Part of the “club”

After my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, I read somewhere that 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. “Wow,” I thought that was such a high percentage considering in all my life, I never heard of anyone, except my mother, speak of such losses.

That fact provided some sense of normalcy to my loss although I was still grieving for my unborn child, for my hopes & dreams associated with my child. I felt lost, empty, sad and angry.

Angry that since I was only seven weeks along, and I hadn’t announced my pregnancy, I felt I had to hide the entire experience as if it never happened! I took one sick day…one. I cried at work…frequently…sometimes in front of students. As an educator in an urban setting, it was important to remain “strong” and emotionally stable…or so I thought only four years into my career.

I wanted to talk about my emotional pain. But I couldn’t figure out why… If 25% of women go through this, no one had ever talked about it to me? How will I be perceived if I do? A downer? A whiner? An attention-seeker?

I remember wanting to start a movement so women who experience these losses can talk about it freely. For health insurance to recognize miscarriage as a “death in the family,” in order to obtain a doctor’s note so employers can give the entitled “grieving” three to five days off from work that I desperately needed!

Now, 10 years later, one successful pregnancy and two more losses later, I am noticing more women “talking” about miscarriages, but I notice that women sometimes tell me in confidence because they know that I will understand.
I can’t help but wonder if women have always had this secret society/club where it is acceptable and safe to “talk?” Or if more women are actually “talking?” Unfortunately, I am not only a member of this “club,” but each loss I have experienced has been significantly more and more traumatic.

My second pregnancy ended as an ectopic pregnancy at 13 weeks. I had announced my pregnancy the night before I had to have emergency surgery…with complications. I felt scared, relieved that I survived, confused and angry at the universe.

I got five days off of work due to the surgery and its complications. However, I was bombarded with supportive words and gestures from my friends…because they knew. It was nice at the time. Soon after, there was no talking about it.

A few years later, I was pregnant again, and remained pregnant for 39 weeks. I delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl. That pregnancy wasn’t easy though.

Coincidentally, both of my previous losses occurred on a Sunday. So every Sunday, I had anxiety, fearful that I would lose this one like the others. Words can’t explain the level of fear that I experienced! I hid from the world and starting Monday I began dreading the next Sunday.

I love my healthy baby girl with all my heart and I believe that she was the reason I survived my most recent loss. As a result I have recently become part of another “club.” At 23 weeks and 4 days I was forced to make the most painful decision of my life. I still cannot talk about it…

–El

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