The Silent Pain of Miscarriage and Infertility

Miscarriage is the type of grief we only whisper about when what we want to do is scream. Scream “I’m sad.” “I’m in pain.” “My heart hurts every time I go to the bathroom or every time I mindlessly lay my hand on my belly and remember.” But instead of screaming, I cry silently to myself.

I had taken the cute pictures of my 19-month-old son with the ultrasound picture of his future sibling and was planning out the caption. We had told family and close friends already because we saw a strong heartbeat and wanted to share the joy that we were feeling inside.

At 11 weeks my body, Mother Nature, God, fate, or something completely out of my control decided it was time to say goodbye to this baby. I dreaded sending the texts and making the phone calls to “update” everyone, but like a band-aid I just wanted to rip it off, like a nightmare I just wanted to wake up. The amount of love that was sent to my little family inspired me to talk and to share to more than just my family and close friends.

Miscarriage and infertility struggles are not talked about. Women (and their partners) go through their grief and their frustrations relatively alone. But I’m changing that this time. I write to process and to heal, and I think it’s important to talk and share. It’s important for parents to know they aren’t alone in their struggle, whatever that struggle may be. Know that you are not alone.

My journal entry from the day after our ER trip seems to sum up everything of how I felt, still feel, and still grieve:

"Today I washed the blood of my miscarriage off in the shower. Yesterday I only left the bed to eat chocolate, change my maxi pad every few hours, and get more Kleenex. Today I watched as the water mixed with the blood and ran down my legs into the drain. The blood that failed to keep her safe, to keep her heart beating, the strong heartbeat we saw a few weeks ago. My mind is replaying the event of the day before on repeat hearing the doctor’s words “not viable” over and over like a skip on a record, wondering if I could have done anything, wondering if I could have eaten differently, prayed differently, loved differently, and wondering why.
"Turning the water hotter in hopes that the heat cuts through the numbness that I feel and closing my eyes in hopes that when I open them, I wake from this terrible dream, that I wake up and go back to planning and dreaming about what life will be like with the new baby, about when to move the toddler out of the nursery, about our announcement, about the mountains of diapers, we’d have, and go back to planning the stupid, silly details.
"A tiny toddler knock on the shower door pulls me out of my daydream about waking from the nightmare, back into the nightmare, back into reality of silently grieving while I go through the motions of every day, because he still needs me. He still needs mommy to mom today and the next day.
"And so, I’ll focus on that instead of the emptiness I now feel, instead of the sadness I now feel, and I know I’m not alone in this pain. I know I’m part of a statistic. But damn, this grief is isolating and lonely. One day we will feel better. One day we will pick up the pieces. One day our hearts will figure out what’s next for our family. But today doesn’t have to be that day. And that’s okay.”

There aren’t any magic words you can say to a friend or woman who is 1 in 4 of experiencing a miscarriage or 1 in 8 of experiencing infertility, but acknowledging their pain and sadness and just being there helps the grief feel less isolating. When I shared about our pain on my personal social media page, I had women that I hadn’t talked to in ages reach out to me to share their stories and it made me feel less alone, less broken. I also had friends send or bring over cupcakes or food so that my toddler and husband would be fed when I didn’t even want to think about food (the cupcakes went down pretty smooth).

It’s hard to know what to ask for when you can’t get outside of your head or your bed. So sometimes it’s just better to send something, anything, even a text that says “It sucks, I am so sorry,” because she will read it, she will feel it and appreciate it, even if all you get back is a “thank you ” text.

Thank you to the women who have shared before me, to the women who share their support, or even to the women who may be in pain and can only muster the strength to read stories to look for help. You don’t have to share your story. Just know that you are not alone in your journey, whatever journey your uterus may be taking you on.

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