Miscarriages suck…but you want to know what sucks even more? The fact that so few women talk about them be it out of embarrassment, pain or feeling ashamed for ‘losing their baby’ like it was their phone or keys. I have honestly been debating whether or not to write (let alone publish) this post for about a year now, and ultimately… I decided that it needs to be said because not enough women feel comfortable talking about their experiences and I want to let you know that you are not alone and it’s okay to share your stories even if there is no happily ever after. So I wanted to start by sharing mine.
Unless you are a member of my family or one of the people I went on the humanitarian trip with to India last year, you probably had NO idea that I was nearly 2 months pregnant when I left. John and I were waiting to tell people until we had cleared the “safe zone” of the first trimester before breaking the news publicly.
I was SO excited to be a mom. For a long time I honestly didn’t feel maternal enough to have a child, it wasn’t until I met and married John that I felt this undeniable desire to be a mother. I just knew with him by my side, we could handle anything and I couldn’t wait to start our family. Within days of the news, I had filled my Instagram and Pinterest feeds with cute baby accounts and expecting mothers that would inspire me and help guide me through my journey to motherhood in style. John and I had even taken the perfect “we’re expecting” photo on our trip to India, and I couldn’t wait to post and share the news with all of you.
I think you know where this is headed…one night right before Christmas I started to bleed. At first, I thought it was just spotting and everything was fine. It wasn’t until the next morning that I experienced the most painful cramps I have ever felt, and I realized what was happening. I started to lose a lot of blood and fainted twice. I was having trouble staying conscious and so John and his brother carried me to the car and John drove us to the nearest hospital. I was hospitalized but had held high hopes that the baby would be okay. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
I still remember how each doctor and nurse who came in to check on me tried to offer what solace they could with statistics like ‘1 in 4 women have miscarriages so it’s totally normal’, and reassurances that the trip to India or the sushi I had eaten before I knew I was pregnant were not the cause. That got me thinking…if one in four of us has a miscarriage – why is practically no one talking about it? I think the whole idea of how traumatizing a miscarriage can be gets downplayed in our society because so many women remain silent.
To me, one of the hardest things about my experience was that I followed the ‘wait until your second trimester’ to tell anyone rule. I think this rule is for lack of a better word, dumb, and sets women up with false expectations. In a way it made me feel like I was in the clear once I hit week 10, and everything was going to be smooth sailing from there. I miscarried at the end of my 11th week.
Regardless of if women suffer a miscarriage or not, pregnancy is NO JOKE! Morning sickness is E.P.I.C. – I feel for every single expectant mother who works for a living and has spent their day running between their desk and the bathroom to say goodbye to their lunch, not to mention full-time moms who have to take care of their kids while managing a pregnancy. As a blogger who is constantly in front of the camera, I felt so self conscious in photos and was super worried about getting dropped by clients. I had gained some pregnancy weight, but with no pregnancy to share anymore, no one knew that’s what it was and I was worried that people just thought I had said yes to one too many bags of Cheetos.
Seriously though, why should women have to wait to tell people they are expecting?! It’s like we have been taught and accepted the fact that we are only allowed to tell people once it’s ‘safe’ to do so, that way we don’t inconvenience them if it doesn’t work out. For starters, it’s never really ‘safe’. The shitty reality is that miscarriages and stillbirths happen in all stages of pregnancy, so this mentality keeps us from having the support we need. Instead, many women who have a miscarriage are suffering in silence with little to no support from their co-workers, friends, and family because no one even knows what’s happening. So why not celebrate every moment and get the support we need from the very beginning? Happy ending or not.
Secondly…a miscarriage will have its awkward moments. True story: John and I were dropping off Christmas gifts and given that we had gotten married in September, it was only natural for some of our friends to ask us about when we were thinking of having kids. I still remember the immediate panic and pain I felt creep through my body and probably looked like I had to pass gas…meanwhile John is stumbling through an answer while squeezing my hand probably hoping I don’t loose it and start crying. #awkAF
Then there are the people who I did tell about my pregnancy, and hadn’t heard the bad news yet. Another true story: I was heading into pilates and ran into some of the babes I had worked with at the studio before my class. They had heard that I was expecting and came running up to congratulate me on the good news…at which point I had to break the bad news. Also #awkAF
The truth is there are going to be those awkward moments, no matter what. To be completely honest, the hugs I received from the girls at pilates healed my soul far more than sitting in awkward silence with the friends who had no idea what was going on. That is why I am finally talking about my experience in hopes of helping other women realize they are not alone, not by a long shot. I strongly urge any expecting mothers out there to create the support system you need from day one. It helps.
I know this blog is way heavier than what I typically share with you, but I felt it needed to be said. Now for the GOOD NEWS! That’s right, I do have some really exciting news to share with you. A silver lining to a very dark cloud that has hung over me for months. I’M PREGNANT AGAIN! Almost a year later to the day (on mine and John’s one year anniversary nonetheless), I found out I was expecting again and John and I are STOKED! We have nicknamed our little one Pickle Chip and can’t wait to meet them. I just had my first ultra-sound and I am 9 weeks pregnant, the Doctor even gave us a 3D photo to take home.
This time around I’m telling everyone from my mom to the UPS guy, and it has been so fun to share the news with loved ones and complete strangers alike. I’m finding that everyone from friends and family, to clients and brands are incredibly supportive of me and my needs as a pregnant woman. I can honestly say that establishing a solid support system early on has made a world of difference in my wellbeing. In reality, pregnancy is not something to hide or be ashamed of as a businesswoman, and while my productivity my take a little dip, that’s okay because a little human life that John and I created is growing inside me, and that is pretty freaking awesome!!! Last but not least, I have mentally prepared myself for the fact that regardless of how much I take care of myself for our baby, I still have little control over the outcome of my pregnancy. In many ways this mental shift has taught me to find joy in every part of the journey, not just the destination.
My new motto for motherhood? Don’t Wait to Celebrate!
P.S. I want to give a MAJOR HEARTFELT SHOUTOUT to Jenna Kutcher and my sister, Eva Witesman. When I went through my miscarriage last year I took to blogs and Google searches to find anyone who I could relate to about my pain and find some kind of a roadmap out of the darkness. To my surprise I found virtually none…with a few exceptions, Jenna’s blog and my sisters personal experiences. I have linked both of their stories and encourage you to read them. Their vulnerability inspired me to be brave and fueled me with the courage I needed to write this article. xx Jess