Where To Start After A Miscarriage
I lost the baby.
Actually, in the last three months I have had two miscarriages. A miscarriage isn’t just an event that happens and you move on. Physically, it is messy, gross, painful and the whole process can take a few weeks. Emotionally, it is devastating and raw. And I’m not sure that I will ever get over either of these losses. I simply do not have the coping skills.
I thought that maybe if I wrote about it, I would have the courage to find a way to put one foot in front of the other.
You see, the problem with miscarriage for me is that I have always valued myself based on my body. When I was younger, my self-worth was wrapped up in how my body looked. If the scale told me a story I didn’t want to hear, it could change my entire day. And there is no shame in wanting to look good. Darwin himself said that we (mammals) want to look good so that we can attract mates and reproduce. It is natural. As I got older and discovered lifting, I switched my focus from what my body looked like to what it could do. The problem here was that my self-worth was still wrapped up in how I felt about my body.
As my body cramps and purges, all I can think is:
Why is this happening?
What is wrong with my body that it cannot sustain a life?
Why is my body failing me?
With all my self-worth wrapped up in the abilities of my body, I feel like I am left with no reserves. I’m sinking in a pit of shame.
The day that I started to miscarry was probably one of my favorite days in the history of days. I had just had a meeting that made me feel more encouraged and hopeful about my career than I have felt in a long time. My mom, husband and I had taken our son out on a hike, on a beautiful, sunny day in February. We even found a little spur trail that climbed up to a winery where we sat and ate BBQ, listened to live music and watched Dedrick make friends with the other children there. The love and happiness I felt around me that day was so thick. I was outside, with the people I love the most, with a hopeful new professional direction in my back pocket, with good food, good music, getting sunburnt in February! And … I was having a child with the love of my life.
By dinner that night I had started spotting.
How could my body betray me like that? Just as I could feel all the pieces of my life clicking into place … just as I was on the verge of creating the best life possible for this baby, it slips through my fingers. I’m so pissed. I hate my body for doing this to me. And you know what? I’m so tired of being pissed at my body. I rarely treat myself with the love and kindness that I show others.
I am certain that this hate and anger come from a need to control. The fact is, I have absolutely no control over this. I can’t control the way my husband paces nervously around me, wanting to fix everything. I can’t control whether my body keeps this baby or not. I’ve already done all the things that I can do, like eating right, exercising smart, getting lots of rest and doing my best to lower stress.
But none of that matters.
This is happening.
And I can only submit to it.
I need to just let myself go through this. I need to let myself hurt and let myself grieve. I need to give myself grace. In the past when I have had to have an emergency surgery (ectopic pregnancy), and even after my last miscarriage, I returned to work as fast as possible. I thought that forcing myself back into some structure would help me cope. My ego and my responsibility to others threw me back into the grind without allowing myself the time to heal. I simply cannot imagine doing that this time. I cannot imagine stepping foot into the gym, asking clients how their days were. I am simply too empty to have anything to give. So, I am taking some time off … an unspecified amount of time off.
I’m certain that I have lost my mind. I have always worked. My friends will tell you that I always have some project on the horizon, some new idea to implement, some new way to build my business. But right now, all I can seem to do is just sit with this pain.
Maybe it’s OK, this breakdown. This inability to cope in my normal way. My previous way of coping didn’t serve me. My obsession with controlling things only reinforced a break between my mind and my body. And the fact is, there is no break. My mind IS my body. And if I hate my body, I hate myself, and that is just not an option for me in this life.
So, I fake it until I make it.
I wrote a mantra on my bathroom mirror. Every time I go into the bathroom, I stare down that elephant in the room and repeat these words:
I love myself unconditionally, right now.
And maybe this is enough to start to put one foot in front of the other. To forgive myself for this loss. To accept myself as I am, no matter what the future may hold.