Moving Forward after Miscarriage
I initially wasn’t going to write anything about this for months, but it just seemed weird to not address what’s been going on after not posting on the blog for a month. It also didn’t seem right to just jump back into my regularly programmed content without talking about it. Everything about going through this hasn’t seemed right, but I guess that’s what happens when you experience a miscarriage.
Miscarriage. Another word that has entered my life and changed my life, forever.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’re aware of what Dustin and I have been going through this month. The first week of November, at our second prenatal appointment in which we expected to hear a heartbeat and get a due date, we found out that we were miscarrying. That we wouldn’t be parents. There wouldn’t be a Baby Carr joining our family in June. I still can’t find the right words to describe that kind of heartbreak – finding out that the baby you have been dreaming of and hoping for and already so in love with no longer exists. Devastating comes close, but it still doesn’t convey the depths of despair that we fell through over the last few weeks. It’s excruciating. It’s crippling. It’s total darkness.
Now we’re about a month removed from that awful day and life continues to move forward, as it always does. I get up, get dressed, and go to work. I try to put on a brave face while picking up the pieces of my life to see if I can put them back together. And I’m learning as I go.
I’m learning that there is no “back to normal”
This is something I already have ingrained, deep in my bones. After chemo, I desperately wanted to go back to my life before cancer. I wanted to be a normal teenager again. But there is no “back to normal” when you experience this level of grief and trauma. There is “before cancer” and “after cancer.” And I’m now learning that there is “before the miscarriage” and “after the miscarriage.”
Experiences like this stay with you, are engraved on your heart and leave scars on your soul. And now, I’m on a path to finding a new normal, one where my future looks different and one with new scars. Sometimes that future makes me so sad. And other times, that future makes me hopeful. Regardless, it is MY future and there is no changing the past, so I must do my best to move forward.
I’m learning how complex grief is
For the first week, I literally felt like the sadness would swallow me up whole. I questioned everything about my life and who I am and my future. I questioned my faith. I felt like I had “done my time” so to say, with cancer, and wanted to know why I was being given another burden to carry. I found myself hating my body and feeling like it had betrayed me once again. I literally wanted to crawl out of my skin and sleep for days.
Every now and then, I would have moments of “why am I so sad?” We weren’t pregnant for very long, this happens very frequently, we didn’t meet this baby, it didn’t even have a heartbeat.
But here’s the truth: Dustin and I lost our baby. And that comes with a very deep and real pain that demands to be felt.
I’m learning that you can be sad and happy at the same time
A month out and I feel like I’m finding my footing again. I find myself smiling at silly things my dogs are doing. I find myself laughing at a joke my co-worker told. I find myself making plans for the weekend and feeling excited about them (instead of guilty for even making plans.) I find myself singing to songs on the radio, going shopping with some blogging friends, and wanting to respond to texts.
And even though I still feel that sadness all the time, I’m learning that I can be happy, too. I’m learning that I can still find joy, I can still pursue my passions, I can still laugh, and still grieve our loss and that it’s okay.
I’m learning that it’s okay to be sad. And that it’s okay to be happy. And that it is possible to still live a vibrant life with all those emotions.
When something bad happens, you have three choices: You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.
I’m learning that while it’s important to grieve, it’s also important to find hope and hold on to it. There was a point, a few weeks ago, where I felt myself seriously slipping down a slope and realizing that I wouldn’t be able to get back up if I didn’t do something. So, I cut and colored my hair. I bought some new clothes. I sat down and made some plans for my “new normal” and my future. I have allowed this experience to break me down and now I’m going to use it and build myself back up.
I want to be someone who would be proud to call me “mom.”
And so, that’s where I’m at right now. Finding my new normal, experiencing happiness while carrying sadness, and doing my best to move forward with hope.
Before finishing this post today, I want to try to express how deep my gratitude is to each and every single one of you. You have reached out and sent me messages, comments, card, flowers, and gifts, to let me know that I am not alone. You have opened my eyes to how much love and light and kindness surrounds me in my life. You have supported me and have been here for me through it all.
You have let me lean on you when I could not go on and you have carried me through the darkest days. You remind me that it is possible to live a vibrant life. Thank you. <3