October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, so I wanted to reflect a bit about the loss of our first child, and what my miscarriage taught me.
It’s been a year since I had a miscarriage, and though I’m grateful to be carrying a child again now (seriously I thank God every single day), I still have days when I think about the one that didn’t survive past six weeks. I’ve talked about the emotional aspect of my miscarriage previously, so I won’t dwell on it, but I do want to share what my miscarriage taught me.
I’m incredibly blessed to have both of my parents still living. I haven’t been the victim or witness to any crime or sexual abuse. I’ve had a great education, never went hungry, and have found a loving and caring life partner. To be honest, my life has been more or less a breeze. I can largely credit my parents for that, who hustled hard, sheltered harder, and nurtured me to provide a world where I didn’t experience pain or suffering.
Having a miscarriage was the first real traumatic life experience that I’ve endured.
It was the great equalizer in my life, popping my bubble of privilege and success. The cramped bleeding that happened after my positive pregnancy test didn’t care that I was smart. It didn’t care that I was in a committed marriage. It didn’t care that I was financially stable. It didn’t care that I was “above average”. In fact, my miscarriage slapped me into a reality that I am in fact an ordinary person, who despite some extraordinary merits, is not immune to normal life struggles.
And miscarriages are normal. In fact, up to 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, though many end before being detected by a pregnancy test. If I had waited just one more day to test, I would have never known I was pregnant. I believe that I needed to take that test, I needed to get excited and then become distraught, withdrawn, and angry with God and with life itself because I needed a healthy dose of humble pie.
And if I’m honest with myself, it was a lesson I needed to learn. I don’t think that I’m snobby, but I am acutely aware that I have a better life than most people. Sometimes, despite my best efforts, that makes me out of touch with reality – out of touch with peoples’ daily struggles of pain, helplessness, and despair. But when I had a miscarriage, especially after trying to get pregnant for months and truly believing that I had lived a morally good enough life to deserve to have a child, I came back to a reality that every single good thing that happens to me is nothing besides a blessing and a gift.
I remember when I told my mom about the miscarriage, she comforted me with words along these lines: “Don’t worry, don’t stress about it. This is totally normal and happens to a lot of women.” And while it wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the time, it was and is completely true. When I shared about our difficulty conceiving earlier this year, I was met with an overwhelming response from my community from women who shared their own fertility journeys, many of which included miscarriages, some more than one. It wasn’t until then that I felt at peace with my miscarriage, with the knowledge that it was a shared reality that many other women had gone through, and had also endured. Although difficult to experience, and impossible to ever forget, my miscarriage reminded me of my normalcy, and helped me be more grateful for everything wonderful thing that I’ve ever experienced.