I’ve been meaning to write this. I’ve also been avoiding writing this.
If I don’t right now, I’m afraid I might keep having bad days. It’s not a plea for pity, or an attempt at uncovering any wisdom. It’s just something that happened that I need to get off my chest.
I consider myself a very open person - I tell people what’s on my mind, what’s going on in my life, and I’m not afraid of sharing details, however intimate or embarrassing. I consider the Breathe community like family to me. The studio is a very important part of my life and I typically don’t hesitate to share what’s going on for me. This, however, I’ve been holding close because I don’t want to trigger anybody and I also don’t want to be pushed into talking about it when I don’t want to. But it’s simply getting too heavy and affecting my mental health and I know many many people have been where I am.
It starts on October 8th when I took a positive pregnancy test. Travis and I had been trying for over a year and after many negatives, it was surreal, almost unbelievable to see two lines on the little stick. I had to text a picture to my sister to confirm what my eyes were seeing. All that came with the next few days was not what I expected. I was intellectually excited because I knew it’s what we wanted but emotionally, I was confused, even a bit disappointed that it didn’t feel like it looks in the movies to get this good news. After it settled in, I embraced it beautifully as I made all the necessary adjustments to my diet and lifestyle. I began thinking about every little thing I put in and on my body in a way that I never had. I assessed carefully what to read, who to listen to, how to say ‘no, thank you’ to unwanted advice, and how to not let myself become fearful of what could be unsafe for me and the baby. So it goes, we began discussing names, I spent days preparing healthy food and evenings crocheting baby a blanket. One by one, I told my closest friends and family and took great joy in their positive responses. I was learning things about myself that I didn’t expect. I was learning about that feeling of putting someone else first that parents talk about - I began to understand that my relationship with stress and sacrifice was already changing dramatically. I would much more easily eliminate anything petty and unnecessary, and I took much more joy in the ‘have to’s’ of life...
You may have already guessed what happens next. Five weeks after the news was received and Travis and I were preparing to make a bigger announcement, I lost the pregnancy. This was three weeks ago now and I was nine weeks along in the pregnancy. Without going into the details, just know that it is a very physically painful experience - even traumatizing. Emotionally, it’s been a very complicated, confusing, and surprising roller coaster. Add to that post pregnancy hormones that make the healing process even more pronounced.
The first week after the miscarriage was an intense day to day process. I thought the physical symptoms subsiding would be enough to feel ready to return to work but the compiling emotions determined otherwise. I worried daily that I was letting people down but also felt ever grateful to have unquestioned understanding from clients and instructors who swooped in and did everything they could to pick up my slack at the studio. At home, I was completely out of commission. I had no motivation to do even the simplest things and mostly just layed on my couch trying not to feel worthless. Every day seemed to present new questions and feelings that were completely new to me and I’m still very much sorting through. While I maintained a very level head about the mystery of why these things happen, I realized my tendency to intellectualize my feelings and not really process through them. I usually jump right back into things, avoid discussing it or letting anyone see me cry, and appear well-adjusted and together. This loss wasn’t going to let me get away with that. I couldn’t face people because I couldn’t put it aside long enough to be present. I knew I had to be vulnerable with my husband because he went through it too. We had to discuss how it felt, how we were affected by it, and what we wanted to do next. I don’t know if it was the hormones of pregnancy or if a switch just went off, but there was and is a tenderness in my heart that I used to keep very hidden but can’t or won’t anymore. I hope this doesn’t change.
The second week was very touch and go. I thought taking one week to process and grieve should have been plenty so like I do, I tried to play catch up and I hit the gas pedal. This wasn’t going to be okay. I was feeling a deep sense of meaninglessness. The sacrifice and excitement that comes with being pregnant, the ability to be emotionally moved so easily, the dreaming, planning, and self care all gave my life a purpose that I had never known before. Now that was gone. And while I believed I had purpose before I was pregnant, the dark void of this loss was enough to question whether anything I do really even matters.
The third week, I was able to get back to a regular routine at home and work. I was not so mentally preoccupied with what had happened, and I could talk about it without becoming consumed. But on days like today, I still wonder ‘what’s the point?’ I’m heavy in thought about how hard and empty the rest of my life would be if there’s never a child. I feel deeply for people who lose their children and have much more difficult situations to manage through than mine. I wonder if I will continue feeling this way until there is another pregnancy, how cautious I will be when/if I become pregnant again, and how to not be worried about everything that can go wrong.
I had experienced plenty of loss in my life before this but there was something more personal about this. It didn’t happen to someone else, it happened to me. When someone dies, it is their death, not mine. I can miss them, wish for their presence, feel a great sense of loss, but my life gets to go on. This really felt like a little part of me died and I’m not sure what to do with that yet...
Moving forward, I want to be soft and open in my relationships, especially with my husband. I love my husband more than I have ever known I could love anyone and I want to show him every day. I want to feel that all women are allies always and we will have each others backs through difficult times. I want to feel I can be reserved and private when I need and share when I am ready. I want to look deeper, sit quieter, and follow through on finding that place inside myself that is truly content in acceptance no matter what - it’s not enough to think it or say it - I want to really know it. I want to treat myself as well as if I were sacrificing my body for a baby all the time. I want to develop the discipline to sit down and do the dirty work that needs to be done in life no matter how tempting it is to avoid. So here we are.