In response to a question on how she was doing on her birthday, Desire had offloaded a lot of information that reminded me of someone with a festering wound that is being treated only on the surface. “I’m fine. My husband is having a “surprise” party for me on that day, at least he still thinks it’s a surprise but I have since gotten in on his plans, courtesy of my friends. So, I’m going to be having fun, especially if he gives me a gift card, instead of buying a present; he is very bad at buying presents for me, he has never gone beyond lingerie, chocolate and perfumes. While I know my husband is trying to get my mind off our TTC wahala, I can’t help but think about the other milestones that had come, that I had planned around my birth date, 10. I was born on the 10th of June, planned a June 10th wedding, which somehow was not possible, so, we had done a June 11 ceremony instead. In my mind, it was just an extension of June 10. So, naturally, I get to party on two consecutive days in June. I partied for two years, before my heartfelt desire was roughly taken from me, the night of the 11th. That night soured the goodness in both days for me. Come to think of it, I didn’t know I wanted a baby that much; until it was snatched away from me, and then I broke down like a baby. As if that wasn’t enough, I still had to deal with my due date which was March ending. Somewhere in my mind, there is an association between my birth month and the month my babies would have been due. Instead of happiness, I find that I feel unease and out of sorts on those days. My husband is helping me create new memories for those days, but it’s a gradual process and we will get there.” No matter how much she was trying to get into the swing of things for her birthday, it was still obvious that she was grieving the loss of her babies, whom she lost at about nine gestational weeks. The worst part of Desire’s grief was, she felt she had contributed to the miscarriage. She blamed herself for stressing her body too much during her birthday and her second wedding anniversary, which led to the bleeding that occurred that same night. When she had first communicated that idea to me, I had wanted to quickly disabuse her mind of such notions, to tell her no, it wasn’t her fault that she miscarried, but talk alone is not going to mend her heart that has been broken for years. She will eventually come round to the reality that, indeed, she had no part in her miscarriage, until then, she puts one step in front of the other in her journey to healing…which, by the way, can be sped up with the arrival of her rainbow baby. For a former TTC mom, Faith, her due date for her first pregnancy, which she miscarried, was so ingrained in her mind that she marked it on her calendar for every year. It was one day she looked forward to…and also dreaded. Within her, she acknowledged that if all had gone well, her baby would have been celebrating its birthday, instead of being an angel. She also dreaded the pain, as it reminded her of her loss…in all of its glory. For some reasons, on that day, her mind would play back all that she had gone through, step by step, and she basically re-lived that day. That was the trend for her for several years until she got her baby, but she still did not forget that due date. She only realised how much she was yet to get over her baby, when she found herself talking to her toddler rainbow daughter about the date. That was when Faith consciously started to plan fun activities for that day, to celebrate her baby but more to create new memories for that day. She didn’t want to forget him, but she wanted to be reminded of her baby in a good way too. She also learnt some important lessons, two of which are below: It doesn’t matter how many weeks you were before you miscarried. From her experience, the number of weeks at which you miscarried is one of the smallest details, yet it’s one that is often swept aside. It’s as if, if you haven’t been pregnant for a length of time, you cannot be termed to have miscarried…but it does matter. However, the honest truth is, when you get that positive pregnancy test, you are a mother-to-be—whether it’s 5, 10 or 26 weeks, you are changed. Your mind is filled with thoughts of motherhood and what it means for you. You become aware of every change in your body, and you start to pay attention. You cut out foods and drinks that might harm your child, you register with a clinic and put dates in your calendar. You talk and dream about your future child. This is something that everyone who has ever been pregnant should be able to relate to, but very easily forgets. When that is taken from you, you are losing that future and the dreams of your child. You’re paying attention to your body in a different way after it loses that little life inside you. You reintroduce the things you tried to protect it from, each one a reminder of what you’ve lost. You delete dates from your calendar and doctor’s appointments, and fight the urge to make new appointments to try to have a doctor explain why it happened. It’s a hard adjustment to make afterwards. It’s so pleasing, when someone asks you ‘How are you doing?’ This simple question meant the world to Faith and even Desire. For these women, asking them how they were doing acknowledged the significance of what they had been through, and made them feel less alone, if that was possible. It’s one way that possibly reminded them that even if people couldn’t relate to what they had gone through, they could understand how important it had been to them. Effectively, this question is an opportunity to talk about their experience, if they so desire. Even if they do not open up, asking validates the fact that they had been through an experience. Due dates might not matter anymore to mommas who already have their babies, but there can be so much attachment to it for a mom who suffered a miscarriage. It’s a date that reminds them of a dream cut short. Whatever is the case, grieving and moving on is crucial to the healing process. Sending loads of baby dust your way.
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1. http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/ 2. http://www.womenfitness.net/