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I Hated My Body After My Miscarriages Until My Daughter Said This

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I didn’t really believe something was wrong with my baby.

I didn’t believe it when I was started to contract and bleed heavily at 20 weeks pregnant. I didn’t believe it when the nurse couldn’t find a heartbeat after strapping the monitor to my belly. I disregarded the concerned looks of every medical professional who stepped into my cold, gray hospital room. 

The face of the ultrasound technician snapped me out of my denial. My heart felt like concrete in my chest, and I could barely breath as he explained that my baby had passed a few weeks earlier. My husband and I clung tightly to each other and sobbed.

“This isn’t your fault,” he told me over and over through his own tears. “You didn’t do this.”

 This wasn’t our first experience with miscarriage, and my husband knew exactly what I would be thinking. 

How could I have let this happen? What did I do wrong? Why did my body keep killing my babies? 

The grief and guilt I felt were far more painful than the contractions I was experiencing as they wheeled me into the operating room. Inside, I was hysterical. Strangers surrounded me. I couldn’t speak. All I could do was silently cry.

The operating room nurse gently tucked blankets around me and brushed my tears away. “I am so sorry, honey,” she said.

That’s the last thing I remember before the drugs kicked in and I drifted into unconsciousness. The medical team delivered my son and sent his tiny body to the pathologist. I never got to see him.

My friends and family went above and beyond to be there for me during the following weeks, but I couldn’t stop torturing myself with thoughts about what had gone wrong. I was healthy. I’d tried to eat right and exercise during my pregnancy. Had I overexerted myself when my family had moved a few weeks earlier? Had I allowed myself to become so stressed about losing another pregnancy that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy?

A few months later, before I’d truly processed the loss of my son, I got pregnant again. That pregnancy made it to 14 weeks before I lost it too. It was another baby boy, and once again I never got to see him.

After that loss, I tried to put on a brave face. I made jokes about my uterus being an asshole, and people commented on how well I was handling everything. They had no idea how much I hated myself.

I didn’t even want to look in a mirror. I stopped caring about my appearance. I used food to comfort myself. What did it matter if I gained weight? I hated my body anyway. My babies were the most precious things in the world to me, and my body kept killing them. 

Trying to comfort myself while simultaneously hating myself was driving me crazy. I didn’t know who to turn to or how to deal with the wildly conflicting emotions I was feeling. 

In the end, it was a conversation with my one living child that finally helped me begin to find peace with my body.

I’d just stepped out of the shower when she came into the bathroom. She stared at me for a moment and then asked, “Mama, why do you have stripes?”

Pregnancy was not kind to my skin, and my stomach and hips are covered in stretch marks. 

“You used to live in my tummy,” I explained. “My skin had to stretch so that you could fit, and that gave me stripes.”

“Why did I live in your tummy?” she asked with wide eyes.

“Well, it kept you safe until you were big enough to come out and be with me and Daddy,” I said, hoping it was a simple enough explanation for a toddler.

She considered this for a moment and then patted my stomach. “Thank you, Mama’s tummy.” 

I nearly started crying right there in the bathroom. As much as my body had taken from me, it had also given me my beautiful daughter. As simple as the moment was, it was a powerful realization for me.

There are still days when I struggle with my body, but I’ve tried to change my thinking about it. My body is neither good nor bad. Nothing I did or didn’t do caused my babies to die. The body that failed to carry those babies to term also helped create those precious lives. For that reason, I choose to love my body and all of its flaws.

Andrea Woslager with her daughter

Originally published: April 6, 2015
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