“You are here”. My yoga instructor spoke these three simple words in my first class back after my third (out of four) miscarriage. As we worked to quiet our minds and control our breath, she continued to repeat these words. “You are here”. I didn’t think much of it at first, but by the end of the class, as I returned to my mat for savasana, she said it one final time, and I started to cry. You are right! I thought. I am here. I am a 36-year-old woman, who has had multiple miscarriages. This is the reality that I live, that I wake up to every day and one that I can’t escape. I am here.
I am incredibly fortunate for the things I have been given in my life thus far. I am part of a tight knit family, have strong friendships and am in a thriving partnership with my husband. For the most part, things have always seemed to work themselves out in my favor; got accepted to the college of my choice, moved across country for a new adventure, have a growing career in the health and wellness industry, and married someone who I am confident is the right partner for me. Life is good and what made it even better was seeing the word “Pregnant” show up on the test a few weeks after our wedding. It was the next check mark on the life “to-do” list. We did what I assume most folks do. We started planning the rest of our new life; baby names, room colors, maternity leaves, etc. It was an untouchable happiness that nothing could destroy, until our first ultrasound. “There is no heartbeat”. I had just been admitted to a club that I never considered joining. Over the course of the next year, a similar result would happen three more times. Each time, the emotions grew more intensely. Why am I so heartbroken over the loss of something I never had? Why is this happening to us? Will we EVER have a baby? I had no answers.
As the private struggle to process this unexpected reality continued, what I found myself struggling with the most was the ripple effect that this can have on so many aspects of your life. My husband and I committed to this life together and agreed on how things would unfold (because life always goes exactly according to plan, right?!). The house, the dog, the baby, and I wasn’t living up to my end of the bargain. Is he disappointed in me? Does he want to leave me? As for my parents, the look on their face each time we share the painful news of a loss. I can literally feel their pain as they desperately try anything they can to make this better for me. I have failed them. The joy I am taking away from my niece and nephew to have cousins to play with and grow up together. How could I do this to them? Yet none of these thoughts could be further from reality. My partner is incredibly supportive (and reminds me frequently we are in this together), my parents are proud of the life I have created, and my niece and nephew are happy – but this is where my brain went and continues to go.
A year and a half later and I am here. We still don’t have our happy ending, but here are a few lessons I have learned thus far:
- Find the good (trust me, it’s there)- Small wins are big wins. A cycle returning after a loss, being a candidate for IVF, getting an appointment with the specialist earlier than expected. They are small, but they are all getting me one step closer. Celebrate them.
- It’s okay not to be okay- I am 12 weeks post D&C and although I have more good days than bad, the reality is I’m not 100%, 100% of the time. Some days I wake up and feel like I am ready to conquer the world. Other days, I fight to get out of bed and want to watch Netflix all day eating dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Both are okay. Both are needed. I used to try to make myself appear to be happy and bubbly and smile in public and pretend that nothing is wrong, but that is a lie. Something is wrong and to be honest, the pretending gets exhausting. I now embrace my bad days, acknowledge it, cry about it and move on.
- You are powerful- You may not be able to control the circumstances, but you have complete power to choose how you will react to them. You get to determine how you will show up in your own story no matter the plot twists. I am no longer the victim. I am in control. Things are no longer happening to me, they are happening for me (even though the reason isn’t super clear yet). The world isn’t conspiring against me and better yet may actually be on my side. Just not the way I anticipated it would be.
And so for now, we wait. We wait for the next steps, the next doctor’s appointments, the next chapter in our story to unfold. I have no idea where this all leads, but what I do know is that I will trust the process, believe in the journey and take many deep breaths along the way. Until then, I am here, exactly where I am supposed to be.