It’s been said you never know how challenging something is until you’ve actually lived through it yourself. From experience, I would say that is hands-down, unequivocally, without a doubt, true of miscarriage.
Every family that has experienced this heartbreaking loss knows the pain, trauma, fear, and isolation of miscarriage.
These sweet babies of ours mattered.
They lived. They died. They matter.
And each one took a shortcut to heaven. Leaving behind broken hearts, minds full of unanswered questions, and empty arms where there once were hopes and dreams of growing a family.
Every loss mom wants to believe her miscarriage story is a one-timer. Especially when your doctor assures you, “Most women go on to have healthy pregnancies.”
So when you get pregnant again, you celebrate as a family. You dance, hug, and squeal with delight. You actually believe you’ve been given your rainbow baby!
You pray for that baby together. Pray she would grow strong and healthy. Pray for a smooth, full-term pregnancy. You make plans for and talk about your little poppy seed, then apple seed then sweet pea, growing inside you. You wait in wonder, expectation, and excitement.
You have so much hope.
Only to have that hope deferred . . . again.
Your dreams shattered before they had time to fully form.
Two years ago, I knew nothing about the heartache of losing a child. Today, I’m a bereaved parent of three angel babies in heaven, parenting an only child on earth. A 4-year-old boy who keeps asking for a sibling but may never know the joy of being a big brother.
What a blessing our sunshine baby is to us! To have been given a healthy baby boy before we knew anything of heartache. We’re one of the lucky ones. I often feel guilty for being so sad about our losses. For wanting another baby.
Our stories of miscarriage have been some of the toughest things we’ve experienced as parents. While our first miscarriage during my second trimester was certainly more traumatic, our second and third miscarriages at the beginning of my pregnancies were just as heartbreaking.
To make matters worse, miscarriage is actually very common yet rarely talked about openly.
Recurrent pregnancy loss is uncommon and talked about even less.
About 15-20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but only about 2 percent of women experience two consecutive miscarriages and only 0.5 percent of women experience a third consecutive loss.
It’s hard enough for a mom to miscarry once and carry the weight of her loss as she’s pregnant with her rainbow baby. A rainbow baby in her arms will never replace her beloved angel baby who now lives in heaven. But to be given your rainbow after immense sorrow is to be given hope in the deepest of heartache. A light at the end of the tunnel. A rainbow at the end of a storm.
But not everyone gets their rainbow baby.
For some moms, the faith she once clung to keeps getting fainter and weaker with each heartbreaking miscarriage.
She carries the weight of her losses while braving a smile.
Her doctor’s appointments with specialists provide a false sense of hope as they rule out health concerns. But even the best medicine can’t guarantee a successful pregnancy. Or discovering there’s no known cause can feel like both a blessing and a curse. Grateful there’s still hope yet utterly exhausted from no answers.
She carries the weight of her losses while supporting those she loves.
She congratulates her friends who make pregnancy announcements on social media. She “oohs and ahhs” over the pictures of happy and healthy newborns. She sends cards and gifts to expectant mothers but doesn’t attend baby showers, in fear it may trigger a painful memory or cause tears that she’ll have to hide or brush off as “no big deal.”
She carries the weight of her losses while putting one foot in front of the other.
Her pain is often forgotten amongst friends and family who’ve slowly moved on to happier news. And rightly so because life can’t stop short for one person’s sorrow, but it still bleeds hurt in the mother who’s mourning.
And sometimes a loss comes after an unexpected pregnancy in a family already “complete” with children. A pregnancy unplanned but very much wanted is like a sweet surprise amidst life’s chaotic mundane. A blessing you didn’t know you wanted. But to end in miscarriage is to have that flicker of possibility stolen from you before you had time to claim it as yours.
So please remember the moms of loss. We’re a whole lot stronger than you’ll ever know.
And please don’t offer insensitive clichés like, “Just keep trying, it’ll happen eventually”.
Miscarriage is not infertility. We had a baby. And he or she died.
Moms of loss need you to remember that. And remember their babies in heaven, too.
Because not everyone gets their rainbow baby.
And even if we do someday, we still want you to remember. Because moms of loss will never forget.