The very thought of miscarriage and stillbirth brings tears to my eyes. It took me months upon months of postponements to write this article only because of the pain I feel and the difficulty I have with the subjects of miscarriage and stillbirth.
Of all the sections on this site, this is probably the subject I feel closest to, the one that is most in my blood, that is constantly breathing down my neck.
It’s impossible to explain how a person feels when they go through this kind of bereavement, bereavement for the loss of a child, which at any moment, you could be touching, caressing. Some of us had already felt it move in our belly. The child was that close to you.
Over many years, I myself went through levels of indescribable suffering in an attempt to conceive. All the suffering I endured with the treatments would have been insignificant if the end result had been different.
But it wasn’t different.
I’ve experienced this loss several times and it’s impossible to overcome it. You can file it away in a hidden drawer in your head and tell yourself that life has to go on. Some of us deal with it by racing to have another child, a child that will help us to get over the oppressive grief we are feeling.
We really want to replace what we have lost through enormous pain and sorrow. For some of us, it works. But, for some of us, it doesn’t. And some of us don’t want to carry on using our bodies for experiments that may not succeed. I’m one of the women who made the decision not to get pregnant again. I won’t lie. The desire is stronger than ever after a miscarriage, loss of a pregnancy, or a stillbirth.
At the time, this is what you need even more than you need air to breathe: a replacement for a child you lost. But I also understood that another failed pregnancy could bring me to a very dark place, and sometimes I admit to myself that I’m not psychologically capable of doing it again…. It’s OK. This is in spite of the heavy personal and social price I’m paying for not carrying another child in my own body. This realization came to me after I tried to imagine what would happen to my soul if it were to go to those same places again, a tragic ending with my legs raised in the air sitting on the torture chair, getting ready to once again put an end to something that had not yet actually begun.
For anyone who has gone through these difficult experiences, this site attempts to explain such experiences in light of the knowledge we have today. One of the reasons I don’t like to explain and talk about my own difficult experiences is that anyone who has been through them doesn’t need any explanations. And others are unable to comprehend how we felt at the time or how we feel now.
I decided to go in the direction of surrogacy, a process that is also not easy in any shape or form, but it’s a solution of sorts for someone like myself who is unable to conceive again for whatever reason.
It’s enough for me to take one look into the eyes of someone who has had to endure it for everything to be clear to me. One look can reveal all the pain, all the sorrow, all the burden, the new burden. The burden of loss. And it’s not a regular loss; it’s a whole different type of loss. A small piece of your body has been taken away from you forever and it will never return.
All the solutions I offer on this site are intended to help, to give you the strength to get through a dark and difficult period in your life and to tell you something: there is something to strive for. Even if not for another baby, there’s something to strive for. You can take these staggeringly difficult losses and channel the pain from them towards achieving new goals, towards new horizons for you and for your life.
How best to channel my pain came to me many months after my last loss. And it came to me in the form of running. (Read about this in Running game me my life back – running therapy.) Out of the blue, I started to love running, which I hadn’t loved at any other point in my life. There’s something about running that frees the whole body from all the heavy burdens it’s carrying.
Even if everything is not resolved, when running, you can process all the events you have experienced in your head and try to find ways to deal with them. For me, this happens when I run. There’s something symbolic in the fact that I have connected with running for the first time in my life, since it’s a form of escapism, to leave everything behind and just run, to escape from reality, to forget that it exists and just be in a field full of weeds. In fact, it doesn’t matter if the field is full of dead weeds or full of amazingly beautiful trees, you just keep on running.
Everyone can find the place to which they feel they can escape their reality, and try to come to terms with what has happened to them. The image I conjure up resembles a small shadow that always follows me around. It’s is always there; it’s impossible to hide it even if you try everything you can.
It moves alongside you all through your life and will stay with you until the day you die. It’s always there. This shadow evokes every emotion in you: sadness, fear, tension, stress, a constant longing for what could have been. And the idea is to learn to live with it.
I’m pleased to see so many sites offering magical remedies for those of you who are experiencing such a severe loss but my truth is simple: there are no magical remedies. You have to live alongside the shadow. To accept it along with the revulsion you feel for it. To understand that it’s here to stay. And once you grasp this, find new ways to pull you out of your bereavement even for a while.
The main thing is not to mourn all the time because it leads to places it’s difficult to recover from. And now I’m going to whisper something into your ear, a small truth from me to you. Probably the only thing that someone should have said to me, yet no one did. No, we don’t want to hear clichés or get a pat on the back that everything was for the best like: “It’s better than raising an unhealthy child.” or “Life would be ruined for you with a child with Down syndrome.” or “You’ll have another child.” No no, none of these please.
What we do need is a hug and someone to say to us: “I’m so so so sorry that it happened to you. It’s not your fault in any way. And no, there was nothing in this world, in this universe, in this pregnancy, that you could have done differently to get a different result. You don’t deserve it !!!! It’s not your fault!!!!”
It’s important to remember that there’s an iron-clad rule: a healthy and genetically normal embryo survives. An abnormal embryo does not survive a pregnancy even if you look after yourself properly and do everything “right”.
And all this disgust, all this sorrow did happen to you, maybe to get you to understand that your life needs to go in a different direction. Remember that you will get through it and you will get stronger from it. Even if it seems impossible at the time.
All the medical explanations and all the scientific descriptions that appear below are intended to prevent you from having to go through this difficult experience again and to give you all the information you need to make informed decisions out of an awareness and understanding of the aspects of your next pregnancy, should you desire it. You’re not alone!!!!
In the reality we live in, we are a transparent group of people. For people like us who have experienced a difficult loss or losses, we are expected to carry on as if nothing had transpired, to continue with “business as usual”. To go ahead with our usual tasks, our accomplishments, our day-to-day reality.
No one actually allows us to comprehend that what we have experienced was indeed difficult and that it’s definitely not easy for us to go back to functioning the same as we did before and sometimes, we don’t even manage to do that. Yes, something difficult did happen to us. The aim of this site is to give you a bunch of practical solutions to properly cope and to help you understand that yes, something difficult did happen to you. It’s not nothing.
You’ll be surrounded by people who’ll try to encourage you and give you strength by saying things like: “It’s all for the best.”, “You’ll have more children.”, “Try again.” and even if it’s said with good intentions, hearing these things is frustrating and depressing.
Losing your pregnancy is significant.
Nothing can justify or replace what you’ve lost.
Your tears are important.
I’d like to share here two events.
Events like these always have meaning for someone who has had a miscarriage or a still birth; they are their whole world. Miscarriages and still births cause pain that is difficult to get rid of. It’s like a wound that cannot heal, doesn’t heal completely. Every time it starts bleeding again.
The first occurred when I came to pick up my five-year-old son from his kindergarten. I noticed a pregnant mother in her third month. She was talking to another mother about being pregnant. She was speaking about when she’ll be on maternity leave. She had it all planned out. She could afford to dream and believe that it would come true. For me, it was cut short as if it had never been. At the time, I had been pregnant for a while but that’s it. No. No more. And no, I couldn’t even think about maternity leave. I never got to.
And life went back to normal as if nothing had happened. December 9 was the date of the D&C. Five whole months have passed since then. And it feels as if nothing has happened outside and everything happened inside me.
I don’t know how to stop suffering from that loss and the one before it. I just can’t do it. My mind can’t stop wandering back to that place, to the place that understands that the child who once existed will no longer exist. The thoughts about my body and what has become of it after the treatments, after the unfulfilled pregnancies and the D&Cs.
And the body, the body has to continue to function as usual: to get up, walk around, come and go, all the normal things it does. But the pain still sneaks up on it at times.
The second event involves images that are burned into my consciousness permanently. My son was celebrating his birthday. The party organizer is there, the children are there. There’s a show. And I’m sitting on the side and the tears just burst uncontrollably out of my body. They flow and flow for my broken life. Then someone came up to me and told me it was a happy occasion and that I should be happy. Yes. It’s a happy event. It should be happy but the body feels like it has shattered into a million parts. A D&C at week 16 of a live embryo with Down syndrome is an experience that feels like someone has put a cigarette out on your body. And this body ……. wow, how many traumas it has had to endure. I look at myself at the event and don’t recognize the person sitting there at all. I had put on a huge top to hide my belly but it was still there. The embryo was no longer present but my belly was still protruding as if to remind me of what had been there and what will not be there again.
My belly was deceiving and I all I wanted was that no one would congratulate me. Then I’ll have a complete breakdown. As long as no one notices my belly. For a long time, I wore extra-large tops so that no one would see my belly. As long as they don’t say anything. Every time they congratulated me, I felt like they were hurting me physically.
Then the kindergarten teacher told me she had heard that congratulations were in order. My son had told her I couldn’t lift him so she drew conclusions. So then I had to explain. And you recite what happened to you like a creature made of stone. You talk and your lips move as if it didn’t actually happen to you. This is a different character, a character outside of yourself. And since at all sorts of events, you have to explain to other people and every time you talk about it, you have to pretend that it did not burn your soul from within.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to expose all this to an environment that has no idea how to cope with this pain at all. In fact, the environment prefers to remove itself from this pain, from this sorrow. The reactions can be detachment, embarrassment, and even if there is some empathy, there is no real understanding of what happened to you. What you went through. And so, the feeling of loneliness in the world just gets bigger. You walk around feeling like everything’s fine but, inside you, know it’s not.
What does help me now to deal with the miscarriages I went through is the mindfulness technique. I came to the realization that my pain had become an integral part of me, of my being. In fact, my identification with the pain is so great that I no longer know where the pain ends and where I start.
In my subconscious, it seems to me that if I stop hurting, then nothing would be left of everything I went through. There is no baby anymore. He isn’t in pain anymore and then I will really be left with nothing, also without an ego. My bruised ego has suffered such severe blows that it was not really able to let go of the pain. That’s all it has left. Because of mindfulness, I have learned to separate myself from my pain.
To understand that there are two separate entities. I stopped being a slave to my pain and stopped allowing it to define and control me. Instead of being involved with my pain, I try to deal with the present moment and everything that is reflected from it. Everything that my senses allow me to see, touch, and feel. When you live in the moment, there is no more past, no future; there is only this moment. The present. I do this best when I run.