2018 was one of the best years of my life, and it was also one of the most difficult. From exciting moments like moving into our new house and growing our team to, of course, finding out we were going to have a baby this spring, there were some life-long dreams happening. But with the devastating loss of our dear Lucy (our 2.5 year old French Bulldog) and going through a miscarriage, it was also a year that felt lonely, sad, and extremely heavy. There were many times that it was hard to focus on all the things that were going “right” when we were dealing with such loss.
I’ve gone back and forth on how to share my journey with grief this past year, and honestly, if I wanted to at all, but I think I’m finally ready to open up. Not from a place of looking for attention or pretending like I’m alone in these struggles – but exactly the opposite. This blog has become such a community for Austin and I that it almost feels inauthentic to not share the non-Instagram worthy moments that happen along the way. You guys are truly my friends (even if we haven’t met!) and an incredible community – one which I want to lean into when the going gets tough. Not only do I find support from sharing, but my hope is that it can also inspire others to connect, share stories, and to have this community that’s bigger than Austin and I.
I’m not totally sure the best way to put together a post like this. It’s not the most “uplifting” but it’s real and what I learned about grief this past year. So grab a cup of coffee and settle it – it’s a long one 🙂
It can be debilitating
When Austin and I first found out we were experiencing a miscarriage exactly one year ago today, it hit us like a ton of bricks. It was shocking, painful and left us feeling defeated. I’m usually open to sharing things (it’s my job after all), but I knew right away that I wasn’t ready to share this. In fact, it was hard for me to even want to work at all. Austin and I took some time and tried to “deal with what happened” but came to find out it wasn’t that easy. We live in such a “get up and go” type of culture that even accepting that I needed time to cope was hard. I’m usually able to bounce back and try again. But I knew this was different and a time in which I needed to allow myself the grace of healing. I learned to take time for myself, for Austin and I, and to shut off from the world when I needed to – and that I wasn’t a bad or weak person because I needed that time. In fact, I was simply being human.
Fast forward to October. We finally get to move into our house, after many delays, only to find out that our precious Lucy is terribly sick. After she passed, it just broke our hearts. I knew I needed to grieve and have those days where I didn’t leave bed other than to grab another box of tissues. Loss is incredibly damaging and sometimes I think we forget to allow ourselves grace during that period.
It can be lonely
Even though miscarriages range from 15-20% for healthy women in childbearing years (or almost 1/4 women), they certainly don’t feel that common when you’re going through one – at least not for me. Those around us were getting pregnant and having healthy babies…it was almost easier to focus on that than the statistics. We definitely had a hard time sharing, which made the loneliness grow stronger. It wasn’t shame, but almost this secret that we felt like I needed to keep safe. It was hard to get out of bed some days, and I know I canceled on some events or plans with friends because of it. I was so thankful to have a supportive and caring partner through all of this.
But what I eventually learned was that sharing my tragedy with other women opened myself up for support. I’ve talked to SO many women – many of you, in fact! – who have struggled with miscarriage or infertility. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories along with ones of beautiful endings along the way. And what I came out realizing with all of it is that I wasn’t alone; I just needed my time to heal and then begin to heal alongside others. Talking to my doctor, reading about just how common it was, seeing stats about success rates even when you’ve had a miscarriage, talking to other women, and not putting pressure on ourselves to try again right again was eventually how I started to feel less alone.
It certainly did not make the pain go away, but it gave me comfort to know I wasn’t alone.
If you’re going through a miscarriage or infertility, please know that you too aren’t alone and that my heart is with you. I’m here to talk if ever needed to, and I think a lot of women in this community would say the same.
A light usually surfaces
This section might be the hardest to write because I do not want to generalize grief – I don’t think you can. Everyone’s situation and struggle are different, and in my opinion, there isn’t a blanket remedy for it. So again, please remember that this is just my personal experience with grief and what I’ve learned. It might be very different for you.
As I slowly started feeling the cloud of sadness and heaviness from both losses move over a bit (I don’t want to say leave because they are definitely still there and will probably always be – which is OK), I started to find my way. The whole light at the end of the tunnel saying doesn’t sound strong enough for heartbreaking loss, but I think you know what I mean, right?
I found my ways to cope through a handful of practices. In case you’re wanting to know what those were: Praying, attending church and our small group, opening up to our friends and family, talking to a grief counselor, doing things that made me feel good, travel, giving myself enough time to heal and cry when I needed to, and eventually, this combo helped me to start feeling better day by day. (And don’t get me wrong, some days were A LOT easier than others.)
We were even blessed with the news of a healthy baby later in 2018 and that was a whole other wave of emotions. Will this one be healthy? Will I miscarry again? Is it my fault that the first one didn’t make it? What can I do to keep this one healthy? Etc etc etc. If you’ve been through a miscarriage, I’m sure you’ve had similar feelings.
Week after week though, we kept seeing that healthy heart beating on the monitor or through the doppler and eventually, we made it to the 2nd trimester. Our doctor encouraged us that it was safe to share with friends and family. I took a couple extra months to share with people because I still wasn’t feeling secure but eventually was able to share with everyone, including you all.
The outpowering of love and support from you guys has been honestly incredible. I’ve never felt more honored to connect with this community and I can’t thank you all enough for your kindness during this time. I’ve also chatted with so many of you who are going through something similar.
While I definitely don’t have the answers and every situation is so different, I’ve gotten a lot of questions surrounding how I’ve dealt with miscarriage, what we did to get pregnant again, steps to recovery and so on. I originally thought I might address some of those questions in this article, but I’m realizing just how long this is getting. I also think it might serve better as a post on its own. Please let me know if you’d like to see another article on miscarriage and pregnancy altogether and I can work on that. I want to be as sensitive and supportive as possible while sharing our story.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading. While it’s obviously a very personal subject, if you have anything you want to add to this conversation about learning from grief, please don’t hesitate to reach out int he comments or DM me. I do think we can all learn from and connect though, so if you’re open to going public in comments, that might be the best place to connect.
Thank you so much for reading and allowing me a space to share.