When It’s Hard to Be Joyful or The Word You Never Want to Hear

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I had the PERFECT present planned to share with everyone this holiday season. It was the ultimate gift that every person would enjoy, that would get old but not in a boring way, and would give back again and again: news of another baby. My husband and I would tell my family and friends at the end of my first trimester, when most expectant parents share their big news. That was our plan. With our first child, Little D, we unveiled my bulging belly to my family on Thanksgiving, when I was five months pregnant. But this time around, we thought, surely, Christmas was ideal. But I just found out, I had another miscarriage. (Big sigh and many sobs go here.) Yes, another. This is my third, and second in a row. I’ve been pregnant four times in four years — but only one has worked out. Because of this and so many other reasons, I don’t take any day with my daughter, now 2 ½ years old, for granted. You probably can imagine how heartbreaking this situation can be when you really want to have another child (or child, period). It simply sucks. It quadruple sucks when you actually get to see another heart beating inside you — twice — and two weeks later, the fluttering is gone. (Another big sigh goes here.)   I’ve had three miscarriages. Not that many people in my life know I’ve had one, much less two. But I’m going to tell more people this time around. Why? Miscarriages happen. Now that wouldn’t be a pleasant bumper sticker at all, would it? But it’s true. And rather than being so private about it, I want other women to know that it’s okay, and to be open to all the feelings you have if it does happen to you. Some people are able to totally shrug it off, others never do. I didn’t know how common miscarriages were and how to heal from them physically and emotionally until I talked to other people about it. But know that I didn’t write this post to throw a pity party. I wrote this because I want people who have loved ones who have had miscarriages to also know that while there really are no right words to make us feel better, we appreciate your love and are grateful nonetheless for your support. Here’s what people have said to me:

“It’s nature’s way.”

“Miscarriages are totally normal.”

“It will work out next time.”

“I told you that you need to take care of yourself.” DO NOT say this to someone who’s just had a miscarriage, please. (Moms, how do they love us so much, but find the absolute wrong things to say on some occasions? Mom, you’re forgiven.)

“I’m sorry.” These two words are always welcome, as is this question, “What can I do to make you feel better?”

  My dear friend Andrea — seriously an expert at making anyone feel better — brought me a Baskin-Robbins mint ’n’ chip and chocolate ice cream cake after my first miscarriage, because she knows it’s one of my favorite desserts. After my second miscarriage, she brought me the same cake. This time around, I told her I would happily have a serving of her turkey pumpkin chili. Okay, this isn’t a joke, but we have to power through these disappointing moments in our lives and find the strength to be happy again, to try really, really hard not to blame ourselves (or others) and to continue to open ourselves to the love around. Despite this loss, I know I’m not alone in this experience, and in my hope for the future. In the first 36 hours since getting the news, I’ve done the following to not let 3 Ms get me down: told my sisters and parents, played couch potato for three hours accompanied by many helpings of Häagen Daz ice cream, not done any dishes, got the tightest hug from my daughter when I picked her up from school, hugged my husband, kept dinner plans with out-of-town friends (who coincidentally have had back-to-back miscarriages, followed by two kids), went to sleep, got up and packed lunches, dropped off my daughter to school in the rain (by choice, she wore a Minnie Mouse jacket, Darth Vader shirt, pink sweat pants, a Smokey the Bear hat and Batman rain boots), went to work, listened to the Belle and Sebastian Pandora station, wished two of my friends “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, walked and hugged my dog, tolerated a tantrum from my daughter, kissed my parakeet, brushed and hugged my cat, put two bags of recycling out, ate some leftovers, made donations to Wikimedia Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and wrote this post. I smiled more in that time than I cried.  

How do you find joy when it’s hard to be joyful?

I’d love to hear from you. Finally, have I ever told you how incredible my husband is? He’s been my hero through every tear, laugh, and smile. This song is dedicated to him, and to everyone who lifts you up and brings you joy. (Thank you, too, Dre.)

Lullaby Rendition of “My Hero” by Foo Fighters

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Comments


  • This is exactly how I felt. December 5th I had my 3rd miscarriage. This was my 5th pregnancy. We had actually decided to tell family early this time, only to lose the Baby the next week. But with this one I announced my loss openly to friends and family. The outpouring of love and prayers was incredible. I hugged my (almost)4year old daughter and my one year old son a little tighter and let people be there for me.

    I don’t know why sharing about miscarriage makes some people uncomfortable. We share if we lose a family member so why does the “M” word seem so off limits. I’m glad most people are becoming more sensitive to it.

    The one question/statement that always gets me is: “How far along were you?” Followed by: “At least it was an early loss.” Oh yes, thank goodness! I have had 3 early losses (between 6-8 weeks) but they were still very hard for me because they are my children!

    Thank you so much for sharing this

    Tiffany S. on
  • My mom had several miscarriages between the 9 years it took for me to come along. I’m nowhere near having children of my own yet but this is really comforting and heartwarming. All the best to you and thank you for sharing!

    Annie on
  • I love your comment that there are 3 little angels watching over her. That right there has just helped me a lot ;) I’m sorry for what’s happened to you. What sometimes helps me is to think without the scrappy bits of life, we wouldn’t have ended up with our son who I wouldn’t change for the world. Fate is a very strange thing.

    jules on
  • I’ve had five pregnancies and three term births (G5P3). I didn’t share my losses at the time, but I should have. Just knowing how common miscarriages are might have helped me feel less alone, wonder less if I’d done something wrong, and embrace the possibility that I could have a successful pregnancy some day. I certainly appreciate what a miracle pregnancy and birth are, in that so much can go wrong but, mostly, doesn’t. I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort and joy and hope in the miracle that is Little D.

    Janel L. on
  • Thank you so much, Tiffany and Annie, for sharing your stories. I’m feeling remarkably better than I thought I would since I first found out.

    It’s true that the love of friends and family (and even online acquaintances) can help lift spirits in record time. I also do have 3 little angels watching over my daughter so I’m feeling content. One day at a time…

    First-Time Mommy on

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