I lay there, trying hard to remember every detail from just a few weeks before. I had lain on the same bed, my husband beside me, the sweet tech close next to me. We had laughed, joked about my husband’s busy surgery schedule for the day . . . the air was buzzing with unspoken excitement. We stared in awe and called you our diamond ring. We reveled in the beauty of new life, the black and white flicker of your little heart and all that was to be.
And now, just a few weeks later there we were—all assuming our same positions, all sitting exactly the same, and yet our hearts were postured with a different tone.
We fought to form words, and silence continued to win. I stared numbly ahead, trying hard to not see the blank screen next to me—nothing flickered, very little moved. We talked about my mundane work schedule . . . the air was heavy with uncertainty. We sat still. I maintained my composure and then the screen clicked off—the screen that once showed my future.
Tears streamed down, and she gently grabbed my arm, “Honey, it just became real.” And she was right. My mother’s intuition was there from day one, and I had known it deep down . . . something felt off. But somewhere planted between the disappointment and grief, there was still a small seed of hope. A seed that was plucked out as I glanced over the empty screen.
“In my profession, you would be shocked at how often I see this happen. It’s a silent struggle that women don’t want to talk about. It’s awkward to share, and instead of opening up about the grief, it’s easier to just push through and try to move on.”
She was preaching to the choir—we had walked through our first miscarriage just nine months before.
We knew we needed community, but how do you share a miscarriage announcement instead of a baby announcement? No fun picture or catchy slogan, just the sad reality of loss. Many of our closest friends and family had no idea what the past year had held. There was never a real reason for holding the information back, it came down to one thing—it’s just plain hard to share.
As we started to speak out, my friend who is a nurse shared how her hospital gives elephant pins to all the mothers who are going through a miscarriage. When a mother elephant is losing a baby, the other elephants circle around her, acknowledging that she needs community alongside her to grieve and mourn. She looked at me, “We’re here for you and will follow your lead on how to walk through this grief.” Others responded to our news with cliché phrases or unhelpful advice—promises of getting pregnant again right away or comparisons to their own loss.
And while every response was not exactly what we needed, we have appreciated every word of those trying their best to acknowledge the uneasiness.
Maybe you feel the same way—miscarriage is hard, and you don’t know how to respond. Maybe you are a momma who has never walked through this dark valley. To you, miscarriages feel like an unknown arena, and it feels weird to draw near. My heart bursts with happiness for you, but promise me you can snuggle on those babies and still find ways to enter the hard with any momma who may be struggling around you.
And for the mommas crying over their angel babies, know that I see you. I pray you feel loved in similar ways that helped me:
I hope you have someone like my tech who looks in your eyes, hands you a tissue, hugs you, and tells you it’s OK to cry.
I hope you have someone like my husband who takes your hand and pulls you out into the rain, letting the earth cry its tears over you. Someone who stands there silently, letting you sit in the pain and guarding you fiercely from getting lost within it.
I hope you have someone like my mom who will weep real, hard tears over the phone.
Someone who knows how to fill in the miles between you with silence and tears. Someone who reminds you, “It was so much easier when you were a child and I could put a Band-Aid on your pain. And yet in life, we are all called to walk through suffering that a mom can’t fix for her child with just a simple Band-Aid.”
I hope you find a friend who doesn’t forget to check in but understands the importance of not texting you and reminding you of your situation each day. A friend who admits the hard season even if she happens to say the wrong or cliché thing.
I write this today with one purpose. Friend, speak up. Don’t rob your family and community the opportunity of loving on you, the opportunity for someone to graciously sit at the table and say, “Hey, I’ve been there too.” Your hard season may look different than mine, but guess what—there’s room at our table.
Whether you’re a “fertile Myrtle” or an angel baby momma, it’s time we have each others’ backs. It’s possible to celebrate together at baby showers, and still sit together in the pain of loss. Let’s rejoice on the mountaintops, mourn the lows, and link arms on this crazy journey of life.
Speak up, momma, it’s time to end this unspoken season of motherhood.