I wonder if it seems strange that so soon after doing a post about having a new joyful perspective, I'm now writing about grief. Oddly enough, that post really got my wheels turning about not just having joy all the time but having balance. I think it is good and healthy to grieve. There is most certainly an appropriate time for joy and for grief, as the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:4 "... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..."
Having experienced six early pregnancy losses, I've done plenty of mourning. As a woman who suffers from recurrent loss, I can tell you that it's not just the current loss that is painful but all past losses and potential future ones too. It's not only the death of the child you were carrying, but the fear of never having a successful pregnancy. Each loss puts you closer to mourning the death of your hopes of ever becoming a parent. No, the ability to conceive is no comfort when it doesn't result in having a baby. Pregnancy becomes associated with fear, pain, and sorrow.
One of the hardest things to go through after a miscarriage is not having people recognize your loss. For some reason it seems that most of society can accept any other loss of a loved one, including a pet. But when it comes to a miscarriage, many don't know how to respond. I remember feeling so angry and frustrated when, after one of my miscarriages, I felt like there was a time limit on my grief. People started getting antsy because I wasn't "back to normal" yet, I hadn't been back to church, and they hadn't seen me in a while. The most painful part was that the concerned party hadn't called or come by to check on us. Instead, they started calling around to friends of mine, asking where I'd been lately and why I'd been absent for so long (being fully aware that I'd had a miscarriage). I couldn't help but think that my long absence wouldn't have been as much of an issue had I lost a parent or close friend.
The truth is that miscarriage is a loss. It's the death of a family member, a loved one, a child. YOUR child. No one else knew our babies as personally as we did for those precious few weeks. There was no funeral, memorial, or grave. Someone was there and suddenly is no longer there. A heart that was beating is no longer beating, and a child is no longer growing. Your plans cease and there will be no baby shower, no birth date, and no celebration. It is a harsh reality and it is a very lonely place to be.
A few weeks ago I was visiting another blog and came across a wonderful post on the topic of grief. My blog friend Stacy (I wonder if people try to put an "e" in her name - they usually leave mine out) truly has a gift of expressing herself with words. I love reading her blog and I have been so deeply touched by the amazing story of her son, Samuel. It is a blessing to me every single time I stop by her blog, but this particular post really resonated with me. I hope you'll click over and read her post called What I've Learned About Grief. (Maybe even offer congratulations as just last week they legally welcomed Samuel into their family!)
I wanted to write this today as a bit of encouragement for those who have experienced miscarriage. It's ok to grieve that loss, and don't let anyone try to rush you along. For me, the best thing was having my family and friends acknowledge my pain, mourn with me, and keep me company in the weeks that followed. The length of time that I grieved was different for each loss. I don't think this can be estimated, and although I never felt like I was "all better" or that time had healed the wounds, I did eventually feel stronger and more able to move forward.
I don't have any idea what's up ahead for me. The pain of my miscarriages is still around every day, and I suspect it will be to some degree even after I become a mother someday. I'm trying to wait as patiently as possible for my weeping to turn to laughter and (as uncoordinated and rhythm-less as I am) my mourning to become dancing.