The Grief I Feel After a Miscarriage Doesn’t Fit Any Category
After losing of our daughter, I feel so alone and separate from the world. I find myself searching through miscarriage articles on the internet, Facebook and Instagram just so I may feel less disassociated from society.
I can relate to most of them. I understand the devastation, confusion, anger, denial and isolation these women feel. When I read the words of women who express hope, I pray that the same hope will leap off the screen and fill my heart, but it still has yet to happen.
In fact, the grief process itself feels apart from me. Will the future me look back and see distinct “steps” of grief? “Oh, July through September. Yeah, I was in the anger stage — definitely!” The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. My grief doesn’t seem to fit into any such category. Maybe that’s due to the trauma of it all.
It was three days before the gender-reveal party when we found out our child had a genetic disorder. For two days, my husband and I cried in bed. Little did we know that this was just the beginning of our grief.
A brave mother of a child with Down syndrome said that after receiving the same diagnosis with her child, she also grieved for her child because society is unaccepting. But with great love, she was going to change the world for her daughter. We could do that, too! “I am a behavior therapist,” I thought to myself, “I can do this.”
About a week later, I was at a high-risk appointment to get an amniocentesis. During the ultrasound, I knew something wasn’t right. The tech spent a lot of time taking measurements of the nuchal fold and nervously talked to us the entire time. He excused himself to find the doctor, and 10 minutes later the doctor walked in and delivered the news. Our baby did, in fact, have trisomy 21, but it didn’t stop there. Along with a genetic disorder, there was a very large tumor behind her neck. She had fetal hydrops, and I had too much fluid in my placenta. The diagnosis and severity of it all gave our daughter little chance at life. I cannot begin to describe what it feels like to walk in with hope and leave an appointment feeling traumatized, devastated and helpless.
We lost our daughter at 17 weeks into pregnancy. When a woman gives birth, her womb empties, but her arms and heart become full. For women like me, we are just empty. And to make what is already a tragic event worse, those around you either say rather silly statements like, “You will have another when the time is right” and “Focus on your health,” or they don’t know what to say and simply flee. For some people, they cannot be friends with people who go through tragedies. And they disappear.
I am forced to watch my friends who are pregnant grow while I still bear a bloated but empty stomach and enlarged breasts. 12 weeks later I have nothing growing in me. I am forced to watch baby announcements, but I can’t share with the world that I just lost mine. It is harder when people say to me, “Wow, you’re still so small!” I am forced to bring new mommies and daddies food for their “meal train,” but no one brought us food. We are tired, too. Our lives have changed, too.
So we — the parents who knew our babies inside us — are fumbling in the dark in isolation because the community around us values “happy posts,” and they may be too scared to be on the front line of pain.
As parents, we’re supposed to find our place in grief, when honestly we feel all five stages all the time and our grief still doesn’t fit. That is why we feel isolated. Or, I’m in stage two.
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