In May of 1992, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day. It was not a happy day. I attended a church service, sitting in the back of the sanctuary, trying to listen to a Mother’s Day sermon. I don’t remember much about it, other than the fact that the well-meaning pastor mentioned the word “barren,” at one point, and I lost it.
Three months before that day, I had miscarried during my first trimester.
We found out we were expecting shortly after our wedding. We were surprised and a little shocked, but excited to begin our family. In my heart, I became a mother the moment I found out I was pregnant.
I devoured the information in the “Newly Pregnant Mom” kit from the doctor’s office. I dutifully signed up for all the freebies like magazines and coupons to get a head start on the game. We called all the family and friends. The church maternity clothes tub made its way to our home, and I picked through it, even though I didn’t need the clothes yet.
It was exciting to plan, as every woman will begin to do.
Then a just-in-case visit to the doctor’s office extended into an ultrasound checkup. I have vague recollections of being shown from room to room, my husband asking how I was doing, and a doctor delivering harsh facts in soft, calm tones, possibly to counteract the ascending notes of panic in my head.
The baby had stopped developing. A surgery was scheduled for that afternoon. It was over.
Loss. Shock. Confusion. Fear. My life stalled there. I spent weeks and months after that in a confused state. I was so sad I had lost my child. I wanted to understand the WHY part of the whole thing. I was scared to even think of trying again.
Friends tried to understand. Most could not, and went on with life. That is understandable, and I place no blame. One sweet friend pulled me aside and very quietly shared she, too, had miscarried once. She validated my feelings and offered a shoulder should I need it.
I read books on how to cope with loss of a child. Most were written with the intent of helping a mother who was farther along in her pregnancy, which compounded the guilt I felt that I was only three months along.
Finally, I read a wonderful book, Free to Grieve by Maureen Rank that allowed me to grieve in the way I needed to at that moment. I was given permission to fully acknowledge my loss and take steps to help myself start life back up again.
Miscarriages were not talked about openly then. Even today, stories are told quietly, and only to those who need to hear. I tell you my story because someone needs to hear it today. I have grieved over two miscarriages, two little lives lost, whose memory I hold in my heart always.
Someone needs to know that she is a mother to be validated and celebrated. Her child may not be in her arms, but in her heart.
My heart hears her grief and confusion. I understand she feels she must step aside and not claim a piece of the honor due mothers, but it’s not true. She is a mother, and was that very first moment she knew she was expecting.
If you have experienced a loss in this way, you can join with other families locally at Stewart Park in Roseburg on Oct. 15 from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. There will be a candle lighting and lantern release. This will be a time to remember those little ones and be encouraged and supported by others who have experienced a similar loss.
For more information you can check out the Facebook event page.