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Pregnancy tests are just not funny

April Fool’s Day is a day of elaborate jokes and pranking. Heck, I have participated in my fair share of fairly epic pranks. However, there is one “joke” that gets pulled year after year, and it is never funny. That “joke” in question is a fake pregnancy announcement.

pregnancy test stick

Photo by Steid for Pixabay

I use “joke” loosely in the above statement because it really is no joke at all. On April Fool’s Day after I had my first miscarriage, one of my Facebook friends, posted a pregnancy test on her wall. I am sure she thought of it as a harmless prank, but it felt like a kick in the gut. Here is this chick basically saying, “Ha Ha. Psyche! I am not really pregnant. Pregnancy is soooo hilarious, you all.” All I kept feeling was how my body failed me, how I was supposed to be a few months away from having my sweet baby, and all I had was an empty womb and a still broken heart.

Women grieve differently. Some women who are struggling with infertility or suffered miscarriages can see this and not be affected. I am not one of them. My back to back losses made me feel like a failure. They ripped my heart apart. I fell apart. I had nightmares. In fact, I still have nightmares sometimes, and it has been over four years since my last loss. For many women, this “joke” acts as a trigger, a reminder of how our bodies have not given us what we wanted, a reminder of what we have lost.

I have written about my losses quite a bit, as well as my journey to my rainbow baby. I have done it because miscarriage is still a somewhat taboo subject, and many people are still insensitive about the subject. My losses spiraled me to a very dark point in my life. The feelings from my losses made me want to rip my heart out to ease the hurt inside me. So I wrote and wrote and wrote…to heal…to share…and to help others understand.

There are plenty of jokes that you can try for April Fool’s Day, but don’t be a jerk. “Jokes” like a fake pregnancy announcement can really hurt someone you love, someone who may be struggling with infertility or someone who may have miscarried. Because these are subjects that are not always shared, you may not even know about their struggles, so find something else. Don’t be insensitive. Be funny. Be creative. Don’t be a jerk on April Fool’s Day.

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My message to those who struggle after miscarriage

I keep thinking that I shouldn’t write about miscarriage and loss anymore because I have my rainbow baby now…because it was a few years ago…because someone might think I am being an attention seeker. However, writing is my therapy. When I lost my babies, it helped me to be able to write my thoughts if only to get me through that particular day. I told parts of my story in hopes that it would also help someone else struggling as well, which is why I decided that it is time to tell my story as it is now, for those of you somewhere out there that still struggle with the pain, that have been made to feel like you need to keep silent, that bury your feelings so deep inside that the pain has become part of you. This is for you.

brokenheart

photo by PEXELS for Pixabay

In December, it will be four years since I lost my Luk. We named him Lukasz to keep in the spirit of giving our kids Polish names. We named him because while I only held him in my hand for a few moments after losing him in the bathroom in the middle of the night while my other two children slept on, he had been the child of my heart. He had been a part of our family. All four of us had such big dreams for him, and the most we would ever be able to do would be to give him a name, a name to call my son I would never rock to sleep, a name to give to the brother the kids would never get to play with.

Some months later, when I lost my second baby, we broke the tradition as my husband and I sat in the hospital waiting for my surgery while listening to babies being born in the rooms surrounding us. Each cry felt like a knife stabbing me in the heart. We named that baby Faith. We named that baby Faith because I was afraid of losing mine. My heart was full of anger and pain. I could not understand why a God could be so unfair to take not one, but two babies from me. Two very wanted babies. In the time between my two losses, I felt like I had completely fallen apart. However, if I want to be brutally honest, I was struggling a bit before this all had begun. My problems had started months before I lost that first one.

My husband and I struggled in our marriage for a few years before we decided to go for a third child. We began to work our way through our issues and just decided to go for it once we felt we were at a good place with each other and with our finances, which had begun to turn around for us as well. I didn’t think it would take long. Our homeschool community was full of people that seemed to only look at their spouse  to become pregnant again. For me, I decided that since a lot of my dreams for how I thought my life was going to be were kinda tossed out of the window after my accident years before that maybe I would just simply be a mom. I would raise my kids. I would be fun. When that was done, I would have grandkids. Yup, that was going to be my life. However, as the months went by, I did not get pregnant. I have to say that seeing some of my friends get pregnant during that time was hard because I couldn’t understand why it just wasn’t happening for me.

I threw myself into my business for a bit. I didn’t feel comfortable really talking to people about how depressed I felt, and maybe I should have. I should have probably closed my business right then and there. I had a moment that summer when I was moving locations and getting ready to make it a much grander idea than it was to simply stop. My heart was not in it. I did not feel right about what I was doing. I was stressed. It made me more depressed. I felt lonely. I felt even more afraid to open up for fear of feeling like a failure. And I did feel like a failure. I felt I was failing because I couldn’t get pregnant, because I didn’t want this shop that I was investing in, because I felt alone, because I felt that my worth was only on what I could do, how I could pull my weight, how I could keep up a facade. Some days, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.

I still have nightmares about how I lost my first baby, alone in my bathroom and not really knowing what was going on until the last minute. I had two healthy kids. I had gone to my doctor that previous day. He said I was fine. He said he thought I had a bladder infection. I found out after it was all over from another doctor in the practice that my ultrasound showed a deflated sac. I felt like the other doctor did not care about my health or safety. I felt like no one cared about me, which I knew was not true. I had some friends that cared. However, as time went on after losing the baby, I felt that maybe my friends felt I should have moved on. That is the way society sees it though. Miscarriage happens. Move on. Women are supposed to be this strong super human force that must always show strength in all situations or else we will be seen as weak. We don’t have a village supporting us anymore. Social media has made it more so that our village carries pitchforks instead to prod us into not dealing with things properly.

Looking back on everything, there is a good chance that I had PPD (postpartum depression) after losing Luk. However, it is not something often discussed. Why? I have no idea. Our hormones are all over the place. For those of us that wanted our pregnancies, there is this huge sense of loss in which we must deal. It is a perfect storm for mental issues, but yet I feel it is often overlooked. PPD or mental illness in any form is seen as a weakness, something you keep hidden but do not discuss. I do know that I felt very broken. I felt very alone. I felt like I was supposed to be fine, but I was not and because of that some people in my life started to drift away from me. There are times this still angers me. However, I know that deep down not everyone in your life is meant to be there forever. Sometimes, we cannot handle other people’s pain because of pain in our own life. Sometimes, people are just assholes too. That is life. That being said, when you are in so much pain that it is a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, it is better to have a support system at your side. I say this because if I had to go through this all over again, I would not have wanted to push those away who did want to help because of the way those who did not made me feel.

I would like to say that I am fine today, but I am not always fine. I had PPD with my rainbow baby, and it made me feel like hell. I felt like trying to manage postpartum depression while trying to enjoy my colicky rainbow baby was a punishment for something I had done. Even now, I still carry guilt that for many months after having Miss Crankles, I was unable to enjoy her. I felt that it said something about my character as a mother, and only recently have I been able to start realizing that I am actually a damn good mom. I am just human.

I carry all these feelings and memories of the past few years, and I still have a hard time letting go. Some of us deal with things better than others. Some of us heal faster than others. I guess for me that the losses, the depression, the feelings of everything that has happened the past few years has just been a little bit too much for me to process quickly, and I am still trying to heal. There are times that I wish that I could forget about the two that I lost, that I would not have let them in my heart. Then I feel guilty for thinking that. There are times that I wonder what plan God could possibly have for me and my life in breaking my heart to the point that it still hasn’t fully healed. There are times that I wake in the middle of the night and fear that my kids will need therapy because their mom was broken. It sucks. All of this has sucked the life from me. And I am afraid. I am afraid to say too much, to tell people how I think, to tell all of my feelings because I am afraid of people seeing me so open and raw. I am afraid that they will judge me or worse…leave me.

So often, miscarriage is seen like this procedure…as if to say, “Well you were pregnant, and now you aren’t. Next!” No one tells you that this moment will make you see your whole life differently. It may cause discord between your spouse, family, and friends. You will grieve, but you won’t know how you are supposed to grieve because this is still taboo. This may cause you to lose your faith if you are religious. Heck, I am still mad at God and only recently started going to church for real again because for a while I was not sure I could believe in a God that would take my baby away when I could look at the news and see stories of people killing their kids. What you hear is that it is just part of life.

That is why I am sharing this because my grief process didn’t follow the rules for how it was supposed to be…because my heart still hurts and because our society has become this place where mothers are supposed to do it all…but keep our emotions in check. I want us to be more than that. I want to bring villages back. I want mothers to know that it is okay if you are not okay. I want people to know that we do not all feel the same way as someone else in the same situation because we are all different. Most of all, I don’t want others to be like me, to be so broken and alone and not know who or where to go to for help. I do not want someone to get worse instead of better because she pushed her emotions so deep that it only made it worse. I do not want someone to feel like their loss did not matter, because it did. I do not want for someone to feel like she has to be superhuman because we do not have to be.

There are many days that I feel fine and feel like I have been moving forward. Then it just happens…a dream, a show, a song, something someone said…and I am wistful, missing what I could have had and sad for not having it, knowing that I have three beautiful children whom I adore but always feeling like there is someone missing. Mamas, we gotta take care of one another. We gotta bring the village back. We gotta start reaching out more. Also, we need our healthcare providers to deal with pregnancy loss differently. We need to break down the taboos and get the conversation going. And that is why I share my story with you.

 

 

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Adoration

bubbybiankaWhen my son found out I was pregnant this time, he was very hesitant. He didn’t want to get too attached to the baby growing inside me for fear he would be hurt. I was afraid he would not bond with her after she was born, but when I look at the two of them together, it is clear that he adores his baby sister. He talks to her, snuggles her, and does goofy things just to get a grin, and she adores him. There is this smile she makes. It’s as if her whole face lights up, and sometimes when she looks at her brother, she makes that face. It is just for him.

It doesn’t matter that they have eleven years between them. I can already tell that they are going to be great pals!

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Mending and Processing

I must admit that I still am laying low for now. Honestly, the closer it gets to next month, the more I want to hibernate in my home. I am going to be honest. I am still sad. Somedays I feel broken. I feel awkward talking about my feelings. Almost a year ago, I suffered a miscarriage. In the past year, I have lost another.  In addition, I almost lost my business. I was harassed and terrorized by my next door neighbors, and I am currently on week three without my husband.

I am sure eventually it’s going to be okay, but quite honestly, I feel like I need a break from reality to process the events of the past year. I don’t feel like myself. I find it easier to hide behind my computer and give a persona that everything is fine and dandy when I feel like my world is falling apart.

Sometimes it’s hard to put on a happy face for my kids. It’s even harder when I know they are hurting. My son desperately wants another brother or sister. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Do you know what an emotional roller coaster it is to try for a baby after miscarriage? It’s downright terrifying. You find yourself looking at the calendar to keep track of your cycle, when you are ovulating, and then you wait. And you know what’s worse? Sometimes your body is a real jerk to you and gives you false hope. You feel that queasy feeling in the morning and think maybe this is the month, until you find out a day or two later that it is not and that your cycle this month is going to be hellish.

I am not a holiday person. I worked retail for so many years that I associate this time of year with greed and ill-behavior. Losing my baby so close to Christmas last year did not help the situation. I had so many dreams for my baby. I have friends that had babies right around the time mine was due, and sometimes I can’t help but think what my baby should be doing now. I feel haunted.

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but there are many people out there that are like me. Maybe they lost a loved one. Maybe they feel alone. Maybe they are depressed. If you see someone like this, give them a hug. Invite them for a cup of coffee. You don’t need to act like you know what they are going through, but show some love. It might make all the difference in the world.

As for me, I am going to keep writing. I am going to try to find ways to get through this, and I am going to keep sharing because I want those that have been through what I am going through to know that you aren’t alone. It’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to feel however you feel.

Please feel free to join the discussion in the comments below or on facebook:

www.facebook.com/bearhavenboutique

It's a little blury, but other than a copy of an ultrasound picture, this is my only reminder of the baby I lost. My belly grew very quickly last fall, and I took this picture about just a few days before I lost Luk to remember my pregnant belly. I didn't have the heart to delete the picture.

It’s a little blurry, but other than a copy of an ultrasound picture, this is my only reminder of the baby I lost. My belly grew very quickly last fall, and I took this picture about just a few days before I lost Luk to remember my pregnant belly. I didn’t have the heart to delete the picture.