What surprised me the most about myself when I had my second miscarriage was my capacity to hate.
I’d never really been a hateful person. Not particularly angry, jealous, or spiteful either. But when I lost that baby, that tiny, hopeful whisper of a new life was replaced with something horrible and raging. My hatred was powerful. It had teeth, claws, and narrow, angry eyes that at first could only focus on one specific group of people: pregnant women.
I didn’t want their babies to be fine.
I didn’t want them to be happy.
I wished them ill.
I hated watching their husbands escort them out of cars. I hated their round bellies and rosy cheeks. I hated their maxi dresses and decaf coffees and their stupid swollen feet. I wanted them to trip on those dresses and spill their coffees all over their dopey husbands.
I wanted someone else to be like me: a miserable, angry failure. I became an absolutely horrible person. I took the real me, the generally kind and optimistic person that I used to be, and pulled her deep into my dark depths. She was gone for a while and even though I was the one who put her away, I couldn’t remember how to find her.
The new, hateful me emerged from those dark depths and blinked at the light. I was only capable of seeing the world through my own pain and loss and found it impossibly ordinary. There were all these people, going about their business as usual. They were astonishingly pleasant and normal. They smiled, joked, ate and shopped. They lived while my baby didn’t, so I hated them. Worst of all were the mothers – both the pregnant women and the women with children. They were shockingly happy. Disgustingly fortunate. They had successfully produced healthy children, seemingly effortlessly, while I had failed. Twice. It was almost unbearable.
This version of myself was completely unsure of how to function around others. Alone, I was okay. I could hold it together. For brief periods of time I could lose myself in a book or a movie and not think about the emptiness inside me, the anger in my heart. But when I had to be with other people, I was raw, a burn victim unbandaged, and I was scared of myself. I had never before felt emotions so strong that I couldn’t keep them from my surface. One look, word, or touch of kindness from another person and those emotions would erupt.
I had no control. And if there’s one thing that I’ve always, always hated, it was not being in control of my emotions. I always wanted everyone to think I was fine. Great. Keeping it together and looking good doing it. So in addition to hating other people, I really, really hated myself. I hated my weakness, my vulnerability, and my frightening misanthropy.
There were voices in my head, constantly at war. They clashed their swords and gnashed their teeth and wouldn’t leave me in peace. The battles went something like this:
Hateful Voice: I hate everyone who is happy. Why isn’t anyone else as miserable as I am?
Rational Voice: There are millions of people out there who are much more miserable than you, trust me.
Guilty Voice: Yeah. Some people have it way worse than you do. It would be so much more awful to lose a child that had already been born. A child that you already knew and loved. Can you even imagine how difficult that must be? You seriously have nothing to complain about. You can always try again.
Hateful Voice: Fuck you. I don’t care about anyone else. I just know that I am miserable. So, so miserable.
For a while, the Hateful Voice was definitely winning most of the battles. It took a long time for the combination of the Rational and Guilty Voices to gain some ground. I would love to say that they took over and rescued my better self from the dark depths of despair. That I healed and moved on because of my own goodness and reason.
But I didn’t.
That’s not to say that I’m not healed now, back to my better self. Because I am. But I didn’t do it on my own. I didn’t even do it with the help of friends and family. Not completely.
The only reason I can say that I have really and truly come back from that awful, desperate place I was in is that I did eventually have a healthy pregnancy that resulted in the beautiful gift of my children.
I got lucky. Big time.
If I hadn’t, I really don’t know where I’d be now. I mean, I returned to my normal life after the miscarriages and before I got pregnant again, and I did okay, but only on the outside. Inside, I was still devastated. Broken. Utterly frustrated. I’m sure I would have made my way back to living a life of strength and confidence, but I think it would have taken quite a while.
So while I may be one of the disgustingly fortunate ones now, I wish I could let other women who are suffering like I was know that I really and truly get it. I’ve been there. It was awful and I’m so, so sorry that you’re there now. I hope it gets better for you, but please just know that it’s okay to hate everyone right now. What you’re going through is terrible, and I get it. Feel the way you need to feel. Anyone who tells you differently is full of shit. There is no silver lining. Sometimes life is just really, really hard. You’ll get through it because you have to. Because you are, believe me, stronger than you know.
Related post: The Invisible Moms’ Club