This blog post has been in my drafts since August 2016. That was a month following my D&C for a “missed miscarriage”; a blighted ovum. It feels like just yesterday and a lifetime ago—my second miscarriage in only a handful of months. It’s been two years since I’ve had a positive pregnancy test. I’ve shared tons about my life with infertility. This week marked our second failed IUI… and I’m “okay”, but taking a break from treatment for the rest of the summer. I shared on my Evolving Joleen Instagram account that I’m going to take some time off to lose weight and get my PCOS symptoms back under control.
Despite my positive (if a bit detached) outlook, it still guts me from time to time, what could have been. In the medicine cabinet in my bathroom, I keep this little bag with two positive pregnancy tests. I wrote the date on the back of each, but the “Pregnant” read out has long since faded on both. I used to bring them out and stare at the word, “Pregnant”. Now, when I take them down it’s to remind myself that it wasn’t a dream. It’s the only physical thing I have to hold in lieu of my babies. Sometimes I just give them a quick squeeze and other times I’m clinging to this bag as I’m sobbing. The pain has lessened over time, but it’s still there. My friends and sisters who had babies around the time I would have, have toddlers turning two this year. I wish I did too.
For sure the fact that we’ve been unsuccessful getting pregnant again lends to my lingering sadness regarding these miscarriages, but no matter what God has in store for our family, I’ll never stop acknowledging my two angel babies.. I thought I would share some of the ways that I’ve coped with miscarriage over the years.
- A tip I never had heard of before researching “how to get through the grief of losing a pregnancy”, was to name the baby. If not an actual name, then a nickname (which is what we did)—this helps to acknowledge that the baby was real and to honor them. Even if you don’t tell anyone, you can do this for yourself.
- Memorialize the baby. Again, this is something you can do on your own or with your spouse. Create a memory box, write a letter or poem to the baby, include an ultrasound printout or your pregnancy journal. Keep the PG test in a little favor bag in your medicine cabinet.
- Join a support group. If you don’t know of one locally, check Facebook. I’m in some pretty great/supportive groups with women going through the same things as me.
- Communicate with your partner. It’s really easy to feel like you’re in this alone. Your hormones are out of whack, you’re experiencing distress, sadness, and anger… do everything you can to talk things through with your spouse. They’re hurting too. If you can’t talk, try to hug it out. I read recently that a 30-second hug can do a lot to help release tension. When my husband and I do this, I definitely can feel the stress leaving my shoulders, and I can breathe easier.
- Let your loved ones love on you. Following my miscarriages, we received texts, food, and loving visits, flowers from family and friends… I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciated this. I remember every way I was shown kindness during this time.
- A loss is a loss, and you have permission to treat it like such. This means there’s no time frame on your grief. Give yourself grace and allow yourself to feel what you feel, when you need to feel it. It’s okay to be sad! It’s okay to cry about it two years later. You don’t need to forget it ever happened.
These are just some of the ways I’ve coped with my miscarriages over the years. If you’re going through something similar, I want you to know that you’re not alone. I’m so sorry for your loss.