Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Today is May 1st and it’s the day I dread all year long. This year particularly because it’s been a rough year, month, week and day. 10 years ago today, I lost the baby who would have been our third child. It’s weird because on that day, a part of me did die. I am not the same woman I was the day before. I have been broken beyond repair and put back together with existential gorilla glue or maybe just sheer mother’s love because if it weren’t for my 2 living daughters, I’m pretty sure I would have just given up which is saying a lot considering that giving up has never been in my wheelhouse.
I’m sure that anyone who has never survived a miscarriage or loss of a child thinks I’m being overly dramatic but I assure you, when my baby died, I wanted to follow suit. I was shattered and felt betrayed by my body, by the world and even by God. God, is the one thing, I have always had an unshakable faith in but in those moments after hearing that my child no longer had a heartbeat, I wasn’t so sure what I believed anymore. I was angry, sad and felt like I had been completely blind-sighted by the events that were unfolding at an alarming rate. I felt vulnerable and helpless and worthless simultaneously and I hated myself and everyone else for that. Why couldn’t I make this better? Why didn’t I stop this? How could I have prevented this? Why me?
Why me, indeed. You know, I used to think that child and pregnancy loss was something that only happened to other people. I didn’t think I was better. I just thought that it didn’t happen that often and I was probably safe. There was no genetic history of miscarriages happening on either side of my family. For some reason, I thought I was exempt from the possibility even though rationally, I knew horrible things happen to everyone and I’m not special but maybe on some level I thought I was. I’ve survived a lot of tumultuous shit in my lifetime, maybe I just thought I deserved a break.
But when it happened and I was falling apart in every way possible, an invisible community of women who most I had never even met or spoken to previous to this catastrophic moment in my life, rallied beneath me and lifted me up in compassion, understanding and love. From the nurses who wheeled me back to my D & E, to the other moms who read this website and I’ve come to know and love over the years, to my IRL friends who comfortingly disclosed their own losses and even strangers who read my post, these women across the world swooped in like superheroes and saved me from myself. How could I give up when so many stoic women who had gone through this same thing were holding their hands out to me to give me the strength to carry on? How could I give up when I looked into the teary eyes of my little girls who knew but could not comprehend what was going on with their mommy? They needed me and I needed them to be my reason why and they were.
You know, I was so devastated on that day that I became the most selfish version of myself, I had to in order to live. I still feel really guilty about this but in my soul-crushing pain, I never once asked the Big Guy how he felt. I couldn’t even face him. He was the one person who I felt the most that my loss had let down. I’ll never forget in the minutes after finding out that our baby had died, my Obstetrician, Nina (yeah we’ve become close like that after the gynecological tragedies we’ve shared), made me call my husband and tell him so that he could take care of me. She saw me disintegrating before her eyes. She knew a total collapse was imminent.
He knew I was seeing the gynecologist and he answered the phone with his usual jovial, kind, caring voice, “How’s our baby?” I’m crying right now just remembering. When I told him, when I tried to say the words I felt as if I was going to choke to death. I tried to swallow them down and rewind time. Nothing made sense and everything was hazy. I felt like I had betrayed him in a way that I can never undo and that somehow made it all worse. My husband is my best friend and the one person I love and respect more than anyone else in this world. We’ve built a life together, we made an unspoken deal when we got married to always be there for one another and I feel like I didn’t keep up my end of the bargain.
But today has been 10 years since I lost our baby and it still hurts as much as it did on that day, even if I sometimes feel like I am the only one who remembers or commemorates the day. But how could I pretend that today is like any other day when I so vividly remember the devastation that I felt on that day 10 years ago?
Even though I feel completely alone in my loss, I know that I’m not. My husband gives me space and my beautiful, sweet, kind, compassionate girls are extra tender with me every May 1st because they know. They’re only 14 and 17 but they feel the love that I have for them on a daily basis and they sense the gravity of my loss; the void in my heart, the heaviness of the emptiness of my arms that tinges my life every day with sadness that grows just a bit heavier every May 1st. 10 years ago today, I died a little bit.