I would be seven months pregnant now with my first pregnancy. Or almost 11 weeks with my second. I was thinking about that in the shower last night – how different things could be right now (but aren’t). So I resign myself to more (seemingly endless) waiting. I’m impatient and angry and really, really sad, but in the real world, where the days keep unfolding one after another whether I want them to or not, there’s not much I can do about any of it. So as the world (my job, my parents, and even J, despite the fact that he is most certainly traveling this path of grief and hope with me) makes it clear that I have no choice but to pick up the pieces and keep going (or at least fake it), I’ve been thinking about how I do that. I did it after the last miscarriage and here I am, trying to do it again.
Though at the moment I’m moving forward with anything but grace, I’ve been thinking a lot about an email my mom wrote me after the first miscarriage. It was a long message, filled with everything from empathy to humor to inspiration, but it’s this thought of hers that keeps coming back to me: “I have come to the conclusion that life is mainly one long struggle for survival and what makes us human is the grace with which we navigate the paths we are given to travel.” This is the sort of view that I’m striving for. At the moment, I’m hopelessly far from achieving it, but at least it’s out there.
Meanwhile, in the messy day-to-day, I have ways of coping. I realize that others in my situation do this very differently and obviously there’s no right answer. We all grieve differently and find different ways to keeping going; this is just the way I do it (or rather some of the ways):
- I quit Facebook. I actually did this before I got pregnant the first time, because (among a million other good reasons) my “newsfeed” had become a long list of pregnancy announcements and baby pictures. We had been trying for two years at that point and I couldn’t take it. I’m glad to say I’ve stayed away ever since.
- I didn’t let myself believe the second pregnancy would work out
- I threw out the “Your Pregnancy, Blah, Blah” book the doctor gave me, but kept the ultrasound pictures from both pregnancies.
- We didn’t name the fetuses and I don’t have any regrets about this. They both stopped developing around 8 weeks and while I do have quite a lot of reverence for the fact that I was (however briefly) carrying the beginnings of two lives, they weren’t yet individuals to me.
- We read books aloud, watch lots of tv-via-Netflix, and keep a bottle of wine nearby; distraction is key.
- I accept that some amount of denial is inevitable.
- I also accept that the sadness goes on longer than anyone around me expects it to.
- I try to walk the often elusive line between hope for the future and an acceptance of the bleakness that is the current moment.
- I tell some people what we’re going through, but keep it from others.
- When I’m angry, I yell at J because he’s always here to take it, but I also love him more now than I ever have.
- I’m not sending holiday cards or gifts this year and I’m not feeling guilty.
- We’re simultaneously looking into adoption and options for future pregnancies.
- I started this blog, but so far I haven’t shared it with anyone who knows me in real life, except J.
Your list probably looks different. This is just mine and as much as anything could work for me right now, it does.