Butterflies and umbilical cords

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ImagePerceptions of Reality speaks about defining moments on her blog post A Defining Moment.Β  One line in her writing struck a chord within me. On speaking of her second miscarriage, she says “He obviously didn’t see our hearts connected through the umbilical cord”. She said this in response to an insensitive doctor’s remarks. It got me thinking about pregnancy loss (or miscarriage) and the effect it has on those mothers – both physically and mentally.

It is so easy for those who have not suffered loss (particularly doctors) to dismiss the feelings of a mother who has miscarried in the early stages of her pregnancy. Hearing words such as “you weren’t really that pregnant yet” or “it happens in two out of three pregnancies” is not a balm to a grieving heart. Because mothers grieve regardless of how far along they are in their pregnancy – be it one week or one month. As soon as they see that little line on the pregnancy test that tells them they are going to be a mother, they start loving the little being growing inside and making plans for their future. The being that is a part of them and the man that they love. The connection has been formed by their hearts through the umbilical cord.

Losing a baby, whether once, twice or even more can often be the catalyst for a trip down depression lane. Losing a baby makes a woman question herself and her abilities. She begins to question whether it is something she has done – or not done that caused her baby to leave her. She becomes wracked with guilt and anger. She sees mothers heavily pregnant or pushing prams and wonders why she can’t have a child. She feels guilty for not being happy for new mothers that she knows, and feels that there is something wrong with her for feeling that way. She is angry when she sees a parent scolding their child thinking that they don’t deserve the child they have. She cries at news stories of children who have been abused or murdered by their parents and wonders why God is punishing her and not them. She feels her life spiralling out of control. She blames herself for not being able to give the man she loves a son to carry on his family name. She becomes moody and disconnected.

Some women continue TTC (trying to conceive) and become obsessed with charting temperatures and lovemaking at the most opportune time. And each time a loss occurs, a part of them dies as well. Sometimes, a miscarriage means time in hospital or hours spent in an emergency room. It may even threaten the life of the mother but still she continues to hope and pray for another baby. Until the day her doctor tells her that her body can’t do this any more and she has to stop. And her world spirals downward….

And the Tween grows up with no younger siblings.

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17 thoughts on “Butterflies and umbilical cords

  1. Having never had a miscarriage myself, I can’t say that I completely understand how it feels. BUT, having a son and having been pregnant with him, I cannot imagine the pain it would have caused had I lost him. You’re right that we start to love our child from the moment we see the line on the pregnancy test. That’s our baby from the very first moment of realization. This was a very thoughtful post.

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    1. Thanks. When I read that line in Perception of Reality’s post, it just all came flooding back. Funny how you think you are doing okay with things and one tiny sentence brings so much back.

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  2. Very powerful post, Suz. Even though I’ve never been pregnant, I’ve always thought this kind of loss would be like how you describe. It’s hard on the father, too.

    Life’s losses can be permanently debilitating. People suffering from grief need support, not more trauma by insensitive statements.

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    1. Yes Nia, it is hard on the father also – but that is the subject for another post some time in the future.
      I agree that when someone is grieving (and women who suffer miscarriages grieve exactly the same as a person who has lost a family member) then blithe statements just don’t cut it.

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  3. Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. As a father, I remember a deep grief of my own, yes, but that was almost forgotten as I watched my wife trying to cope.
    We are fortunate, with four healthy boys since then, but I’ll never forget watching her grieve, and feeling so incredibly helpless to do anything about it.

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    1. Dave, I am sorry to hear that. I am also sorry to hear that you felt left out whilst you yourself were grieving. Unfortunately, I spiralled into depression and did not realise the effect that my miscarriages was having on my partner. He has just had a year off work after a breakdown. Whilst a lot of his issues were related to work, we have managed to pinpoint when they all started so many, many years ago. You guessed it – when we lost our first baby. 😦

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      1. My grief was insignificant in the face of my wife’s need. We worked through things as best we could together, and seeing her recovering helped me immensely.
        Also, maybe I’m somewhat of an odd sort in that I find mindless activity calming when I’m grieving. Work or a repetitive child level computergame both fit the bill so I managed.
        We were so fortunate to have four healthy boys after that. One of them arrived about 11 months after our miscarriage.
        I can’t imagine the pain of multiple such tragedies. Yet you still seem to write such a joyful and generous perspective on life.
        For that you have my admiration.

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  4. Yes, you did really write powerful Sue. It is terrible to lose kids, we all become so happy, when we check the positive test. I do understand you, even my circumstances were different.
    I hope, it may help you to write about it.
    Kind thoughts
    Irene

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  5. Powerful post Sue. And sad. People in general, not just Doctors seemed clueless years ago about the the true loss and grief that accompanies miscarriage.I think today they are becoming more aware.It is a lingering grief though, as with all loss I believe.
    I want to share a link with you about a woman’s journey through pregnancy loss – and what helped her “find her muchness” as she puts it
    http://findingmymuchness.com/about-2/whats-muchness/

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  6. Suz, another powerful post especially for those of us who share your experience. That type of loss gets very little support, others just believing that everyone goes on to have another viable pregnancy, but obviously they don’t! Each life is sacred and our souls become attached forever even if we need hold those children in our arms. Thinking of you as that grief rises to the surface once again…

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    1. Thank you.
      It is definitely a type of loss that many people don’t believe should elicit the grief that it does. Although with my last loss I was only just over a week pregnant – I still grieved.
      It’s not just the loss of a baby that you grieve for. It’s the loss of hopes and dreams also.
      Thanks for understanding.

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  7. I wish I had some comforting words for you, but I’m at a loss. Poor choice of words when someone says you weren’t that pregnant. That just makes me sad. Sending you wishes for strength to cherish your tween and all the joy she brings you. By the way, when my doctor told me I was a shriveled up old lady (not exactly what she said but she meant the same thing), I was in the perfect position to kick her in the gut, if you know what I mean πŸ™‚

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    1. But you didn’t April. Well done!! πŸ˜‰ Although I’m sure you would have been sorely tempted.
      You know, I do so well with dealing with these things and then I read something by someone who is struggling now and it brings back the memories. I’m happy that I have put it out there now though. πŸ™‚

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