October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a cause very near and dear to my heart. I’m a certified Birth and Bereavement Doula with Stillbirthday, an amazing resource for bereaved families that also offers a comprehensive doula training. I chose to certify with Stillbirthday following the heartbreaking loss of our nephew to SIDS. Many of my fellow classmates were bereaved mothers, honoring their losses by learning to help others through similar experiences. During our training, we explore different types of pregnancy loss.
I hadn’t realized there were so many types of miscarriages; I’d heard of terms like “chemical pregnancy” or “blighted ovum” but never grasped the difference or why it was important to recognize that there is a difference.
Then I saw the words: “Honoring Uncertainty“. I knew what it meant before I mindlessly clicked on it, my brain racing at this small acknowledgment of my own “loss” (a phrase I still hesitate to use because it feels so mild in comparison to other losses) from four years before.
My period was late. It wasn’t like I was never late; my cycles were always a bit longer than your average 28 days and stress had often kept it at bay. But something was different here. I was terribly emotional at work, an issue I never needed to address before. I just couldn’t keep it together. I’d only been with my fiancé (now husband) for a few months, and we were so not ready to have a child. I don’t remember the exact order of things; it was such a strange time. He picked me up from work early that day and we went for a long, meandering drive. He made an appointment for me at the community health center for the following week.
And then, before my appointment, my period started. I felt that odd juxtaposition of emotions, the awkward space between feeling thrilled that life would go on as it had and that pang of disappointment that biology didn’t win. I remember brushing it off, thinking maybe it was a sign I needed to get my PMS checked out or start some birth control or something, but it still felt off, somehow different. My fiancé called to cancel the appointment and potentially get some answers, and the person he spoke to (the doctor? a nurse?) said it sounded like I “may have had a miscarriage.”
I may have had a miscarriage.
There is no way in this lifetime I’ll ever know. The uncertainty follows me around, latent most of the time and emerging during doctor’s visits on questionnaires about how many times I’ve been pregnant or during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month while my Facebook friends share quotes on missing their little ones. Uncertainty is an awkward place to be, walking that delicate line between acknowledging and validating others’ losses while trying to figure out whether I’m justified in my own feelings. Reading Stillbirthday’s post on Honoring Uncertainty validated me and my strange, uncomfortable feelings surrounding my uncertainty. And sometimes that’s all we really need.
If you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing this uncertainty, please know you are not alone. Your feelings are normal, they are yours, and I honor you and those messy, delicate feelings today and always. Placerville Doula is honored to support families through both birth and bereavement; please contact us at (530) 903-0337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.