Sometimes it just hits you like a freight train. One minute you are sitting on the couch, the kids are sound asleep, eating a bowl of cereal with your husband, bickering about what show you want to watch now that you finally have a moment to relax, then just like that, you are curled up on your husband’s chest sobbing, a pain so intense you wonder how you ever moved on to begin with.

Miscarriage.

 If you know, you know, and if you know, you know it is the most unpredictable sort of grief. It is often overlooked or justified by those who don’t know, it is a that is what was meant to be kind of grief.  It’s a grief a lot of people just want you to get over already, be thankful for what you do have, or (like someone had the audacity to tell me, a forever grieving mother) that “before x number of weeks, babies are just a ball of cells.”

Miscarriage can’t continue to be this kind of conversation.

It can’t be that women have to reach out to someone they barely know on some social media private message to say, “I didn’t know who to talk to, but I knew you’d understand.” I am always willing to chat, always willing to be there for someone who is suffering this type of loss. I had no one who understood, no one who could hear the pain in my voice and know the suffering I was feeling. But these ladies? These women we love in our lives? They shouldn’t have to come to me.

They should be able to talk to their husbands, their families, their friends. They should be able to be excited at four weeks when they get the test and not have to hide it for the next two months hoping it doesn’t just go away this time. They shouldn’t be told this life they have been waiting for, this very much alive being inside of their body, is just a ball of cells. They should be able to be devastated when the cramping starts or when the doctor says there isn’t a heartbeat.

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It doesn’t matter if you are pro-life or pro-choice, it doesn’t matter that your medical education tells you the baby doesn’t feel anything for so many weeks because I guarantee every mother on the planet has felt something when she gets that first missed period.

When that pregnancy test comes back positive, she feels something no matter what a politician or doctor or well-meaning friend says about this early pregnancy. 

I got a positive pregnancy test right before Christmas. Before our son was born and after our stillbirth. A positive pregnancy test on a very horrific day in our country. I had bought the test, my husband was at work, and then I turned on the TV and the Sandy Hook shooting was the coverage. I didn’t even want to see the results of the test because of this tragedy, because no matter what my test said, how could I be happy when such heartbreak was happening.

I looked anyway. Right? Because no matter what was to come, for a moment, it was a possibility that I could be pregnant. For a moment, there was hope.

It was barely there, but it was there. Two pale pink lines. One week before Christmas, four days after what would have been our first baby’s due date.

I was pregnant.

We were going to my work’s Christmas party that night. I was so careful, so discreet not to let anyone know I was pregnant. What if it doesn’t work out again?

Now that I have two healthy kids, this is the epitome of motherhood. Doing what is best for other people and neglecting our own feelings.

Hiding our happiness for weeks because what if it doesn’t work out? We don’t want to upset anyone, don’t want anyone to make a fuss over us. 

But you know what, the moment a woman takes that test, she doesn’t care what society or her family or some congressman from Pennsylvania says, she is pregnant.  She cares. She starts adding folic acid and quits having that glass of wine and switches her coffee to decaf. 

That’s what I did. Barely there, barely two lines in an instant, had me knowing it isn’t about me, it’s about that “ball of cells” growing inside of me. 

I took the test on a Friday afternoon, was having the bloodwork on Monday that confirmed I was pregnant, but by Tuesday, the nurse was telling me I wasn’t going to stay pregnant. I was miscarrying, and I didn’t even know yet. 

It can’t be this way. Women cannot keep hiding their happiness or their grief because it makes some of you uncomfortable. I hid that pregnancy. My husband, my boss, and eventually my mom were the only people I told. 

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By Christmas Eve, it was over. My back was cramping, and the blood had slowed, and no one knew. It is lonely. 

Miscarriage is very, very lonely. 

It was the TV show. The one we were watching after the kids went to bed.  The one we like to catch up on because we have grown to know the characters and like to tune in each week and see what is going to happen with them. 

She is walking and then bam, just like that. Just like that, she is happy and seemingly healthy and is leaving the dang doctor’s office who literally just confirmed her baby was thriving, bam. The cramps.

It has been eight years for me, the statute of limitations on the grief of a stillbirth or a miscarriage doesn’t run out.

If you know, you know.

Shanna Tompkins

My name is Shanna Tompkins. I am a stay-at-home mom to two young kiddos, as well as a blogger. I have my Master's Degree in Human Services and have been married to my college sweetheart for more than a decade. We live in Indianapolis, Indiana.