It’s been about a month since we lost our son and I can’t say that I am an expert on recovering from miscarriage, but I am at least feeling better and finding ways to move forward. This kind of loss is so personal and I think everyone handles it differently, but I wanted to share some things that have helped me so far because I know that overwhelming feeling that comes in waves…”How am I going to get through this?”
The first week was the hardest, but fortunately, Michael was home with me and we were able to just grieve together and to allow ourselves to feel whatever we were feeling. We had a few “normal” moments, but for the most part, we struggled. After about a week, I wrote about my experience and posted it here. That was very cathartic for me and I feel like a weight lifted after that. We are very fortunate to have a lot of amazing people around us (and far away) who showered us with phone calls, flowers, gifts, food, prayers and love. It was so comforting to be able to lean on the people we love. For me, it has also been helpful to seek out others who have been in the same situation. I joined a facebook group and some online forums that are specifically for parents who have experienced loss. There is something very healing about being able to share your experience with someone who knows your pain and it’s even more healing to be able to offer encouragement to others as they are going through their darkest hours.
One of the biggest realizations I had during both of my miscarriages was just how precious my daughter is to me. When I found out I was pregnant with her, it felt like a miracle. I had tried for so long and had been through so much before she came along. It almost seemed selfish to hope or ask for another child, but we always thought we would have another one and really wanted Evelyn to have a sibling. We were very intentional, right from the beginning, about the items we purchased (everything gender neutral) and the way we set up the nursery. We had always anticipated that there would be one more. But, after two losses, back to back, we are just not sure if we will continue to try to expand our family. We aren’t ready to take any permanent measures of prevention, but we are definitely planning to take time to heal from this loss and weigh the pros and cons of trying again…or not. As much as I wanted another child, I have always felt that if I only ever had Evelyn, that would be enough for me. I don’t want the weight of this loss to impact my relationship with her, so I am doing my best to maintain life as usual. April has been full of Easter preparations and trying to enjoy the warmer weather. I’m taking pictures again…I know that sounds weird, but I used to take so many pictures of Evelyn and over the past 6 months, I had just kind of stopped. For me, that’s a sure sign that something is wrong. I decided it’s time to take pictures again, to experience life as it happens and to really appreciate all that I have.
Keeping the faith has been a priority for me. I have been down some very difficult roads before and I recognize that these are the times to draw close to God and grow in Him. The first week after we lost our baby was hard. Really hard. On a cerebral level, I knew all the things that people say to be true. It happened for a reason. God had a plan and would use the situation for good. But, I was mad at Him. I needed to be mad at Him for a period of time. Despite my anger with God, I didn’t run away from Him. I went to church on Sunday, two days after I got out of the hospital. I started reading some devotionals that centered around grief and loss. I prayed…constantly. I talked to God and told Him about every fear, every regret, every pain. I asked Him why, over and over. I still do from time to time. I know that God can use this situation for good in my life and that He can use my experience to help other people. I don’t know what that will look like just yet, but I pray about it every day.
There was never any doubt that we would have to find a way to honor our baby. He was real to us, our child, not just a fetus…whatever that means. We got to see him and hold him. We dreamed about who he would be and how he would complete our family. I had just begun to feel movement in my belly and we took pictures of him when he was born. We had named him and talked to our daughter about all the cool things she would do with her little brother. The hospital staff who worked with us were incredible and they gave us a box which contained all kinds of keepsakes, a tiny blanket and hat, poems, a necklace and other items. We added our ultrasound photos, pictures that we took, the little outfit I bought when I found out we were having a boy and, eventually, we will add the tiny urn that holds his ashes.
I am also planning to dedicate a little section of our garden to the angels we have lost. Some friends of mine put together a gift basket for us and it contained some seeds and a decorative stone, so I am excited to get started on that as the weather warms up. I also ordered this adorable necklace, as a way to represent our family of angels, both here on earth and in heaven.
Several months ago, when we were caught in the throes of an endless winter, we reserved a little cabin for a weekend getaway in the woods. Our weekend is coming up soon and it has been nice to have something to look forward to. It will be nice to get away from our familiar surroundings, go hiking, enjoy the outdoors, sit by the fire at night, play games, and cut ourselves off from our cell phones and Netflix. We’ve also been thinking a lot about some day trips that we can take with Evelyn this summer and possibly a getaway for just Michael and me around the time of our anniversary. It’s helpful to be able to think about the future in a positive way instead of always dwelling on what could have been.
I know that there will still be difficult days ahead and that healing happens moment to moment. So, I think one of the most important things to do, if you are faced with loss, is to just give yourself time. Don’t expect to feel better tomorrow, or next week, or next month, but know that you will feel better, in your own time. As I have talked with friends who have been through miscarriage, we have been able to say that we are better, stronger people for having known and lost our angels. If you are going through this now, take heart. We will never forget, but slowly, it does get easier.