What I Wish More People Understood About Suffering A Pregnancy Loss
On a steamy summer night, I was awakened by pain that most women relate to those "time of the month," cramps. Not too severe, yet annoying enough to get out of bed and pop a few ibuprofen. I grabbed a heat pad for good measure, gingerly sat cross-legged on my couch, popped open Facebook to distract myself, and wrapped up in my favorite soft fuzzy blanket. I waited.
Ten hours earlier, I was preparing for motherhood. A few days shy of 13 weeks, doctors could not locate a heartbeat during a prenatal visit. My baby had passed away. As my husband held my hand and we stared at the motionless little bean on the ultrasound, I had no words and almost no feelings. I was in shock. The pain came from somewhere so deep it paralyzed me.
As I numbly left the doctor's office, I turned back down the sterile hall and asked the doctor:
"How will I know if I'm losing the baby?" The answer: "Oh, you'll know."
Back to the couch, I waited, wondering what was ahead of me. Would it take all night? Would it hurt? As the cramps intensified, I could only find relief in they-don't-teach-you-that-in-yoga-class positions. But it was not painful enough to sound the alarm. Fifteen minutes later, the pain cried out like a Forth of July fireworks display.
My body writhed in pain like someone was performing an exorcism on me. I was on hands and knees, crawling on my living room floor moaning like you would only hear in a labor and delivery unit. With this new intensity, my husband woke up and was there to comfort me, but I couldn't stand to have him too close, for what I expected was imminent.
I became best friends with the bathroom floor for the next hour or so. My whole body became coated in a clammy dew as waves of chills and vibrating shakes seemed to amp up the pressure in my lower abdomen. My insides twisted and turned in a sensation that took away any sense of control I thought I may have had. No playbook for this life experience.
In a moment of sheer humble and human-ness, as I sat on the toilet, I had to lean into the pain, body and soul. I began to pray and ask for assistance. I asked that the baby know it was loved and protected and that it has a safe journey home. In that moment, the baby passed. The pain immediately washed away.
I knew nothing about pregnancy loss. I felt alone, scared and taken back by the power of my body. The physical pain leaves quickly, but aftershocks of emotional pain linger.
There's no playbook for that either.
Everyone experiences this differently, but here are some lessons I've learned that may help you on the road to renewal from pregnancy loss:
Free your feelings and forgiveness.
Now is not the time to harbor anything inside of us other than love and light. What does this mean? Surrender to forgiveness and be willing and open to confront what you are uncomfortable with. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Forgive God/The Universe/your higher power of choice. Gently cradle your soul with as much love and tenderness you would with a baby. It is never too late to make peace with your feelings. Continually do so.
Trust timing and practice patience.
Children are on their own schedule for their needs and wants. People who experience pregnancy loss learn this first hand. Lessons, gifts, experiences, and people will come to you when the time is right. We don’t always get to decide that. Trust that things will work out for the best in the perfect time. Let life be lived perfectly in the present.
Recharge your childlike magic.
Children have so much to offer us. Take note of how they live their lives with such passion and genuine joy. Take the time to understand children, to hear them, see how they’re feeling. Then do the same for your inner child and allow it to be a constant presence in your life. Let life be fun again.
All flowers bloom in a big ol' pile of dirt.
After it all, if I could go back, I know I wouldn’t erase this from my life. I wouldn’t seek to experience this again, but I think of all the planting, watering, and blossoming that came from that big pile of dirt.
Maybe it's not a pregnancy loss, so what are you experiencing in your life that's painful? We all have something. Acknowledge your hurt, but also see the potential for big growth. Glorious, inspirational change is available at any moment we are feeling uncomfortable. Don’t hide from the pain. Send it gratitude and transform it into something magnificent.
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