Many young girls dream of their wedding. Of their partner. Of the dress. I had one dream. To be a mom. I never pictured my wedding or prince charming. I imagined my kids. I named them. Often silly soap opera sounding names. I assumed, for no reason I can fathom, that they would be boys and they would be blonde. Being a mother was my dream and my priority. So when Todd and I got married we didn’t waste time. Married in January, I was pregnant in April. Not the first month we tried. I was hysterical that I didn’t get pregnant that first month. Cursed myself for taking birth control for so long…My doctor set me straight. Pregnancy often takes six months to a year. While that scared me I listened and kept trying. I got pregnant the next month. And man was I pregnant. Within weeks I was craving diet coke and protein. I did not drink the former and ate a LOT of the latter. I sat at my desk at work feeling nauseous all the time. Never throwing up. Just low level “man a diet coke would make me feel better right now” sick.
One of my best friends was getting married in Los Angeles. I was a bridesmaid. I would not miss this wedding for anything. Kristy, whom I call Gracie for a spectacular fall off a bicycle, is literally one of the best humans I know. My doctor assured me traveling was perfectly safe. I flew to LA thrilled to be staying with my childhood best friend Hillary who had two beautiful children, Charlie and Lucy. Life was very very good.
Winging my way west from NYC I wrote a letter to my nearly 3 month old lime sized baby. I wrote of how happy I was he was coming. How long I had waited for this time. How I hoped desperately I would be the mother he needed me to be. How I promised I was going to fuck up but I would always ALWAYS learn and try harder. I wrote a love letter to my baby infused with all my hopes for his life and of mine as mother to be. I remember how it felt to write to him. Purposeful and real in the most incredible way. I was pregnant! It was like no one had ever been pregnant before because I had never been pregnant before. I know. Thats loopy. But it felt so exhilarating and new.
I landed in LA and went about my trip. Thrilled to see my Hillary’s gorgeous children. To spend time doing everyday things with my best friends. I woke up one day with a back ache. I thought little of it. I was pregnant right? The backache was soon joined by cramps and while I was a little concerned I wasn’t yet panicking. Cramps were quickly joined by bleeding. Then the bleeding intensified. And thats when I knew something was very wrong. Hillary drove me to her OBGYN. They were kind and helpful. The doctor did an ultrasound. The only thing I remember him saying was “I’m so sorry Lara. You aren’t pregnant anymore.”
My brain processed what he said perfectly. And yet I said “what?” at least five times. How bizarre of me to assume that because I had gotten pregnant I would stay pregnant! Why had my mind never imagined the possibility of something happening? When the truth set in I began the useless and inevitable blame game. It was my fault. I flew on an airplane. I stopped taking the prenatal vitamins because they made me want to throw up. What else had I done?! The doctor looked at me as though he read my thoughts spiralling out of control. “This is not your fault. It happens. More often than not your body knows to let go of a pregnancy that should not have happened in the first place. This was likely a bad egg.” I looked up at him through tears and started cackling. I mean full blown belly laughs. A bad egg? Like past its “sell by” date? It couldn’t have been a bad sperm?!!! It WAS my fault.
The rest of the trip was a blur. I was so happy for my friend getting married and yet I was not myself. I look melancholy in the pictures. I found it difficult to do errands and see strollers and babies and pregnant women. Small talk felt impossible. I was simply, deeply sad. And yet one thing brought me solace. My best friends little boy, Charlie. Somehow sitting with Charlie was exactly what I needed. Charlie didn’t want to chit chat. He wasn’t looking at me with pity. He was a beautiful little boy who called me “La La” and wanted to play. And somehow being with him on the grass thinking about nothing was exactly what my broken heart needed.
The definition of miscarriage is twofold. First: the expulsion of a fetus from the womb especially spontaneously or as the result of accident and second: an unsuccessful outcome of something planned. Could a definition be more clinical? The word miscarriage reminds me an awful lot of the word mistake. The definition of the word miscarriage furthers that reminder. Accident. Unsuccessful outcome. These words all make it sound like the miscarrier, the woman, like I did something to cause the miscarriage. I hate that. I hate the word. I hate the implication. But most of all? I hate the fact that miscarriages happen when babies are so desperately wanted.
There are millions of women out there who have experienced the loss of a wanted pregnancy. Many who lose babies far later and thus, to me, the pain must be truly unbearable. I am sorry for anyone who felt that heartache. Who in a moment went from a time of joy to a time of mourning. The loss of miscarriage is doubled though… One mourns not just a life of a child lost but of the magical promise of parenthood to be.
Motherluckers: Miscarriage is part of many of our journeys to parenthood. We need to talk about it. We need to support each other. We need to say ‘me too” so others can know they are not alone and that it’s not their fault.