One of the worst moments of my life was realizing I was having a miscarriage.
Finding out one of my oldest friends had just experienced one as well. Hers happened during the same timeframe, our babies were the same gestational age—basically, it felt like I was reliving my experience all over again through her. I was absorbing her pain in a way I had never felt before, but quickly snapped out of it when I realized I was making this about me. “No,” I resolved to myself. I’d be there for her in any way she needed. Whether that meant I would be there for her as a sounding board for how absolutely unfair it was to try for so long and have this happen, or if she just wanted someone to ask those personal, awkward questions to, I would be there.
Instead, something strange happened. This sweet friend of mine and I were exchanging texts when I first found out, and I lamented apologies and offered up all the things I wish I had heard when it happened to me. Her texts back were simultaneously hopeful and sad, but said to me “It’s okay. We’ve decided not to dwell on it.”
Whoa. Color me shocked—how did she not want to grieve in the same way I had? After all, she’d just had this incredibly traumatic thing happened to her. As I pondered on this, the gray text dots reappeared in our conversation. “We’re sad, but we’re going to be sad and then move on. We’ll try again soon, and I know these things happen sometimes. We’re hopeful.”
I continued our conversation, sure that she would need to further confide in me, or break down, or show some other sign of needing help. What happened, though, was that her words of hope stayed with me. While her strength astounded me, something about it also began to resonate with me. Why had I wallowed in the “why-me’s” for so long? Why hadn’t anyone bothered to come and pull me out of the slump I sank so deeply into? Or, perhaps they did try, but I was too busy throwing the world’s most morbid pity party to pay attention.
All of this isn’t to say I don’t think she’s grieving or should grieve: it’s to highlight her resilience, grace, and inner peace regarding this heartbreaking matter.
We’ve told one another countless times that rainbows come after the storm: so why aren’t we looking towards that rainbow instead of buying dozens of rain boots? Why shouldn’t the tone shift for women who experience loss? I walked through my entire pregnancy with storm clouds over my head, letting the past loss dominate what should have been a glorious, illuminating experience. Instead, I was hesitant to get excited. I didn’t buy clothes until the last possible moment. Even now, with a nearly one-year-old daughter who is as healthy as they come, I still fear the next pregnancy for the same reasons. I’ve been so scared of getting excited, I lost sight of the power and joy that lies within hope.
Hope has moved people to do the unthinkable, to accomplish the impossible, and to heal. It should be at the very core of something like loss, because it is what will inspire us to move on and make peace with what has happened. My friend’s loss taught me that a hopeful heart is one on its way to the next best thing, and looking to a brighter future does not necessarily mean you are ignoring the past.