I don’t believe any mother wants to publicly admit that she’s hit her child out of frustration. No mother wants to share that she contemplated suicide, divorce, disappearing. No woman wants to admit that she can’t carry a child in her womb. Yet we are surrounded by these women every day, the majority of whom are suffering in silence, sinking under the weight of her own thoughts. Would it surprise you to know that I am the woman who hit her child out of frustration, who contemplated suicide, asked her husband for a divorce, and daydreamed of packing her bags, walking out the door and never looking back? Would it surprise you to know that I am the woman who is ashamed that she’s been unable to carry three children in her womb? I am that woman, my friends.
No, I’m not referring to hiring a housekeeper or a personal chef, I’m talking about finding a professional to talk to. A therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, etc.
Last week was a rough one for me. I had been dressing my face in a smile and plowing through the myriad of things that were on my plate. And adding more and more to my plate. And then a little more. In two weeks’ time, my back went out and I came down with the flu. In two months’ time I had battled a cold, had my back go out twice, and come down with the flu. In three months’ time I had suffered a sinus infection, a UTI, another cold, my back going out twice, and the flu. If I went back another month, there would be yet another cold added to the mix. Yet, I still didn’t get it. I honestly thought that it was just back luck, until I reached the breaking point.
It began with being ticked-off…at the world. Then I began crying spontaneously. Finally, I just found it difficult to breathe. I had had it. Even my daily routine was difficult, especially with the stress of obligations, looming deadlines, and self-imposed work that needed to be done. I cracked, lost it. I won’t go into the details here, because really, I think you get the picture.
My husband was the target of my pent-up anger, sadness, stress, and anxiety, all rolled into a big ball of bitterness. I lost it — did he even realize that our first angel baby would have been due around this time? It’s true, men and women deal with miscarriage very differently, but honestly, I just didn’t deal with it at all. I came to the realization that I hadn’t even dealt with my first loss, let alone the loss I suffered right before Christmas. My husband is practical about it: miscarriage just happens; it’s sad, but it happens and you have to move on.
You know how I moved on from my first miscarriage over the summer? I treated my life like a buffet line, putting every possible thing I could on my plate. I made myself so busy that I barely had time to think about my loss. And once I became insanely busy, I got pregnant again. I was busy and I was happy. Things were taking off for me professionally and we were expecting another bundle of joy. Yes, I was wary and cautious with this baby, not really accepting the pregnancy into my heart, vowing not to accept it until I hit 14 weeks.
Two months into my pregnancy, I started warming to the idea that we would be welcoming a baby right around our son’s birthday in the summer. And then the bleeding began. I tend to bleed during pregnancy, as my husband constantly reminded me, but I had already been wounded by miscarriage and my heart was heavy with a sense of foreboding. After a week of bleeding, and around eight hours of labor, I held my baby in my hand. A far cry from the sterile D&E I had done this past summer. This was real, and intense, and heartbreaking.
Then end result? Two miscarriages in six months’ time. I’ll be honest and tell you that I think it’s completely unfair. I know it’s selfish to think that way, especially when I already have a healthy little boy. Devastated. But, I pulled myself together to get through Christmas with my son (my god, that was difficult). A month later, my plate is full, I can’t say no, and my life is busy again (insanely busy).
Great things are happening for me professionally, and more opportunities are coming my way, yet my moments of happiness and excitement are fleeting, momentary. I’ve worked very hard, and been patient, to get to where I am, and where I continue to go. But, I hit the breaking point I mentioned above. It’s not normal to break into tears at the sight of a pregnant woman, is it? To sit alone in a house with a toddler and cry, for no apparent reason?
My husband mentioned the D word, and suggested that I go speak to someone. That we would do whatever we needed to make sure that I was okay. He presented me with a list of people to check out and possibly call; I made my first call yesterday. The first person was not taking patients, so I’ll call my second choice today.
You see, I had been going so hard, so fast, that I didn’t allow myself to think about my losses (I didn’t want to think about my losses). The minute I had a break in my work, I collapsed. In reality, my body had been trying to tell me that everything wasn’t okay for a few months now.
Sometimes taking care of oneself means having to seek professional help. I am so deep in my depression that I no longer notice that I’m sad, because I just feel numb with a bit of anger sprinkled in. I will keep calling until I can get in to see someone. I’ll keep trying to say no, and stop piling my plate so high. Right now it’s really all about taking tiny steps in the right direction (once I figure out what that direction even is). Somewhere, deep inside of myself, I know that I’m good enough and that I deserve to be good to myself.
I don’t really want to write about this, heck, I’ve not even wanted to talk to anyone about anything in the past month. I curl into a shell and become a recluse when I’m depressed…as I’ve been for the last month. Next week will mark two months since miscarrying, and some days the pain feels incredibly fresh and new.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt as down as I have in the past month, so tired and unmotivated to even do the outdoor things that I love. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was suffering from PPD, but I’ve not really known what to do about it except to grieve and keep pushing myself through this. Friends and family have suggested support groups, but I just don’t want to keep rehashing it…I want to move forward.
With Declan, I was fortunate enough to avoid PPD, in large part (I believe) because my husband encapsulated my placenta. Placebo or not, I felt a noticeable decrease in energy within days of finishing my placenta pills…but that is a topic for an entirely different post. I felt wonderful after being pregnant for 9 months and, despite the insane hormone drop that occurs after childbirth, was in great spirits.
While I’ve not been diagnosed with PPD since miscarrying, I crossed the line from grief to depression when it took everything I had just to care for my little man each day. There have been days when I have lost patience with D, snapping at him and just being overwhelmed by it all. I know a part of it is because I just never had any time to myself, to rest, to heal after the 2 surgical procedures and 2 day labor & miscarriage I experienced in a two week period of time. I was traumatized and never really had the chance to process everything. I really needed time to just be.
I think the depression didn’t hit me until this past month because the first month was spent in and out of doctors offices, the emergency room and surgery. I felt physically unwell throughout it all and for weeks afterwards, losing 15 pounds in the process. All of this got in the way of me dealing with the fact that my baby had died.
Like the hormone drop after childbirth, I woke up one day a month ago feeling numb and wishing that I could stay under the covers all day. Thankfully, having an active 13 month old doesn’t allow for that, so I was forced out of bed every morning and went full throttle through the day. I was, however, going through the motions. I hit such a dark point that I felt the need to tell my husband that I was drowning and could barely keep my head above it all. Just the act of reaching out was incredibly cathartic for me. Once I had let others know that I was struggling, I began to slowly feel a bit better.
I wish I could tell you that I’m feeling great and loving life 2 months after miscarrying, but the truth is that I’m not. My baby was due January 24th, and many women (due around the same time) are announcing their pregnancies right now. It hits me like a punch in the gut, stealing my breath and bringing me to tears. I wish I could see a pregnant woman and not think about the baby I lost, the baby we won’t be welcoming into our family in the new year. Just recently, I was at MommyCon and absolutely lost it when they asked the attendees for a show of hands of people who had found out that they were expecting in March, April or May. I looked around at the women who were as pregnant as I should have been. I had to leave the room to collect myself in the bathroom. These intense feelings of grief and sadness come completely out of the blue and with a force I’ve never known. I’m covered in tears even now as I write this.
Each day gets a little better, a little easier. As I said the day we found out, I believe everything happens for a reason. As I get a little more distance from the event, I’m able to see the positives of not having a baby arriving in January. The main thing is that we have more time with Declan by himself. We’re able to fully take in this time with him, and I’m able to be fully present with him without the distraction of pregnancy. And, on those overwhelming days with just one, I’m thankful that D will be older and a little more independent when we do welcome another child into our family.
While my initial reaction was to try again as soon as I was cleared by the doctor, we decided to wait at least another month. Part of me doesn’t want to get pregnant again, as I’m deathly afraid of going through miscarriage again. The rational side of me realizes that there is always the possibility of miscarriage, and the odds of it happening again are not that great. I just don’t want to spend an entire pregnancy being afraid of losing my baby, and feel that I will be on an emotional tightrope when and if I get pregnant again. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t have to figure it out today, in this moment…