Hello intrepid folks.
This article is one of the saddest things I’m going to write on this platform. It is a personal account and an exhortations piece for anyone who has suffered similar loss.
A few months ago my wife and I received wondrous news: we were going to have a baby.
We were both so happy and so shocked. My darling wife and I had been trying for over a year with no success. We welcomed this little one with hope and anticipation. Each week we bought him toys, clothes, bedding and books on parenting. My wife even referred me to parenting videos on YouTube, which I began to view and follow. With each passing week my wife and I felt our anticipation swell and build like a grand crescendo. We’d laugh and talk about what he/she would be like and how we’d spoil them. We’d speculate what the baby would look like and how I just wanted him/her to have my wife’s beautiful smile.
But, unfortunately, during the first week of November my wife and I got a horrible surprise. We learned during an ultrasound that our baby had passed just a week before.
My wife screamed and cried. I could do nothing but sit there in disbelief and shock. Soon my shock turned to the most horrible pangs I’d ever felt. I wept and wailed uncontrollably for several moments. I shook and shuddered with each sob. I cried aloud to God and asked him not to take our baby. I wanted to believe it was all a nightmare.
I tried to convince myself that this wasn’t true, for I had wanted to be a father more than anything in the world.
My wife and I got home and prepared for a grueling surgery to remove our unborn child within two days. During that car ride we processed our grief both aloud and in bitter silence. For the next few days we said little and the beautiful smile that once adorned my wife’s face was a sad and empty frown. It killed me inside to see her like that.
The following weeks we mourned, we reminisced and we tried to keep ourselves busy to keep moving forward. We spoke to friends, family members, we attended church groups, counseled with doctors and now are trying again to conceive.
I think the hardest moments for me were when I sat down on the ground and took apart her crib and her play set. I felt like someone was roughly cutting me open and yanking out my innards. I felt myself die inside when I put away his things in our closet; storing them away knowing he would never play with them, I would never rock him to sleep or tuck him in. This hit me so hard because being a father was one of the things I wanted most in life, and now that dream was being ripped away from me, along with the little life I’d never know. Yet, even for all of my own horrific pain I can only imagine what my wife is going through.
I’m still mourning. My wife and I are trying to conceive again and we hope to have a baby again, although we know this horrific event could happen once more.
Several friends and several of my wife’s coworkers have come forward with their own experiences with miscarriages. We never knew it was so common. One recurring pattern became clear: a lot of these men and women don’t speak about their miscarriages because of a hidden shame involved. It’s as though they’re afraid of being criticized and scolded for talking about it.
Interestingly, a couple of our own friends and family tried to prod us on with words like: “you’ll get over it” and “be strong, you’ll have another one.”
I am appalled by those responses. Our society blesses the grieving of a lost loved one: child or adult. Yet somehow our society tries to silence or (worse) shame people for grieving over a miscarriage or stillbirth (often using the argument “you never knew the baby”).
It breaks my heart to learn that people are afraid of grieving over their lost babies. Every life is precious no matter how small. Why not mourn the loss of a life you welcomed? Who cares what society tells you? Society wasn’t there when you lost your little one!
I know I’ll never get to play with or raise my child. That possible future is now gone but I know that talking with others helps me through each day.
I invite anyone reading this article who has suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth to break the silence: talk to someone, grieve your baby, and help others who also feel your pain. I’ve included some resources below for anyone who is wanting help and guidance.
Thank you for reading.