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Mar 15, 2017

What Grief Really Feels Like After a Miscarriage

Hey there.
It has been three months since our miscarriage, so I thought I would talk a bit about how life has been, how we have been healing, and everything in between.

I have experienced loss and grief before. For the most part, I would fare to say that by the time we have hit our mid-30's...most of us have.

Grieving is not the same for everyone, but I thought I would share my thoughts.

Grieving the loss of a loved one, for me, was always a very downhill, linear process. I have witnessed losing someone over the course of a year, and also witnessed someone leave this earth over the course of a couple days.

I have to say, the long, drawn-out dying is hard to manage. Knowing at some point in the future, it's inevitably going to happen...waiting....day in an day out....praying....that maybe they will come out of it....accepting that it will eventually happen....you start to go through the grieving/healing process even before said loved one has passed onto the other side.

There is almost this sense of relief....a weight lifted, once it eventually happens. Not that you wouldn't trade that lighter feeling for a thousand more days with your loved one, but to finally have....closure....to know you can now heal and move forward with the wonderful memories of this person...says something.  Your life has been stagnant for so long while you waited for the other shoe to drop, that it's as if you have been given permission to move forward with their blessing.

The quick loss? Sort of like ripping a band-aid off. I had a deeply beloved grandfather essentially hide his ailments from his loved ones for as long as he could. He went on with life...at a slower pace, sure...but kept going until just a few days before his passing. In a weird way, I really loved that he did that. This may sounds sick but I was absolutely fascinated with his death. Not in a happy way, but that someone could keep his sense of self, until literally the day he passed seemed so honorable to me.  Sure, it came as a shock to us and we scrambled to coordinate his final days as he was laid to rest, but I much preferred the sanity that came pre-death, if that makes sense.

The days and weeks afterward were very tough. That grieving process, again, was rather linear. The overwhelming sadness of a life lost in my world went from all-encompassing to acceptable, to something I can now look back on with fondness, as opposed to tears 99% of the time.

Time truly does heal the grieving wounds.

When I miscarried, for the most part, I assumed my healing would be linear as well....and by linear, I mean similar to a slide. Not a very steep slide, but a slide nonetheless.

So in the first month, I did as I always did, and made plans.
I planned what the next year of IVF would look like.
I negotiated with doctors and laboratories and set-up insurance.

I planned outings with friends and family.
We distracted ourselves as best we could.

The explosion of emotions came often at first...every day in fact.
Whether it was sadness, or anger, or anxiety, or fist-clenching furious behavior, or all of the above...it was always there.

I felt heavy and exhausted and alone.

Friends and family sent an outpouring of love in those first couple of weeks, as would be typical in any loss.
We were especially grateful for the food,  as we literally didn't grocery shop for about a month. I could barely manage a shower at that point, and never bothered wearing anything different when at home.

How I made it into work in the weeks following the miscarriage is beyond me.
I was a shell of a person.
Fragile and angry and exhausted.

By the end of the first month, I seemed to be doing much better.
My crying spurts would show up unannounced once or twice a week, but I would force them away and move on with my life.

And then one day in February....I hit this massive wall.
I unloaded on Mark in a furious rage that scared both of us.
I threatened to ruin him and anything that got in my way.
I was livid. I was an embarrassment. I was so mad and scared and sad, and I could see myself doing all of this and I couldn't stop it. I could feel my blood boiling and the veins in my eyes about to explode. My fists clenched and I just screamed. I screamed and stomped and thrashed around like a complete maniac.
When I finally calmed down, I found myself unable to move.
I didn't make it into work the next day. I slept for hours and hours.
My mom came over at some point and just sat there...waiting for me to come downstairs.

At that point I couldn't see in the future.
I had no hope.
I couldn't understand why I even went to work. Why I was working so hard for a future I couldn't see anymore. I had no baby to keep me going. I had nothing.
I contemplated leaving the office. I stopped working out and lacked motivation for everything except feeding our pets.

I was scared because this relapse was how I felt at the time of my miscarriage.
I felt crazy and out of control and couldn't understand why it was happening AGAIN.


I knew the slightest thing could trigger my rage and anxiety, and I was SO. OVER. having people step in to try and help me. Phrases like, "it gets better with time" and "you will hop back in the saddle in no time" and "why are you still angry" and "you need to lighten up" haunted me and made me want to put my fist through a wall.

I KNEW I was acting crazy. No fucking person needs to keep reminding me.
I didn't need a band-aid.
I didn't need a solution.

I needed someone to validate that what I was going through was NORMAL.
I needed a shoulder to cry on, without judgement, for as long as fucking necessary until I could finally gasp for air again.

I felt more alone at this point that ever before.
My husband, poor guy, just wants things to be good again, he wants his "old wife back."

And here I am...sprouting these new, weird wings.

I am stronger and more aware of all the shit I am going through....but equally more fragile and timid.

I know what will set me off but I don't know HOW it will affect me...or WHEN for that matter.

The last thing I wanted to do was coordinate my insurance to deal with a dumb therapist.
But at the urging of family...I finally did.
It took a couple doctor's to find the right one.
I don't know if it will help, but at the very least, I have someone that I can unload on and can offer tips without trying to "fix" me.

These days, I know I am not 100%...but I am better than I was.
I will have a really, really good day....and the very next day I will feel that hollow void again.
But instead of pushing the feelings aside, I stop what I'm doing, and let them come.

Sometimes it takes minutes...sometimes it takes hours...and all my strength to allow it to happen.
It's not a perfect science.
But I supposed this is my new normal right now.
I am taking this overwhelming grief and molding it into something manageable.

A post shared by Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) on

There are not traditional closing ceremonies with a miscarriage.
I don't have a baby to bury.
And that doesn't sit well with me.

So at some point in the near future, we WILL be having a burial.
Of all the memories, of all the struggles of 2016, of my pregnancy, and my loss.

I love having Crash in our back yard. I can go talk with him whenever I feel like it.
I'd like the same thing with our baby. To help find closure as we move forward with life.

What I can suggest is this...if you find yourself with a friend or family member that is grieving the loss of their baby, through miscarriage, stillbirth, or beyond....please keep reaching out.

They do NOT need a solution...they need friends that just want to be there and have fun with.
They do NOT need you to be a therapist and ask how you are doing.
Trust me...they will show you they are not doing well by not showing up or cancelling plans.
And that's okay.

I find myself volleying back and forth with whether or not I am strong enough this week to actually go through with plans. Some weeks I can do it, and some weeks I pull back.
This is all very normal.

So please, keep reaching out. They may say no a dozen times, and then one day they will say yes.
And they don't owe you an explanation, so please don't expect one.

They are protecting their heart and their well-being as best they can, and again, this is NOT a linear process.

It's more like a mountain. Some parts are easy to climb down from, and then you're hit with another peak that you have to get over before it gets easier again.
And that's just how it goes.

I have been stead-fast at work on our bedroom (finally). It will take a while to be completely finished, but I am thrilled with the results so far.

We our doing our normal things, just at a much slower, lighter pace. We don't talk too far into the future, and try not to look too far into the past.

I am happy to just be enjoying each day as it comes, even if it's it's still snowing in March. :)
Thank you for continuing to follow our journey. XO

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for these posts, Tia. I had some really awful losses last year that I'm doing everything in my power to avoid dealing with, and for whatever reason your blog is the thing that's making me feel like maybe letting the grief out doesn't have to kill me. I don't know you and I've never wanted children, but I cried for hours after reading your post about the miscarriage. For me, grief has always been this terrifying, intolerable void that feels like it will swallow me right up, but your writing is helping to convince me that it doesn't necessarily have to. So thank you for acknowledging the uncontrollable rage and the helplessness of watching yourself turn into a crazy person and the difficulty of handling the most basic daily tasks, and for showing me that you can still be a person after than, even if you're a little different than you were before. The world can be a pretty monstrous place but at least there are bedrooms to decorate and pizzas to eat.

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  2. I think writing about this is a great tool for healing as well. Your words will surely help others because when you're in it you do feel like a crazy person! Thanks for sharing Tia.

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  3. Just getting updated on this post, I love how you addressed how friends and family should react. As you know, so many people so near and dear to me have dealt with such sad loss and there are so many times I don't know what to say or do aside from the typical 'I'm here' or 'I'm so sorry.' I will never fully understand the pain you or others have gone through, but I sure do want to try my best!

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  4. Keep reaching out is the BEST advice. For me, everyone wanted to be there in those first few days when I wasn't ready, then weeks and months later when I really needed gentleness and love, nobody wanted to bring it up. I know in the past when I was on the other side of a friend's grief, I would be afraid to bring it up in case they weren't thinking about it. Now I know they were ALWAYS thinking about it. There are 4 people who ALWAYS asked how I was doing, even 6 months down the road, and asked how I was doing physically when no one else thought to ask. When I write baby shower thank yous I am writing those 4 an extra card telling them how their love and thoughtfulness held me together in those fragile, and often just straight up broken days. I know they probably don't even realize what they did for me. People who are that selfless never do. Also, sorry I always write you a fucking novel in the comments section.

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