My degree taught me much about grief, well beyond the stages. I have read multiple scholarly publications and chapters in textbooks on grief, but going through the process is completely different.
Something I have often mentioned in connection with adoption is ambiguous loss. Ambiguous loss is a term that describes so many things, including miscarriage.
I lay on my couch most of the day in constant pain with cramping, and very weak because of bleeding. Most miscarriages are described as a heavy period. Not mine. Contractions, after birth pains, and heavy bleeding (with clotting) is not like my last miscarriage. It is like when I last gave birth.
Except I don’t have a baby to hold.
At times I feel like my grief isn’t real. I am sure that some people do not understand it, thinking that a miscarriage is really nothing, something that happens frequently (which it does). I mean, it’s not like I lost a child.
But I did. I did lose a child. I have the pictures to prove it. Sure the baby wasn’t fully formed with two feet, a round head, a nose, two eyes, and a mouth, but it was my baby–it had a heart beat– and I gave birth to it. I went through the painful contractions and all the icky after birth stuff.
The hardest part is not having a body to place inside a tiny grave. This is what makes the loss ambiguous. What can I feel?
Sometime soon, Ben and I will have a small memorial service. I read about this in one of the many books I have around the house as a possible way to bring closure to this kind of loss. It will be small and intimate, mirroring our pain.
My appetite is gone these days. Even chocolate has lost its flavor. Foods aren’t comforting when they don’t heal the wound in your heart.
My family brings comfort and so does the Atonement. Holding my kids, laughing with my husband, praying to Heavenly Father–these are things that bring light to my dark world. I know that different memories will trigger moments of sorrow and even tears. Memories associated with this pregnancy and my last pregnancies because my grief has many many layers. Yet, I don’t feel hopeless. I have faith, much faith, and I know that there is a plan. But this sorrow is something I will embrace.
Thank you all for your hugs, both virtual and real. Even though I was frightened to share my pregnancy so early and confused by the impression to do so, I am glad I did.
A week ago I wrote, “I really believe that each of you held me up with your good thoughts, well wishes, and prayers. ” I want to rephrase that. I really believe that each of you hold me up with your good thoughts, well wishes, and prayers. Thank you for being here during this difficult time.