This Is What It's Like Before The Rainbow
I am a wife.
I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a teacher. I am a colleague. I am a friend. I am not a mom.
I almost was once. I thought I would be. But 8 weeks later, I wasn’t anymore.
They say 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That they’re fairly common, but people don’t really talk about it. I don’t know a lot of people who have had miscarriages, but most of the stories I’ve heard are told months or years later, after the person has a new, healthy baby. I’ve heard it’s devastating and terrible, and then eventually you have a “Rainbow Baby,” and though you never forget, it gets easier.
But there’s a part of miscarriage before it gets easier. The part when you only have loss and there is no healthy baby. The part when people don’t know what you’re going through because you weren’t far along enough to tell them, but you feel like the whole world should stop and everyone should be in mourning because what you started planning for your life got flipped upside down. The part where you’re drowning in the deep end.
The things people don’t talk about…
How the whole 8 weeks of pregnancy was so riddled with anxiety about something bad happening that when it started happening, it felt like you already knew it was coming.
How people will try to comfort you by saying that some bleeding is normal and natural, and you’ll nod your head and try to accept that even though you know something is wrong.
How you’ll pray so hard that it can stay, but you’ll tell your baby that if it needs to go, that’s okay.
How, when it starts happening on a Friday, you can’t talk to a doctor about it for 3 days because the office is closed.
How losing that pregnancy is both emotionally crushing and also the most physical pain you’ll experience up until that point.
How you know you can’t handle saying the words in person, so you call ahead to your doctor to let them know what is going on so they don’t greet you like they would someone who still has a healthy baby inside them.
How the doctor will minimize the circumstances, and you’ll know that it’s because she has to deliver this news a lot, but she doesn’t understand that your only pregnancy ending isn’t minimal to you.
How they’ll leave the sonogram screen on so you get to see with your eyes how empty your uterus is now.
How everyone at the doctor’s office will give you sad eyes as you get your blood drawn and pay for the worst appointment ever.
How you’ll bleed for weeks following that appointment. A constant reminder that you’re no longer growing a life.
How you’ll have to tell the few people who knew about your pregnancy that it’s no longer going to result in a baby.
How you’ll put the celebratory baby clothes people bought for you in a hidden place because you’re still hopeful for a future, but you don’t want to see them again until then.
How you’ll sign up for that thing months from now that you thought you would have been too pregnant to do.
How people you didn’t tell will ask how “trying to get pregnant” is going, and you know it’s not their fault because they don’t know, but you feel a little dead inside every time you have to say “still trying.”
How, weeks after you thought you were done grieving, you’ll receive a bill for an ultrasound from your doctor’s office and get to relive the experience all over again.
How you’ll hear stories about or get to meet friends’ new babies that you thought your baby would grow up around, and even though you’re so happy for them, it will feel like a knife to the heart.
How fearful you’ll be of potentially getting pregnant again because the only experience with pregnancy you have is loss.
Miscarriage is fairly common. And people don’t usually talk about it until they have their “Rainbow Baby” and can tell you there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t hear about the loss and the grief without the silver lining. But for people who experience miscarriage, there’s a good chunk of time where you’re wading in the mud. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no silver lining. It’s just loss and fear and anxiety and grief and heartbreak at the most unexpected times. It’s extra baggage that weighs you down that you can’t seem to ever set down, no matter how distracted you keep yourself or how optimistic you feel about the future.
Maybe someday there will be joy and celebration and a “Rainbow Baby.” But today there is only loss.
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