After being up all night by myself fearing the worst was coming, I was glad my sister was there with me in the morning in my time of need. She held my hair as I sat on the toilet. She wiped the sweat off my forehead with a cool cloth.
Deep breaths. Another contraction. It felt like my insides were coming out. The cramps and sharp pain in my cervix reached a plateau and then he slipped out into the toilet. The pain and cramping immediately subsided and time had stopped at that moment.
It was time to surrender.
“You’re so strong. You’re so amazing. I love you, big sis,” she said. She took a deep breath. “It’s ok; it’s over.”
I needed to see him, or ‘it’. I turned around and looked down and saw a large, red blob in the toilet bowl. I stared at it for a few seconds trying to understand what I was feeling, looking at this little thing, a potential life, that just came out of my body.
I wanted to scoop him out of the toilet and spend a few minutes alone to say goodbye. He looked like a little fish, about three inches long. It wasn’t really a ‘he’, but a sac he could have grown in. “Do you think it’s weird if I take it out of the toilet?” I asked my sister. I wanted to spend some time looking at it up close. She went to the kitchen and came back with a large serving spoon and a Tupperware container. I carefully fished him out and sat on the bathroom floor. I inspected the size and shape and the texture of what was just housed inside of me. It was all very surreal. I took a few minutes to tell him I loved him and then said goodbye. I flushed him and watched him disappear. With him went the future I was just getting used to in my mind; life as a new mother. There was nothing I could do but accept the situation at the moment. I sat on the bathroom floor and stared down the toilet for I don’t know how long.
I had mixed emotions. I felt sad and somewhat numb, but I also felt a tiny bit of calmness because at least I knew my situation. The previous twenty-four hours of wondering what was happening, feeling like I was hanging on to a thread of hope, was excruciating. Finally, the inevitable had happened; I didn’t have to imagine the worst anymore, I had experienced it. It wasn’t meant to be.
Connecting to spirit
When I was pregnant, I often connected with the energy of my baby through meditation. I remember the first time we connected, when I was a few weeks along, and the feeling of joy and lightness was wondrous. The visuals in my mind’s eye – it was like lightning, electricity; a kaleidoscope of bright lights. I felt peaceful, elevated, and sure.
Later that evening on the day of my miscarriage, I reconnected to the energy of his soul again. It was bittersweet. It was also incredibly painful. His little soul wasn’t able to stick around in my body. “I’m sorry, little soul. I’m sorry my body couldn’t house you. Please take care out there. You weren’t ready. It wasn’t meant to be. I love you, I love you, I love you,” I silently said to him.
I layed in bed, my ears ringing with the silence of the room. I was completely still. There was a heaviness in my heart and a hollow emptiness in my womb. I stared at the ceiling while the tears rolled down my cheeks and soaked my pillow. I focused on my breath counting my inhales and exhales.
A few moments passed and the weight of my chest lifted ever so slightly. In the moments when I felt overwhelmed, I realized I could always connect with his little soul whenever I wanted. He would always be a part of me.
Navigating the darkness
It’s been almost two years since that morning in the bathroom with my sister, yet I remember these events like they were yesterday. The cycle of intense crying and momentary relief from my meditations replayed itself over and over again in the days following my loss.
Looking back, I can see my grief process as a series of milestones. I recall one morning, twelve days after it happened, it was the first day I woke up and didn’t cry. It was the first milestone in finding my way forward.
Grief can strike at any time. It can come as a trigger in the form of something someone says, a particular scent, a memory, or a song. As I was getting back to tending to my ‘normal’ life, I feared how many ways I would be triggered. It was impossible to know. I felt like I was going through the motions; going back to work, spending a lot of time alone at the beach, taking an occasional walk with a close friend.
I dreaded interactions with people who didn’t know my situation, in case I broke down into tears for seemingly no reason. At the time of my miscarriage, I was only a few days away from reaching the end of my first trimester; a time when many people announce their good news to the world. Instead, I had to sneak off to the bathroom at work when I needed to cry, so I wasn’t sitting in a puddle of tears at my desk. I wasn’t ready to share with the world why I wanted to hide away in a dark room and keep my feelings to myself. I felt like I was carrying my loss as a dirty little secret.
Life goes on
As the weeks turned into months I slowly began to feel a little better. There were fewer moments of sadness throughout each day. I passed another milestone of going out to dinner with some friends. I was able to enjoy the evening and even have a few laughs. When I got home, I felt guilty that I allowed myself to feel joy. I was supposed to be grieving after all. I had to quickly remind myself that I was allowed to feel joy. It didn’t mean I wasn’t missing my baby or I wasn’t still grieving. It meant I was learning to cope and come to terms with my experiences. As life went on, I could focus forward while holding precious memories of the time I was pregnant close to my heart.
As the months turned into a year, I began to look back upon my experiences with glimpses of appreciation, even for the most difficult and horrific times. Through the worst times I was shown how much love there was from family and close friends to support me through it. Step by step, I felt like I was starting to emerge as a new person; a rebirth of sorts after my traumatic experiences. I was able to connect more with the spirit of my baby and feel less guilt and sorrow. More and more my meditations were met with feelings of love and appreciation.
I no longer had a dirty little secret. I had a precious little secret; a bond only my unborn child and I could share. I knew he would always be with me no matter what. That feeling brought me great comfort. It still does to this day.
The other side of grief
More milestones will come. On April 6th, the anniversary of my miscarriage, I will light a candle and connect to the spirit of my baby. I will allow my emotions to flow as they will. I will honour whatever feelings are surfacing. There is no magic timeline for recovery. I don’t need to get over it either. I know as time goes on, my relationship to my pain will continue to change. I have learned to live with it.
What lies on the other side of grief is faith, hope, courage, and love. I wouldn’t have been able to survive my experiences otherwise.
Adapted from the book ‘Guided by Love: A journey through duality‘