They smiled at us as they walked by, eyeing our shopping carts; mine piled high with food, my husband’s piled high with our three boys.
“This will be you soon!” the gentleman motioned to his cart, over stacked with bulk-sized boxes of food. He and his wife smiled again at our boys, then he joked, “You’ll get there eventually. We have four boys and one girl.”
He meant it in kindness. After all, there was no way he could have known that only hours before I had miscarried our fourth child.
We knew about the baby for only two days. We were surprised, to say the least. But nothing compared to the shock that would follow two days later, when we would lose the pregnancy.
And nothing could prepare me for the sea of emotions that would overtake me in the days that followed.
I almost didn’t write this story. But then one morning following our miscarriage I slipped on a necklace my Aunt gave me for my birthday. On it hangs a small silver pendant with the inscription, “Your Story Matters”. And I knew that I had to write this. Because this story matters, and I believe that there are many other women out there facing this same kind of story, and they need to know that their story matters, too.
They need to know that despite the research stating that some 70% of miscarriages happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, they are anything but normal.
Because there is nothing normal about losing a child.
For those to whom this story belongs, it wasn’t only a few days of hope and anticipation that they lost. It was a childhood. It was years of tucking in, bedtime prayers, and goodnight kisses. If she has other children, she lost a sibling, a best friend, and confidant for her other children. She didn’t lose a hope or a dream. She lost a child.
And she needs to know that it is ok to feel alone and angry and raw and numb and shaken. All at the same time. And that it is not ok to feel embarrassed or ridiculous for those feelings.
She needs to know that she is not overreacting.
She may need to be given permission to grieve. And that permission may need to come from herself.
She needs to know that it will be ok, but that it doesn’t have to be ok right now. Instead, right now it is ok for her to bury her face in a pillow and cry. Hard.
She needs to know that it is ok to curse the cramps in her abdomen and the bloat in her stomach; lingering reminders of what almost was.
She needs to know that it is ok to scratch everything off her calendar and take a walk. A nap. A shower. A break.
Dear friend, if this story is yours, you need to know this: you are not alone. Whether you held your child in your womb for a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks–those intense emotions threatening to overtake you around every corner–you are allowed to feel those.
This thing that happened and then ended before you hardly knew what was taking place–it mattered.
Your baby mattered.
And your story matters.