As I approach what would have been my due date, it still feels like I've been through an entire pregnancy. Turns out, I've been pregnant the entire time, only just with grief. It's almost as if I thought the pain of pregnancy loss would go away, but instead it grew with me every month that passed during the time I was supposed to be pregnant. What would have been a life is just the shadow of sadness over mine.
I figured the further away from my miscarriage that I got, the better I would feel and my life would go back to normal. But I never really did. I had a few spurts of time where I was doing really well, but isn't pregnancy always a bit easier during the second trimester? Even though I feel like my (would be) due date is rapidly approaching, it also seems as if time has slowed down and the sadness has stretched out the course of a 100 years. My ears seem to pick up any talk of pregnancy or new babies like a radar, the wavelength being pain straight to the heart. Oddly enough, I'm not upset that other people are pregnant, in fact I'm happy and wish them a healthy pregnancy. It's more of the sting of sadness or a twinge of jealousy for what I, myself, am missing.
It's been the chatter in the lunchroom at work, the pregnancy announcements, gender reveals and news of bringing home babies that has at times made me queasy and feel the need to leave work immediately for the refuge of my car. It's the pregnant women I don't know at the grocery store, or the women in my Instagram feed that make me feel numb, jealous, and downright crazy. Just yesterday I heard a woman chatting with another teacher after school about her anticipation of finding out her baby's gender in a few weeks. Until that point I hadn't even known she was pregnant, and found myself feeling as if I'd been punched in my baby-less stomach, and needing to get outside for air. It wasn't just her being pregnant that got me, it was just that it was my second blow of the day. Another woman earlier in the day had been chatting in the lunchroom about popping last week at 31 weeks. At the time I thought she was cute, and I was happy for her. But adding the second pregnancy conversation in after school sent me down my sad path. It made me do the math. I would have been 32 weeks this week myself. So I went home and cried. I cried, and not because I don't want other women to be pregnant, truly deep down I'm happy for them, I didn't cry because I'm not thankful, i have a blessed life and a healthy son and I have a lot to be thankful for. I cried because even though I lost my pregnancy, I don't feel like it's over, it's as if I'll be pregnant with grief until March 26th but after that I'll have nothing to show for it but sadness.
Before I had a miscarriage I assumed it was awful, surely something I didn't want for any woman, but also something I wrongly assumed would be easy to move on from. After all, a miscarriage is often a sign of something not forming right during pregnancy and as I've been so often reminded "better early than later!". Yes, this is true, it was easier to lose my pregnancy at 11 weeks than make it to 22 and birth a fully formed baby, or make it the whole 9 yards to only see my child live a few short hours. I know this and I agree. But it doesn't erase the hopes and dreams I had in my heart and mind for that specific pregnancy, for that specific baby. And remaining longer than the pain of losing that baby is the lingering fear that has now taken root in my mind, about my body's inability to grow and sustain a life like I thought it would.
I always assumed that the best way to heal the loss of a baby was to have a baby. But I didn't know myself in that situation and I didn't know what it might take to heal. I never understood that from the moment that pregnancy test was positive, that was my baby and I had dreams of what would have been right from the start. I didn't know that the whole month following my miscarriage would be a complete blur, a blink of a crying eye right into October which really wasn't much better. By the time it was November I was trying to bounce back, it was, after all, time to move on. But in November my period returned and so did the fear and anxiety when I saw that same clotted blood on my toilet paper, who knew my own period could scar me.
Has my body returned to normal? I don't know. And I don't know that I will ever know. What I do know is that my body failed me and I'm not sure I'll ever trust it again. I had such a strong faith in my body before all of this, throughout my first pregnancy, delivery, and even breastfeeding. It does such a great job of doing what it's supposed to do, keeping me strong and healthy, but something deep down inside my DNA malfunctioned and caused me a lot of pain. What's to say it won't hurt me again?