I have seen many women mourn for the babies they had too soon. I have rejoiced with them when they finally gave birth to their rainbow babies. I have been a witness to their pain, but I cannot say that I completely understand. I too, have had miscarriages, but my feelings were very different. Maybe it’s because I didn’t even know I was pregnant to begin with either time. I’m certain that is a vital factor, but since I didn’t I can not speak for that. I did not struggle with infertility which would have made the experience much different I can also assume. I was not far enough along to even consider I might possibly be pregnant. In my mind, I was an otherwise healthy woman who was temporarily sick.
I did not cry. I do not know their estimated birthdays. I did not know the gender. I did not pick out names. There was no mourning. I do not know how old they would be today. I did not consider the children that followed as rainbow babies. I simply do not feel a loss.
Does that make me a bad person?
I say all this not to disregard the pain women feel dealing with miscarriages, but to tell women who feel ashamed because they aren’t loud in their loss awareness posts and social media meme sharing that its ok. We aren’t less loving. We aren’t less caring. We aren’t heartless cold shells of women because we expelled an early pregnancy without pomp and circumstance.
An even more staggering fact is many women will miscarry and never even know at all. The truth is miscarriages will happen in 10-25% of pregnancies. They’ll be mistaken for heavy periods, late periods, or otherwise regular periods. Those types of statistics in my mind fall into the category of somewhat normal bodily functions and that is how my brain has chosen to process them.
If you have suffered a loss, know I am genuinely sympathetic. I will listen to you talk about the plans, the dreams you had for your baby. I will listen to the names you had chosen. I will imagine with you what they might look like today as you know exactly how old they would be. I will celebrate the rainbow baby that we pray to follow. I will hurt with you because I know you aren’t me and you do not think like me. You don’t believe as I do. Your life experiences are your own. You have lost a child, and that is a pain I hope to never feel. Therefore, I have 100% ability to experience empathy and mourn with you.
All I ask is that you not judge me when I do not feel or act the same. Do not act offended because I did not tell you about my miscarriage. I don’t tell you about my every period either, so I don’t feel I have to tell you this. If I do confide in you, do not tell me “I’m sorry” because I am not. Bring me fresh underwear and a heating pad. Offer to watch my kids while I drive to my doctor appointment if I feel I need to be seen. Ask me if I am physically okay and bring me my favorite snacks while I ride this out. Above all, do not refer to what is happening to me as a loss. Do not refer to the mangled mess in my oversized pad as a “baby.” No. Do not. I can’t deal with that.
I can hurt with you. I can understand the point of view of mothers who do feel a loss. I will always be here to talk with you through any loss you suffer. I can talk about symptoms and the physical pain with you. Just stop judging me for how I feel about my own bodily functions.