Friday, February 26, 2016

pregnancy after miscarriage

This post has been a long time coming. It's been sitting in my unpublished drafts in some form since June, because I'm scared silly by how personal it is. But there are three things that helped me recover from my miscarriage: time, my closest support team (Waldi & my mom) and hearing the stories of others who had suffered something similar. When we lost our first baby, I too felt lost- disoriented by the fact that we don't really have a ritual in our culture to mark the passing of babies through miscarriage. Writing down my story has been so healing for me- it has given me a way to mark the passing of our first little one. I don't know how many people will read this, but if it encourages even one mama in a similar situation then it's worth it. 

As I write this, my baby is roughly the size of a papaya, healthy and happily floating around somewhere inside of me. And though I’m so grateful for this pregnancy, so thankful to finally be here, I must admit that my journey towards motherhood and to this moment has not looked the way I expected it to.

I took my first positive pregnancy test last April. For two years prior to that, I had carried with me the overwhelming wish to become a mother. Though I had known my whole life that I wanted to have children, in those last two years that desire took on a life of it's own. It was so fierce it hurt.

I spent those years in a country far from home, wrestling that mother-desire with patience and congratulating my friends and family on the many babies they had been busy making. I was that one childless married woman at baby showers, mothers gathered around talking about pregnancy and childbirth, someone inevitably turning to me at some point to ask what it was I did. What was it that I did? I was biding my time. 

So. That positive pregnancy test felt to me like the end of a long journey to the beginning of something beautiful. We'd finally made it, thank you, and we were so excited to be there.

If you're doing your math, it isn’t hard to see where this is going.

It happened somewhere between ten and twelve weeks. The heartbeat was there- I’d seen it, but then it wasn’t. We spent the night in emergency and when we left the next morning the clump of cells we had thought was our baby had been sucked out of me, the bottom of our world sucked out from under us along with it. We stood alone on the curb and called a cab to take us home.

Of course, everyone told us not to worry. It’s not your faultYou can try again soon. And though I loved them for saying it, it was hard advice to take. Because lying there, bleeding out the remains of my first baby, I can tell you that a second pregnancy was the last thing on my mind. And regardless of where the fault lay, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel somewhat ashamed.

It’s only after you suffer a miscarriage yourself that you realize how many women are walking around with those same battle scars. Many suffer quietly because it’s not polite baby shower talk, but that pain is very real. Ask any woman who has had a miscarriage how old her baby would be now and there’s a good chance she’ll know.

My baby would have been two and a half months old.

Eventually in time, we decided to try again, and were very thankful when I peed on that second positive test, just six months after the first. But here’s the thing about pregnancy after miscarriage that no one warned me about: everything is different.

The memory of my first pregnancy is marked by an overwhelmingly innocent joy. After those years of longing and dreaming, I threw myself into it with arms wide open. I am currently 26 weeks with my second baby and I still wake up many mornings afraid I’ll find blood. I am terrified of bad news every time we visit the doctor, even while I hold on to those appointments like some kind of desperate lifeline. And it's basically impossible for us to talk about this second pregnancy without speaking of the first. 

Sometimes when I mention it, people tell me not to think too much about that first baby. I know they mean well and mostly I try to follow their advice. I sing to this new baby, write it letters. I fell in love with it the moment I knew it was there. But I cannot rewrite that first loss. No matter that my heart has expanded to love this second baby, just as my body is expanding to bring it into this world. The miscarriage is a part of me now and I will carry it with me as I continue on this journey towards motherhood.

Because, like I said, my road toward motherhood has not looked the way I expected it to. And though I don’t know your story, don’t know the journey you’ve been on to make it to where you stand today, I’m sure at times it wasn’t easy. Because really, when do things go exactly as we expect them to? I sometimes look at other mothers- the ones with no morning sickness, multiple healthy babies and shiny happy Instagram accounts and think about how great life must be for them. But the truth is that there are probably sharp corners and dark places on their journeys that I know nothing about. And somebody else out there may be thinking something similar about me.

This thing we call motherhood is so much bigger than any one story and there are so many different roads that lead towards it. We, as mothers, are connected by the love for a child- whether unborn, stillborn, newborn or all grown up. And isn’t that where motherhood exists? Between the overwhelming beauty and, at times, deep pain of this love? Today, I hold onto the hope that there is room within it for my story- room for every story that begins with mother love. I don’t get to choose my road to motherhood. All I can do is walk it free of shame and with my head held high because it’s the road I’ve been given.  And mama, please know that however painful or unexpected your journey has been, there is space for you to do the same. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your story! I cannot even begin to imagine how heartbreaking such an experience must be...

  2. So beautifully written... Thank you for sharing. <3

  3. Thank you for sharing. I cried. I just experienced my second miscarriage in 15 months and although we have 7 beautiful children, this second one was even harder. I thought for sure it "couldn't" happen again. I am so sorry for the pain you had to experience but applaud you or sharing. I have felt so alone and just started sharing my experience as well. Can't wait to "meet" you new one. Joy and love, Tonya

    1. thank you so much Tonya. I'm glad you connected with the post. I too am so sorry for your losses and the pain you've been through, and hope that you feel just a little less alone, even though that doesn't lessen the pain of what happened. sending love and prayers your way. x.

  4. Thank you. I am wiping away tears as I write this. My first pregnancy also ended in a miscarriage at 10 weeks. I pretty much carried this alone, my husband (now an ex) wouldn't/couldn't engage emotionally with me in the loss. I've since given birth to two healthy sons (with another miscarriage in between the two). I was 36 and 38 yrs old when they were born, so I had many, many years of other people's babies before mine. I also discovered that there are many women around me who have carried their history in silence.
    I especially loved your last paragraph. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story, it is our story as well.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm so glad you were able to connect with your story.

      It's so true that so many of us carry this in silence. It's such a struggle to wrestle through the pain and shame and emotions that come with this. But the more I reach out, the more women I meet with stories similar to my own. Like silent warriors, walking through a battle that isn't often discussed. Thank you for sharing your story here and I hope that you feel a little less alone.

      sending love your way.

  5. Thank you, Ruthie, for sharing this intimate story about your miscarriage. With your, I also mean Waldi. When you recently said you were showing early 'this' pregnancy, I suspected that you had a miscarriage before and it's so brave to put all your emotions about that experience into this blogpost. One sentence of your post really struck me: that everything is different with this pregnancy.
    Though I can't relate to your story, I'm always hesitant towards people of my age, asking if they're 'already thinking about babies' ( the typical smalltalk at baptisiscms etc) because you never know their story. I would feel devistated if I had been through a miscarriage or if we were trying for years to get pregnant and people keep asking you 'no kids yet?'. So it must be really hard if you're longing for children that much, and it doesn't work. If your motherhood wish stays unanswered, it must be the hardest thing in the world for a woman.

    1. Thank you Ine. I struggled so long with whether or not to share it, and though I kept details out of my previous posts, it was so hard to talk about this second pregnancy without also mentioning my first, and this story. I didn't want it to be some sort of "secret" that I couldn't talk about but it was hard to gather the courage to share. I'm so grateful for individuals like yourself, who make sharing in this space feel so safe and opening up worth it.
      you're so right- I've always struggled when people have asked this question, even before my miscarriage. it's tricky because I know people don't mean it like that when they ask, but I too am hesitant. It's just something i've decided not to ask others about.

  6. You are so brave for sharing your story with us, thank you! I must admit I suspected that's what happened from the hints in your blog posts from time to time (likely because it was a topic very much on my mind at the time as well) and I was so happy for you to read about your pregnancy when you announced it.
    This whole pregnancy / growing a baby thing is still so wondrous and incomprehensible to me and one of the things this pregnancy has taught me is that it's something we can't control. We just have to trust, even while knowing that things could go wrong, mostly in the first few months. I continue to be grateful for a healthy pregnancy every single day and I am so, so sorry for your loss and what you had to go through!
    Similar to Ine above I am often amazed at how insensitive people can be, asking about baby plans etc. To me, that's very private information and I'm always very careful about takling to people about stuff like that.
    I'm thinking of you and continue to wish you much joy and trust in this pregnancy.

    1. thank you Kristina. you're so right- pregnancy is something completely out of our control. I'm reminded of this every day, not only in regards to this darker side of loss but also in this second, healthy pregnancy. I'm thankful every day but I must admit that I'm so amazing that my body knows what to do to take care of my little one! I supposed it's good training for motherhood in general, since there are so many things we can't control. I said to Waldi at some point in the first trimester of this pregnancy that I just couldn't wait until I held my baby in my arms, so I could know that everything will be find and it was safe. He just kind of looked at me and then commented that once the baby is born, that's when it all begins!
      Anyways, thinking of you in these last days of your pregnancy and excited to welcome your little one from afar :)