And again, there is the problem with the 12-week rule. Because we are encouraged not to disclose our pregnancy until the 12th week, there is an unfair assumption that we can’t really be excited about our pregnancy until then.
Let me make one thing very clear: You are allowed to feel however you want or need to feel when you find out you have a human life growing inside of you, no matter when you find out.
And while words like “viable” and “sustainable” are thrown at you in regards to the progression of your pregnancy, there is no line graph where the love you feel for life inside you increases with the number of weeks it gestates. Pregnant is pregnant. Loss is loss.
Miscarriage isn’t just a loss we feel emotionally. It happens to our bodies, inside of us. We experience it physically. To expect a predetermined level of grief from a woman who has lost a pregnancy is absurd and presumptuous.
So, as a society, let’s do better. Let’s be more honest, open and empathetic (this remains true for all aspects of our humanity).
Needing to talk to someone, anyone, I turned to an online community. Upon sharing my story, I was overwhelmed by the love and support that was offered. Most of all, I was shocked at the number of women who had similar stories. If this online community is but a sample of all the women you know, imagine how many of them have lost a pregnancy, and how many are aching to talk about it.
If you are unsure of what to say to someone who has lost a pregnancy, it’s actually really simple. Just tell them that it is okay to feel whatever they are feeling. It is okay to grieve, and that you are there for them. Dr. Jessica Zucker, a psychologist who specializes in women’s health, created a line of pregnancy loss cards. My favorite reads as follows:
“Grief knows no timeline. Take all the time you need.
If you want to rest, do. If you want to scream, do. If you want to distract yourself, do. If you want to cry, stuff your face, hibernate, go on an adventure, call me morning noon and night, do.
Be gentle with yourself.”
While I have physically and emotionally healed from my miscarriage, I will always remember the life that could have been. I will never forget his due date nor the future I had imagined.
Hopefully, I’ll get to plan a new future with a new life. We’ll keep trying and living. And if there’s one thing I have learned, it is just how precious my life and the lives of those I love are, and to never take them for granted.
I hope you heal too.