In 2012, I was the mother of two kind, intelligent, compassionate, beautiful daughters. They were four and six years old at the time, and my husband and I had decided to expand our family. My husband is one of four children and I'm one of three so we figured that was about how many children we would end up with too. Getting pregnant with my daughters had been easy...startlingly easy, and I naively assumed conceiving and carrying our third would be much the same. Until it wasn't.
When I experienced pregnancy loss, I was heartbroken. I felt sure I'd done something wrong or was being punished for some past sin, despite being trained as a doula and childbirth educator, therefore being fully aware of how common miscarriage is. Rationally, I knew it wasn't my fault, there wasn't any fault to be had, but the pain of that loss wasn't logical.
When I shared what I was going through with a few people, a couple of them (I'm sure they had the best intentions) decided to remind me that at least I already had two daughters, that even if my body wasn't up for having any more children, at least I already had the two.
I initially balked at these words, appalled that one, or two, or however many children could be seen as a consolation prize for losing another, but yet and still something about those words resonated with something I was already feeling and they stayed with me.
I don't talk about my loss much and that is mostly because there is a part of me that thinks my loss is less significant because I had two children when it happened. I worry that talking about my loss is insensitive toward women who have not yet carried a pregnancy to term and birthed their rainbow baby. I worry that talking about my loss makes me ungrateful for the blessings I do have.
This feeling has intensified now that I've gone on to have my third child and am pregnant with my fourth, but the memory of loss is still with me.
In the first trimesters of my pregnancies with my third and soon to be fourth children, I still agonized over every twinge of pain or discomfort in my lower abdomen. I still spent and am spending my current pregnancy praying I won't see any blood in the toilet when I go to the bathroom. I still hold my breath in those moments between when my midwife turns the Doppler on and when she finds the baby's heartbeat.
I feel all of these things and more, I just don't talk about them because I feel like I'm not allowed. But, I am learning in this experience and in other areas of my life, that the only person I need permission from is me. I have to give myself permission to feel my loss and share that loss when I feel moved to (like now). I have to remind myself that I can feel loss and gratitude at the same time and that one does not diminish the other.