The Silent Trauma of Losing My Pregnancy
Almost a year ago I unexpectedly got pregnant. It was a terrifying surprise, yet it filled me with a deeper love and sense of courage, purpose and joy than I had ever known. I could feel the presence of his soul with me, something so incredible to experience.
Not long into the pregnancy I had some spotting, which I was told was “normal.” Later, I felt pain I thought was just indigestion. Luckily, I went to the doctor — though normally I’m fairly reluctant to go through mainstream medicine — who sent me for an ultrasound. Several hours later I was in emergency surgery having to remove my ruptured right fallopian tube and my baby. After an already traumatic year, the shock and grief were almost unbearable.
I remember lying in the hospital bed, hearing the cries of babies in another section of the ward, feeling like my heart had been torn from my chest.
I’ve experienced third-degree burns and the pain did not compare.
I share this because pregnancy loss is not widely talked about or particularly supported (though in social media it is starting to). There was this strange sense of guilt and shame for grieving so intensely for such a brief life, and it was something that felt almost impossible to talk about and I felt incredibly alone.
I love children so much, but for a time, it was so hard to be around them — so hard to see other mothers.
Around the time our baby, Ocean, was due, I saw a young mother and I was filled with an inexplicable rage. It was afterwards I realized it was the due date. Later that day, a friend and I tried to rescue a kitten that was pretty sick — it died in my hands. We made a grave and I cried uncontrollably. A strange kind of closure.
Approximately one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, one in 40 are ectopic (like mine), and about one percent are stillbirth (I can only imagine how hard that must be). And so many women grieve in silence, shame and solitude.
Only a handful of people know this story, and probably sharing it isn’t going to change much, but maybe it’s a tiny little step to creating more openness and awareness.
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Thinkstock image by elfiny