no such thing as being “fine” afterwards, and there will continue to be hard days. Knowing when I need time to not be okay has been key for me as I learn to navigate life after miscarriage. If you’re feeling the same way, just know that you are not alone. Miscarriage brings up difficult emotions, and facing other womens’ pregnancy announcements, no matter how genuinely happy you are for them, might mean you need to take a little time for yourself. There’s nothing wrong or selfish about that; instead, it’s about honoring the incredible love for that little baby that led you here.
And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.