I should really start keeping a notepad by my bed. I’ve been writing this blog in my sleep for weeks and it was perfect – honest, dynamic and each thought was eloquently conveyed. Now, as I’m typing I’m struggling to find the right words to share such a guarded part of my soul.
The day of my dad’s funeral, a good friend suggested a book to me, called Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. I had heard of it before, but hadn’t looked into it at all. My friend read it while going through a very tough time in her life, and she shared that many of its lessons helped her with her healing journey. I immediately downloaded the audiobook version from Audible, thinking it sounded like a great resource. I didn’t think that I would actually listen to it for a while, as the emotions of losing my dad were still so raw and I knew I still needed some time. But because I was at the tail end of a really fantastic book series, with nothing in the docket, I queued it up on my drive to the office. I didn’t know what I was in for…
The gist of the book, which has been highly acclaimed, is about the author’s healing journey after the tragic loss of her husband. It focuses specifically on facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy. I just finished the book on Monday morning, and found it to be a great mix of things:
- Emotional: If I’m being honest, I cried through most of it.
- Educational: she backs a lot of the stories and examples she shows with real scientific evidence and studies – making it much more believable and compelling.
- Helpful: I gained a LOT of insight that I plan to implement into my life and my personal situation.
- Motivating: I feel ready to let myself heal a little more after reading this book, which I guess was my whole reason for starting it in the first place.
Though our situations are different, the bottom line is learning how to deal with loss – which everyone can relate to in one way or another.
In one of the early chapters, the book talks about using journaling as a way of coping and healing. In some studies, journaling on a regular basis has proven as a successful tool for aiding in grief. While I don’t currently write every day, I do feel like this blog is my version of a journal and it has helped me make sense of the swirl of emotions dominating my thoughts over the past few years. I have to agree that, from my experience, writing things down helps me to process my emotions and actually makes me feel a little bit better – even when times are really tough.
So because of the push I got from this book, I’ve decided to share something else that has been weighing heavy on my heart over the past month. On March 8th, not only did I lose my dad, I found out I had suffered a miscarriage. I had suspected it was happening, but the confirmation came that afternoon via ultrasound.
I was 7 weeks along.
Just like that, I was part of a new club – I didn’t ask to become a member, but unfortunately my chances were pretty high no matter what my situation was. Because I had a healthy and relatively uneventful pregnancy with Dane, I guess I was a bit naïve. Did you know that there are 3 million cases of miscarriage a year in America? Even more staggering, 1 in 4 women will miscarry. That’s 25% – it’s a big number. Think about your group of friends – chances are, if that group is 4 or more – there will be loss… maybe more than one. People don’t talk about it enough and now I understand why.
It is absolutely devastating. A friend of mine who also recently experienced the pain of losing a baby as well said it so perfectly; “It is crazy how much you can already love and care for a baby you haven’t even met yet. Our baby did not get the chance to grow full term and I will never hold he or she in my arms.” That is just so damn sad.
Miscarriage is so isolating. It is filled with so many thoughts of shame, sadness and self-doubt. I have a million questions racing through my mind constantly. Could I have prevented this? Why me? Will this happen again? (It could, my chances are still 1 in 4 – just like everyone else) How can I move past this sadness?
Lately, as you probably guessed – I’ve been struggling. I know that I will be stronger for all of this, but honestly, it was too much at once. I often wonder why God handed me so much devastation all on the same day. I’m struggling too with embracing my body and giving myself grace in that regard. Hormones from pregnancy affect a woman long after the event, so the extra pounds still cling, and the insecurities are still there.
I’m not sharing this in hopes of sympathy, but more for awareness. Loss and sadness are all around us, and it’s so important to be mindful. I was very thankful that on April Fools Day, no one I know made a joke about being pregnant … I’ve seen them before and never found them funny even before this all happened.
Each day that passes I’m getting better – healing a little more. I can imagine the idea of trying for another baby in the future and the weight of everything is settling more. Of course I have moments where I break down, wishing I could be sharing some happy news with people rather than sad.
I am extremely blown away by the outpouring of support I’ve found in this (not so) little group of women that have struggled with either infertility or loss. Even though it is hard to talk about, it needs to be – so lend an ear when you can and always try to consider what people are going through.
I’m sure I will talk about this more in the future, but for now, I’m working towards healing, acceptance and getting back to feeling like myself again. If you are struggling with loss – of any kind – I really do recommend checking out Option B, a great resource that I will likely go back to again and again.
Thanks for listening, xo