To the Other Women Putting Their Hearts Back Together in Silence After Miscarriage
It’s in the quiet moments that I hear it the most. The soft pop and hiss of tiny fractures spreading across my aching heart. It reminds me of that first step you take onto thin ice. You feel the millimeter of give beneath your boot, and hear the thick crack as the ice groans in protest under your weight. Your stomach plunges, your heart races, your breath rushes out in rapid steamy gasps. Frozen, you wait, knowing that at any minute you may plunge into the icy depths unsure if you will resurface.
It’s in those quiet moments that I know it’s coming and right now there is nothing I can do to stop it. I know as time goes on I will be able to slowly ease back from the edge, creeping ever so lightly to a different and stronger path. But for now, I fall, over and over into that frigid painful water, struggling for breath, tears blurring my vision, fighting against myself while I attempt to gain my footing in flailing failure.
I know I’m not alone in this; a myriad of women have been exactly where I am. Many others are still here with me, picking up the pieces of their hearts, attempting to mend them. To put them back together as they were before. But, hearts can’t go back as seamless and as perfect as they were before a miscarriage. There will always be little chips, cracks and craters that remain. Little pieces of yourself that were lost along with your child.
Miscarriage is never an easy word to say. It’s a word that brings nothing good with it. It’s a word that makes people uncomfortable. One that is spoken in hushed whispers and with solemn expressions. A word that carries pain and sorrow; a life changing word. It’s a word that steals away the innocence and bliss of pregnancy and leaves in its place fear and questions. It’s a word that thrusts you into an unfamiliar and scary new world, one you don’t want to be in. It’s a word that is often hard to say, even by those who have endured it.
Why is it so hard for us to speak freely about this? Not just for myself but for other women as well? Why is there such a hesitation to share our loss, our grief? Miscarriages are not uncommon, they’re not new and they’re not going away. So why do so many women feel like they have to suffer in silence, only sharing with a handful of family members and close friends? Why do we feel we can we only find solace within the secret groups of other mothers whose hearts are chipped and cracked like ours?
Maybe it’s because we’re subconsciously afraid that we will rub off on someone. That our bad luck can spread from person to person like a nasty unseen virus. Maybe it’s because we know how much it hurts. And we’re afraid that if we say the words out loud to someone who has been there as well that their heart, despite all the repairs, will begin to crack and creak as they are reminded again of their loss.
Maybe it’s because hardly anyone knew we were pregnant? Most women wait until it’s “safe” to share the news of the secret new life growing inside of them. Having been a labor and delivery nurse, I know that no one is safe. Ever. But if we haven’t told anyone about the baby, how do I tell them when it’s gone? Because that’s a really easy conversation to have. Do you say “So last week I was pregnant, and this week I am not,” or “Please excuse my pallor and mascara runs, I lost my baby, the one you didn’t know about.”
Maybe it’s because right now we have near-constant physical reminders of our loss that we can’t bear to see sad eyes, or hear “I’m so sorry” or “It wasn’t meant to be” or “There was probably something wrong with it anyway” or “You can always try again.” Maybe it’s because we want just one place where we can go and play pretend. Imagine that we are not shattered, pretend that we’re whole and perfect; that we’re not holding ourselves together with sheer will and Oreo cookies.
Maybe it’s because in a society in which a consensus of actual “life” has yet to be made, we may be afraid our baby “doesn’t count.” That our loss is no real loss, our heartbreak is just our own making. Or maybe it’s the fear of being blamed. That somewhere deep inside that person we have just told is thinking it must be our fault someway or somehow. We had to have done something wrong, or definitely didn’t do everything right to be where we are.
Maybe it’s none of those things. Maybe it’s just fear. That saying the words out loud will send us plunging through that thin ice again to drown again in our tears. Or a fear that talking about will make it easier and that easiness will mean we are forgetting. Not forgetting the hurt or sorrow, but forgetting the baby that flew away from this earth before we did.
Maybe it’s because it really just sucks. And it hurts. And because we can’t say the words without crying. And because maybe we’re tired of crying, but feel guilty if we aren’t. It’s a crummy roller coaster ride full of ups and downs, that leave us feeling dizzy and disoriented.
It’s in the quiet moments that I know, regardless if I talk about it or not or say the words aloud or not, that I will slowly pick up the pieces of my heart and fit them back together. They won’t be seamless, it may be hard to get them to stick together, and there will always be gaps, but it’s in those places that I will tuck the little life that was a part of me for too short a time. It’s in those places that I will place the lifetimes of hopes and dreams formed during the too few moments we were together.
It’s in the quiet moments that I hear it the most. That soft hiss and pop of breaking hearts. It’s because of those moments that I know the silence must be broken. I had a miscarriage and it hurts. I am slowly putting the pieces back together and while I do, I remind myself, “He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles.” You don’t have to be alone in those quiet moments. I am here if you need me. We can heal together.