I believe God works in this world and that He works in mysterious ways, ways that I will never understand. But when last week, I reconnected with a dear friend whom I haven’t seen for a bit, and she said the words, “Mere, I have these words. These words I have to share because I know other people are hurting”, and as “chance” had it, this week is Infertility Awareness Week, we both agreed that this post most definitely was most destined to be shared with you. Today. Now. Please welcome the beautiful Amy Waltermyer in her first post as a Mom of the Year Contributor, and hold her dear heart in your hands as you read.
The last three years have, undoubtedly, been the most difficult of my life. We have been trying for a third baby and were over the moon when it happened quickly. My pregnancies with my older two children were, frankly, easy. So, when we went to a routine ultrasound in August (in my 9th week), and learned that the baby’s heart had stopped beating within the last day or two, we were beyond devastated. As soon as we got the go ahead to try again, we did, and again, we were blessed to get pregnant right away. On Dec 21st, we lost that baby, as well. We learned of the loss on the exact day we learned of the last loss (8 weeks and 3 days).
Our hearts were and are broken. And, while I’ve done (probably more than) my fair share of riding the roller coaster of emotions, I feel like the best I can do in this situation is to pass on what I’ve learned.
So….if you are a woman…or know a woman…please read on.
Miscarriage. It is one of the most mind-alteringly devastating situations in life. And, while a lot (I mean A LOT) of women go through them at some point in their child-bearing years, they are widely left undiscussed. As I maneuvered my way through the grieving process and opened up to those close to me, I learned just how common miscarriages are.
I learned that the depth of the pain from the loss of a child I never got to meet is like no pain I could have ever imagined.
I learned that I have an AMAZING support system that is still helping me through the daily ups and downs.
I learned that while this pain will never go away, it will fade and change over time. I will never forget the babies I lost, but day by day, it becomes a bit more bearable to face and to remember.
I also learned that most people just don’t know how to address a situation like this if they haven’t been through it themselves.
My advice? A simple “I’m so sorry.” (And maybe flowers…or chocolate…that can’t ever hurt…)
BUT…there are a few things that I heard said over – and over – and over – that simply did more harm than good. And, I place ZERO blame. If you haven’t been there, you just don’t know. Period. I’m quite sure I’ve uttered some of these to friends who had miscarriages before me. And… I’m no expert. I certainly don’t have the “right” answers.
But here are a few things I’d ask (beg, maybe) you to NOT say or do to a woman going through the loss of infertility:
- Was it early? This does not matter. At all. The truth is that no matter how early it happens, you have already gone into Mommy mode. You’ve already pictured the nursery. Thought of names. Dreamed of the future. You’ve done all of that – and more – and then lost it all. The hurt runs so deep. No matter when the loss happens, your hopes and dreams for that little one are taken away…just like that. So…whether it happens at 5 weeks…8 weeks…10 weeks…makes no difference at all.
- But look at what you’ve already been blessed with. I am absolutely blessed. I will be the first to say that. I have an amazing husband and two children who are truly my life. They make me want to be a better person. They make my heart sing. They complete me. BUT…the loss has nothing to do with them. It has everything to do with the place in my heart that aches for one more. Yes, I am complete. But there’s a whole new level of complete waiting for me once this third baby comes. They say you’ll just know when you are done having children. I am not done. Not yet. Blessed? Yes. Done? No.
- You are so young. You have plenty of time. While that may or may not be true, again, this is not the point. Age, the gap between kids, the time of year…yes, they are things we, as women, consider. Yes, they might seem important at the time. When it comes right down to it, though, let’s remember the issue here…I lost a baby. A little person. A piece of my heart. So, while after having my first baby at 26, I didn’t expect to still be having babies at (almost) 34, my age doesn’t scare me. My age doesn’t break my heart. My loss does.
- Were you trying? Ummm…I mean, that’s a personal one all around (I’ve been very open up to this point, so why stop here? Yes. Definitely trying). But…it doesn’t matter. Trying. Not trying. Losing a baby. The end result is the same. Sheer pain. A deep, cutting pain. So, how that little life was conceived makes no difference at all.
- Silence. Talk to me. Please. Yes, I want to feel normal again. But, I also want to know that you care. That you realize that this loss has taken a part of me and changed a bit of who I am. Talking won’t always be easy for either of us. Some days, I’ll cry when you ask. Some days, I’ll be angry. Some days, I’ll smile. But every time you check in, I will love that you are remembering what I’ve gone through and the life that I’ve lost.
If you are reading this to support someone you love, please know that it is your love…your concern…your thoughts and prayers… that will mean the most. You may feel helpless, but I assure you, you are not. Give your loved one a hug. Let her know you care. Join her in doing something just for her…something that will make her smile. Check in to see how she’s doing. Know that some days will be harder than others. The day she would’ve had the “big” ultrasound…the first holiday after a loss…the due date…these will be all very, very difficult. Be a friend. That’s what she needs more than anything.
If you are reading because you are – or have been – in a similar situation, it will get better. I promise. It will never stop hurting, but eventually, you will return to a similar version of the “you” you were before the loss.
And…I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry for your loss.
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