The life that could have been…

October is almost over, but I didn’t want to end the month without acknowledging that this month is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Over the last 8 months or so I have been encouraged and inspired by the countless stories of loss that I have read or listened to. So much so that I have finally decided to share my own story.

Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarrige in their lifetime?

I am 1 in 4.

Almost immediately after we started trying to conceive at the beginning of the year we ended up pregnant. The first pregnancy test I took revealed a very faint positive. The next day, it was a little more clear. Two days later, the third test was negative.

That morning, I immediately called my doctor and was able to have blood work done to confirm the pregnancy. The results came back that afternoon and the doctor confirmed that my hCG levels were extremely low. I had to face the inevitable. I would miscarry.

That night I had the most terrible night sweats. I woke up soaked from head to toe. When I went to the bathroom, it happened…I started bleeding. I was instantly flooded with a surge of emotion and broke down, with my two year old standing right in front of me. After a few moments, I was able to collect myself, but I remember feeling so numb and empty inside.

I was only about 5 weeks pregnant, but for those few days that I knew about my baby, I became emotional attached and had already began to feel changes in my body. I started imaging what life would be like as a family of four. I had estimated my due date. I thought about taking pictures on the beach with a pregnant belly during our upcoming summer vacation. I thought about my son being a big brother.

At times, it was hard to process my emotions so I often turned to writing. Here’s something I wrote about a week after the loss.

“I feel like my world has stopped. You want the world to stop with you. But it doesn’t. Everything keeps moving as if nothing happened, but something did happen. I experienced a loss and it’s been a struggle to even process everything that I’m feeling. It comes in waves. I feel like I’m carrying this big secret around. I feel like I’m suffering in silence. But talking about it makes me even more emotional. And if people knew, how would they respond to me? I don’t want pity. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me. I guess if anything I just want understanding. Or at least for you to know that this happened. And I’m trying to work through it.”

The one thing I struggled with the most was minimizing my loss since it did happen so early. I kept telling myself that it should be easier to move on because there are other women and families who have experienced loss much further along in their pregnancies. I expressed those thoughts to a friend and this was her response to me…

“Grief is grief. A loss is a loss. Pain is pain. There is no such thing as a bigger loss. A bigger miscarriage or more devastating one. You have as much right to grieve and feel pain and cry and get mad or whatever as anyone else.”

Those words were exactly what I needed. They meant so much to me in that moment. And still do. She gave me permission to grieve the life that could have been and to take as much time as I needed.

I’m forever grateful for the countless women who have shared their stories of loss. It was those stories that carried me through some of my toughest days. Those stories helped me to realize that I am not alone. I hope more women continue to share their stories so that others like me know that they are not alone, there is light after the darkness, and hope for the future.


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