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Trauma needs to be grieved so it can heal { My miscarriage story }

I found I out I was pregnant December 2006 only one year after my second son was born. It came as quite the surprise.

What came as more of a surprise happened not two months later in February of  2004.

I went in for a routine early check up. The one that they do the internal ultrasound to check on things. The lab technician seemed a little concerned as she excused herself from the room. When she came back she handed me a phone saying Betsy (my midwife) wants to speak with you. At this point, my heart started pounding.

Betsy told me she was so sorry to have to tell me this but that there was no heartbeat and my baby was not alive. I went cold and blank. I was faced with the next steps as to what would happen. She explained and I chose to miscarry at home on my own. I opted out of the D&C (a form of minor surgery called a 'dilatation and curettage').

I had no idea what it would be like, but in my gut I struggled with the idea of the procedure. What ensued was worse than I could have ever imagined.

Heartbroken, we went home from that doctor’s office. I retreated within. I think I may have told my mom, I don’t remember. I waited for the signs, while everything else just faded into a gray blur around me.

I remember when it hit me. The contractions came over me just like giving birth. I holed up in the bathroom so I could go through the painful process alone.

I don’t know how long it took or all the gory details, I do remember it was incredibly painful. I felt so alone. As I passed everything into the toilet - I realized I was about to flush my baby down the toilet. That had not occurred to me before and it took my breath completely away. 

Then came a massive pounding on the door and him screaming at me to hurry up and get out of there. He had to get back to his eBay listings and I needed to watch the kids.

I sobbed even harder. Ignoring him.

He came back and banged and screamed some more.

I wanted to just keel over and die right then and there. Something in me rose up again. I cleaned myself up. Washed my face. And left the bathroom, never to be the same again. I lost so much that day, but I had no idea how to process it all.

I remember the few weeks after having to face people knowing they knew. Not knowing how to really share the depth of my own pain. Not being able to even look at my ex. Holding my two little boys even tighter.

I went to church and acted like nothing had changed. Tried to carry on doing everything the same. I remember the looks some women gave me when I thanked them for their condolence but said I was okay, it’s fine.

One day a friend came by to share his condolences. He sat in our living room. I was quiet and cold. My ex sat there sharing his pain of the experience but I could not speak. I remember the friend looking at me with a sense of wondering. My pain was far greater on so many levels but I was deeply traumatized and wounded.

My best friend at the time brought me chocolate, food, goodies and all her movies. I spent a lot of time curled up on the couch trying to escape what just happened.

Months later a friend over a game of pool prodded a bit. She said; "you know you really haven’t said a whole lot since it happened. Are you really ok?” I shrugged it off, not really saying much.

The rest of the year, I spent all my effort trying to keep him happy. Trying to help him figure out what could possibly help with all his volatility. Trying to be the good supportive wife, thinking if I could just get him to be happy things would be better.

We ended up moving and making a radical life change. And as soon as we unpacked our boxes I found out I was pregnant again. Unexpectedly.

While I was incredibly shocked, though thrilled, it started to heal the wound a little. I had a new little life growing to focus on, as well as two others at the time. So I was able to bury the pain more and move past it, for the time being.

Fast forward beyond all the years of craziness, to the first February after my split and divorce. I had the worst cycle of my entire life. It was unbearably painful.

That cycle pain showed back up every February after that until it dawned on me. Could my body be trying to tell me something? Was this February cycle pain coinciding with my past loss?

I got brave enough to ask some colleagues if it was possible there was a connection. Many of them believed there was and gave me kind suggestions. That month, I cracked open like a dam had burst and I finally grieved that loss I had buried and carried for 6 long years.

I learned that trauma makes it impossible to have normal mental and emotional processes. Especially, if you don’t deal with it or feel safe to deal with it. Shock and denial shortly after a traumatic event is a normal reaction. Shock and denial are often mechanisms we use to protect from the emotional impact.

You may feel numb or detached. You may not feel the event’s full intensity right away.

That year, I let myself feel it all. The loss of the baby I never grieved.

The following year, it felt safe and I finally processed the rage I carried. The hurt of the suppression and oppression. The cruelty I had endured from the very man whose child I was miscarrying. What could be more heartbreaking than that?

I realized I had spent so much of my life burying pain in many ways -this was one of them. And it was huge and so so heavy.

As I allowed myself to feel and heal, my body began to cooperate more kindly for me. I began to feel lighter. I began to have healthy conversations with the kids about it. I even named the baby I lost because I believed she deserved that. Chloe. She deserved to be known, even though her brief existence held such incredible pain for me. I hold her in my heart to this day.

I’m sharing all of this today, my story, because I now understand what it feels like to heal. I know what it’s like to be suppressed and numb emotionally because of trauma, especially when trauma has occurred numerous times in your life without support to heal through it.

I know if you don’t feel safe, you can’t even begin to deal with or heal from your trauma. I know that grief is a necessary feeling to actually let out. To feel it all, to be with it and if you can’t grieve your body will store that grief until you can. Your body will even repress your rage until it’s safe to let it out.

So many times, I’d see other women post their miscarriage stories. Women in happy marriages with so much support from friends and family. It always stung to observe that. I wanted to feel sadness for the loss of the baby I didn’t get to have but all I could feel was the sting of the abuse I endured when it happened. I felt ashamed even.

But the more I read others as they processed their loss, even though my pain was different, the more I realized I deserved to process my experience and tell my story as well.

And so I share, in the hopes that others will find courage in processing their own pain, grief and trauma. My hope is to bring awareness and hope. But also to encourage women to get the support they need as soon as possible. Don’t wait. There are so many ways we can accumulate experiences of trauma in our lives from childhood. Those early years shape us. We can become so numb to deeper healing because we grow up without emotional support or worse we grow up with abuse. This can lead to more suffering throughout our lives. An inability to stand up for ourselves because we have had to withdraw to self-protect for so long. I know that’s true for me.

I also know it’s incredibly vulnerable to share the pain of our losses. And so many women experience miscarriages, that sharing our own process our own grief, our own story only helps to support one another. I truly believe that.

Please allow yourself to feel all your feelings, to process your pain, your grief and your hurt. If you don’t feel you have support at home like I didn’t, go somewhere where you can get supported. There are so many options available to you. And remember that it's okay to not be okay. However, if you are struggling deeply due to unhealed trauma and it's impairing your life; it's so important to seek professional help so you can find ways to cope and manage the stress but also heal the deep wounds.

I share this with so much love and hope for healing. Feel free to share this post with anyone you think needs to read it.


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