2

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.

 

 

3

I sometimes Imagine

After two miscarriages in a row, I got my rainbow baby. My older kids, my husband, and I all love her dearly. We dote on her and probably hover a little too much. She knows she is loved. However, sometimes I find myself wondering about the ones that did not get to be born. I wonder if they would have blond hair. I wonder if they would have slept through the night or would they have been like Sweet Pea and not slept at all. Would they be outgoing or would they be shy? What would their favorite lovey be? What would be their favorite food? Would they like frozen waffles like all their siblings? I would like to think so.

This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

I still sometimes feel like there is an empty spot where they should be. However, I want them to know they are not forgotten. They will forever be loved by all of us. While we will never get to see what kind of personalities they would have had or what they would have grown up to be, we will always remember them and hope that we will someday meet in Heaven. We focus on what we have, like each other and try not to take one another for granted. They will forever be in our hearts.

If you have suffered an infant loss or miscarriage. Please know you are not alone. Please know that while it is hard and while some people may not understand or support you, it is okay to grieve. It is okay to feel however you need to feel and for however long you need to feel it. This is not something that is often talked about. In fact, I didn’t know how many of my friends had miscarriages until I started talking about mine. That is why I have talked about mine so much. I want people to know that it is okay to grieve for the child you didn’t get to know. It is okay to miss that child and wonder what might have been.

If you would like to share your story, please feel free to do so in the comments below.

1

Why I chose to write about my losses

be0033d62f02445292a72765e0379c88  One question I have been asked is why I talk about my miscarriages or write about them at all. Sometimes it is therapeutic, but mostly it has a lot to do with the fact that people don’t talk about it. It’s almost like we are supposed to keep quiet about it, pretend it didn’t happen. When I lost my first baby, I felt so lost. I had friends that tried to help, but I had no idea how to move forward. I had people say some really horrible things to me like how it wasn’t a real baby or that I must have done something wrong. The baby was real to me. The hopes and dreams I had for my baby were real. My baby existed, even if it was for a brief moment in time.

I have lost two pregnancies. I have been on my journey to baby for two years, and now it looks like we have a rainbow baby on the way, but I am still afraid.  I have been writing so that others who are on a journey like mine know that they aren’t alone. I want them to know that it is okay to grieve. It is okay to give your baby a name. It is okay to be joyful when you get your rainbow baby, and it is okay to still feel sad sometimes for the one(s) you have lost. It is okay if you sometimes wonder what that baby would look like or what that baby would be doing now. It is okay to move forward. It is okay to sometimes fall back. We all deal with our losses in different ways. Some days are better than others.

I will admit that this week hasn’t been easy. Today marks a year since I lost my second baby. We named that baby Faith. We named the baby Faith because I was afraid I was losing my faith…my faith in God, my faith in life, my faith in myself, and my faith in everything. I will also admit that I ended up in a very dark place after my second loss. I felt so empty inside. I have two other children and a husband that loves me. However, I felt so alone. I didn’t know who I could talk to. I didn’t want to say too much to most of my friends for fear they wouldn’t understand. I lost so many friends by that point already. I am in a better place now than last year at this time. However, there are times when I still grieve. I have a godson who is about the age of the baby I lost last June, and sometimes I wonder if that baby would be like him. I look forward to the day I meet the baby growing inside of me. I am excited. I rejoice in every kick. However, I don’t think the fear will ever completely go away until I am holding her in my arms.

If you have been through pregnancy loss, I want you to know it is okay to feel however you feel, and while society may not be on board, it doesn’t matter. You matter, your baby mattered, your grief matters.

As always, feel free to comment below.

2

Why I won’t be shopping the maternity store

broken heart Yesterday I got the mail, and there was a catalog for planning a child’s first birthday. While I still think about the babies that I will not be able to hold in my arms, I have gotten to the point in this pregnancy where I am really starting to finally bond with the baby I am carrying and actually starting to think about the future. However, yesterday made me think about the first baby I lost at the end of the first trimester. That baby would have been one in July. What sucks is that thanks to a certain major maternity store chain, my address seems to be forever on all sorts of mailing lists, and sometimes it just triggers emotion.

You see, when I was pregnant with the first baby I lost, I went to that maternity store two months into the pregnancy in need of some bras. What I didn’t know was that I was going to be put on a list that would be sold to countless companies. What has made it worse is that for every company’s list I get removed from, I seem to have more in its place. Shortly after my first loss, I tried to be removed from email lists and mailing lists. For a while it seemed to have worked. However, right around the time of my missed due date, which was also shortly after when I lost my second pregnancy, I got a “Welcome Baby” package from a formula company. Then the formula coupons started coming in. Then the birth announcement coupons came pouring in. I was constantly barraged with mail reminding me of what I was not going to have to the point that I just stopped looking at the mail for a while.

It finally subsided after some months, only to return yesterday with a stupid catalog to remind me that in a few short months, I would have had a baby turning one. I am starting to get excited for the baby growing inside me, and I love feeling her kicks and hiccups. I am counting down the days until I meet her. However, it still hurts, and it sucks that I cannot seem to escape the junk mail brought on by my visit to the maternity store.

My goal now is to never give that store any of my business ever again. I think I would rather be naked at this point than to support a business that sells its information when this could happen to someone else who loses a pregnancy.

If any of you have experienced something similar, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

2

My Dearest Luk,

I thought today would be different. A year after you have gone to heaven, I thought perhaps I would be pregnant or have a baby now. Right now, I will admit that the hope for that is low. However, I wanted you to know that we miss you. We think about you often, what you would be doing now, had God not called you home. We had hopes for you, and while our time with you was only in my womb, you are still in hearts.

Lukasz

We lit a candle for you and said a prayer. Our lives have changed so much this past year, and we talked about the hurt and trials we have been through this year. We also made a decision tonight to do something in memory of you. We have decided to live and love with our whole hearts. It will not be easy, but I feel if we are ever going to be happy that we must fill our lives with love…love for ourselves, love for others, love to fill the void, love to light the way. We will love each other, and we will always love you.

And we will continue to share so that others may know that it is okay to grieve. It is okay to share feelings. And we will remember you and always love you.

Love,

Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, and Bubby

 

To my readers, if you have experienced loss, please feel free to share your feelings or your own letter to your loved one in the comments below.

 

 

5

Broken

I had plans originally for a different topic for Mommy Monday. However, a lot has happened here in the past few days that I thought I would share with you all, if nothing else, just to try to make sense of my life right now.

Today, I had planned to tell the whole world what was to be my family’s happy news. I had an ultrasound scheduled for today, and I had visions of seeing this little tiny being in the pictures. I had actually told a lot of my family while I was in Ohio since it seemed like everything was going great. I was somewhere around two months pregnant. I was waking every morning to the feeling that I was going to hurl. I have been tired and forgetful (ok, so I am forgetful a lot) for weeks. Those are all supposed to be good signs of a healthy pregnancy. Only they weren’t.

We are not really sure what happened. I was treated as if it was an ectopic pregnancy. However, there was nothing there when they did the laproscopic surgery. I am lucky I suppose that my ovaries and tubes are still in tact. I want answers though. My midwife mentioned today that it could have been a blighted ovum. I had to have bloodwork. They will let me know if my hormone levels are decreasing. They think that perhaps my levels are not. I passed something on Thursday. We just don’t know what it was. Needless to say, I am once again left with empty hopes and dreams. Only this time, I don’t know if there was ever a real baby inside me. The idea that maybe it didn’t develop into an actual baby is supposed to be comforting, but it isn’t. I just feel confused.

Everything seems surreal right now. I keep thinking I am having some odd dream, and when I wake, everything will be ok, except that hasn’t happened. I am now empty again and now filled with questions. I want some sort of closure. I want the pain to go away. Honestly, I just want a break.

This past year has been full of too many changes and now two missed chances of me being a mommy again.  I feel lost. I feel cheated. I feel broken. I feel very confused. I know life is not fair, and that there is much suffering in the world. I don’t want to have a pity party, but in some ways, I feel like I have been through enough in my life and that I deserve a break. I don’t want much. I don’t have aspirations to be rich or famous. I just want to raise my kids, have one or two more babies, continue falling in love daily with my husband to the point that it makes others ill, and come up with some awesome parties. That’s it. It took a long time to get to that point too. Eleven years ago, I had much bigger plans. I was going to graduate college, get my master’s degree, and then get my doctorate. I was going to live in foreign countries and teach English. I was going to have this amazing career. Then in the blink of an eye, the dream was gone. Tomorrow marks eleven years that my life changed forever when I got hit by a car that made an illegal left turn and wasn’t paying attention. All those dreams were gone. I have struggled over the years to come up with new dreams and aspirations and to not be so angry and bitter. These last few months, I have made a lot of changes, and honestly, I have felt like I turned a corner and made peace with all the hurt and bitterness from everything over the last eleven years. Honestly, I felt that this baby was my new beginning. Only it isn’t, and not only is it not a new beginning, but it may have never actually been a baby.

So right now I am grieving. Whether or not, the baby was a baby or just a bunch of cells, I am mourning the loss of what it represented, of the dreams I had, of the future that will not be. I don’t know if we will try again. I don’t know anything right now. I just know I needed to say all of this, to get it off my chest. Thank you for listening.

0

To Feel Like Myself

My son and I made a pinky swear pact tonight (so you know it is serious). We decided no more McDonalds. We are not fast food people normally. Once in a blue moon I will have a craving for McDonalds. Our family has actually been eating pretty healthy for a while now. I cut out diet soda, then most of my regular soda, most processed foods, and junk food. Lately, I just haven’t cared. I haven’t cared if I ate or what I ate. I lost 10 lbs this week with everything going on. However, tonight was the night we decided to quit.

My son can’t sleep. I can’t sleep either. My daughter says she is fine, but she still ends up in my bed. It is so easy to just not care what I am putting in my mouth. At first my kids were going along with it, but my son is right. It isn’t good for us. Maybe going back to eating good food will help us sleep at night. I doubt it, but at this point, I would really like some sleep.

I still don’t know how to make this better. I just try to keep us all busy. I am preparing for someone’s party this weekend. I am letting someone else do most of the hosting Saturday, but I am still in the background making sure everything comes together. I stupidly volunteered to host the playgroup’s Christmas party at my house next week because I didn’t want to see it cancelled. Plus, my kids have been wanting to have all their friends over at the house anyways. It keeps me occupied so I can’t think. I don’t like to think. I would rather be busy or making snarky remarks about something or thinking about Star Wars or playing Kingdoms of Camelot or coming up with an awesome party. I don’t like feeling like this. I don’t like feeling vulnerable, and I don’t want to cry. Just when I think I have no more tears, they just keep coming.

I hope that I get some sleep soon. I would settle for just hoping my son gets to sleep soon. I can’t wait until my husband gets home.

How do you deal with your children’s emotional pain?