A woman once wrote the following …
For women who have experienced pregnancy loss, we know we’ve lost a baby. For other people, it’s just a bump in the road.
I hate to even admit it, but that’s how I felt a bit about miscarriage before I lost our ectopic baby Olivia. Don’t get me wrong, when my close friends miscarried — I grieved for them, I prayed for them, I cried with them. Yes, I felt like they lost a baby. But I also felt like it was a bump. A bump they would soon get over.
Looking back, there were some things I JUST DIDN’T GET:
That getting pregnant again does not heal the hurt from losing a baby. One baby does not replace another. Even if you get pregnant right away, there is still grief because there was still loss.
That bereaved friends do not need answers from me at all. Not one. I looked back on an email I sent to a friend after I heard about her loss, and while I said some appropriate things, I also said, “I know God’s in control.” When I re-read that email after going through our own loss, I winced. She knew God was in control. She didn’t need me to have an answer. She just needed to hear, “I’m so sorry. I’m crying with you. I will miss knowing your baby. I’m praying for you. If you need to talk, I’m here.”
That the hurt lasts so long. Five years has passed since my first loss. And I’ll never quite be the same again. I just wish that I had realized my friends were still dealing with grief for months, and for some, years . . . not just days.
That no matter how early the loss, it still hurts. My love did not grow by weeks. The moment I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test, I was in love with my baby. I was on cloud nine, thinking and planning and dreaming. I didn’t lose 7 weeks of pregnancy. I lost a lifetime with a baby I loved.
That bringing up the loss doesn’t remind them of the loss. They are thinking about it already. But it helps to acknowledge their pain. For most of my friends, I assumed that silence was best. As in, I sent an initial card or email . . . but then I did not continue to ask them about how they were doing. I wish I would have asked. I wish I would have sent remembrances. I wish I would have sent a card or flower on their due date.
That comparison does not help. In trying to comfort, sometimes we try to relate as best we can. I’ve done it to others. And today I had that happen to me from the billing person at my Dr’s office. She wanted to apologize that I would be receiving bills for months down the road for my surgery — each bill as a reminder that I lost a baby. I agreed that yes, this would probably be hard. She then proceeded to say, “I know it’s not the same, but last week I had to put my dog down . . . ” Oh no, I inwardly cringed. PLEASE do not compare my baby to losing a dog. In her own way she was trying to be helpful, trying to relate to my pain . . . but trust me when I say that it was NOT helpful.
I don’t blame myself for not getting it before. I couldn’t have known without enduring loss myself. But I have tried my best to apologize to each of those friends who have miscarried before me. I figure saying the right thing is better late than never. And I still believe that, for me, saying at least something, even if it’s wrong, is still better than total silence.
So no, pregnancy loss isn’t just a bump in the road. It’s more like coming to a screeching halt, careening the car onto a side road you didn’t even see. And no matter what you do, you will never be able to turn the car around and get back on your journey. Somehow, you have to pull yourself together and figure out how you fit on this new journey. And maybe, just maybe, one day, you’ll even grow to enjoy the view.