I've had this post in my drafts folder for a couple of weeks, sprinkled with smiling photos of our family and a small paragraph unfinished. The original title was "Exciting news from our family!" and I was thrilled to share it next week to announce the addition of a new baby to our family. But life can change at the blink of an eye, and therefore this post has as well.
After an 8 week miscarriage earlier this summer, we just received news that at 11 weeks, another baby is lost. If you've ever experienced a pregnancy, then you can understand the weight of a combined nearly 5 months of pregnancy, resulting in no baby. The fatigue, the nausea, the physical weight gain and most of all the hormonal emotional rollercoaster, for what sometimes feels like nothing. To reduce it down, it sucks. It's painful and it just sucks. This is recurrent pregnancy loss, and it's the loudest secret I've ever kept.
After my first miscarriage I was shocked. I have two healthy children, whose pregnancies were so easy! Didn't that make me immune to miscarriage? I had always become pregnant so easily after deciding to try, how was this my reality? I read the statistics, they say 1 out of 4 pregnancies result in a miscarriage. Now that’s a fairly large statistic, however it's never felt real to me without the context of real women whose stories I knew. The numbers felt so abstract, as if maybe the 1 out of 4 was a demographic I just didn't fit into to. But I spoke with friends, time passed, I felt determined to start again, next time would be different. It was just a fluke.
The second was darker. At 11 weeks I had dreams for this baby. I had seen it's little hands and legs move in an ultrasound, heard the music of its beautiful, strong heart. During a trip home to Minneapolis I felt certain that after a positive ultrasound at 9 weeks, things would be fine. I shared the news openly with family and friends, we were having a third and we were thrilled. Then early last week something was different. I knew the baby was gone before any bleeding, or doctor told me. I knew it in my gut, the nausea I hated, the crippling fatigue, its absence spoke volumes.
It was hard walking around with my secret sadness. The whole thing was bizarrely isolating, mostly because it was so physically intense and full of uncertainty. I wanted to hide under my covers and eat potato chips, talk to no one. I kept thinking of the 'Sex and the City' episode where Charlotte miscarries and the whole world stopped. She stayed home for days, her husband waited on her, friends stopped by. She chose when she wanted to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. But real life isn't like television, real life still has preschool pickup hours later, and mouths to feed for dinner. Life has work and family expectations, sick children and important deadlines. The world doesn't stop for grief, especially when that grief is silent. So my initial thought was to delete this post, it hurt even to look at it. My second thought was to speak, to share, and to grieve openly because I know I am not alone. I want to give context to those statistics for anyone out there struggling. I am the 1 in 4, don't you ever feel alone.
It is my sincerest hope that upon reading this you feel no sympathy, but rather a compelling force to openly share the secret sadness you hold, the grief which weights you down. I know they are not happy stories, they're hard ones. It's also important to me in writing this to shatter the perception of a perfect life. It's a lie I am all to aware of when I gaze at the photos which fill my blog. As I scroll through my posts I see the smiles, the laughter and bright colors blazing on Instagram. These are all part of my story, the bright smiles, colorful food, each beautiful view of France is real, but it's not a full picture. Between late spring and early fall I saw the possibility of two babies come and go, how could I pretend to share my life with you and leave out such important details?
This photo is so beautiful. It's everything true about my family. It's full of endless love and warmth. Excuse me while I gush, but it's centered around my beautiful children, who shine like the brightest light. I see my husband, my rock, my God given person who walks with me through everything with love and grace. It's imperfect, just as is our family, it's us. But sometimes I look at this photo and what it doesn't show is overwhelming. It's missing two children that could have been who I hold in my heart. It doesn't show the sadness I'm felt this summer, the isolation of experiencing pain both physical and emotional, yet holding that secret for few to know.
Today, it's ok to be sad. But everyday feels better, and I am blessed with the clarity of mind to know that this pain is temporary and it's ok to grieve.
I would like all of you to do me a favor and reach out to your loved ones. Ask them how they are, thank them for their love and support and remind them of their importance. I implore you to act more kindly to strangers, to preform small or large acts of kindness wherever or whenever you see possible. We never know the battles which are being fought inside at any given moment,
Lastly look at yourself. Make eye contact in the mirror. Say "I love you, and thank you for being so strong". Because even when we feel weak, we are so strong. You are the most important support system you have, and self gratitude will take you so far in life. I thank my imperfect body for producing two healthy babies! For the ability to run and play and laugh and sing with them, even when I am sad.
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” ~Criss Jami
Thank you all for your continued support of Touch of Curl. What was once an idea for a silly blog has now become a place I truly love. A space where even while so far away in France, I can reconnect with so many of you whom I love and enjoy hearing from. You're all wonderful and you make my days bright.
Love and light