A few months ago, I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant, again. I went through a whirlwind of emotions, mostly good. We had talked about having a third baby, but making that decision is just so hard. It was like fate decided for us and I was so grateful, so excited.
We had already told our family and many of our friends. We had started picking out names. Calculating when room sharing would need to begin. I brushed off our old baby budget and began adjusting it for our third babe. I was all in from the moment I saw those two pink lines.
A few days after that, I woke up and realized something was wrong. I knew I was having a miscarriage. Writing those words, even months later, breaks my heart wide open.
I was floored by grief and anger and shock. I was young and healthy and fertile enough to get pregnant without even trying. Miscarriage doesn’t happen to early mamas. The girl who gets pregnant without even trying? This doesn’t happen to her.
I wrote about my miscarriage because the thought of being alone in my grief was far more daunting than laying it all out there. And I’m glad I did, because it made me realize I was not alone.
I was stunned and heartbroken by the number of women who reached out to me privately to let me know they too had known this grief. Many of them were young. Some weren’t mothers yet, only for that brief and fleeting time they held new life inside of them. It does happen to the girl who gets pregnant without even trying. It happens to all kinds of women.
I soon found out, through this private outreach of love and support, why young mothers or young would-have-been mothers don’t speak out about their miscarriages. Because when you are young and unexpectedly pregnant and the unthinkable happens, you aren’t always met with gasps of horror, you’re met with sighs of relief.
Your grief doesn’t count because you didn’t want to become a mother. You didn’t try for years.
Your grief doesn’t count because you are young. You can try again. At least you know you can get pregnant.
Your grief doesn’t count because you ought to feel lucky, relieved. You can have a baby when the timing is better. When it won’t ruin your life.
Your grief doesn’t count because this baby wasn’t part of the plan. Your plan, god’s plan, anyone’s plan. Your life can go back to normal now.
Young women are left to battle their grief alone, and feel guilty for feeling that grief at all.
But that grief does matter, it matters deeply.
It doesn’t matter if you are young and it was unexpected, it still hurts deeply to lose those hopes and dreams and even fears that come with new life. It hurts to lose a pregnancy, and there is no shame in that. Your life changes the moment you know there’s a baby growing inside you. You change in ways you don’t quite realize until the unthinkable happens.
It’s okay if the well-intentioned comments hurt. It’s normal to feel angry and sad and heartbroken.
And perhaps by allowing ourselves to feel the vastness of our grief without shame, we can begin to heal.
Read more from Gemma at Journey of Love.