To date, on my blog, I have published 604 posts. All of them about health, wellness, or recipes. Nothing about anything personal, emotional, or hard to talk about. No peek inside all of the imperfection that happens behind the scenes. Today, I am going to share a story that is painful, real, and not talked about “in public” a whole lot. Especially in the Real Food, healthy living communities that I am a part of….because when we are healthy, these sorts of things don't happen, right?
I suffered a miscarriage.
I never in a million years thought this would happen to ME! It's so humbling when you realize that you can do everything “right” and still suffer a miscarriage. I thought I could control pregnancy. It is not in my control, it never was, and it never will be. A hard pill to swallow.
I wanted to get this message out there because I know so many women immediately blame themselves when there is a loss.”I should not have been so stressed…..had that glass of wine…..gone on that trip…..exercised so much…..ate that “forbidden food”….” None of this is your fault. It's not in your control.
When you eat clean, exercise, sleep eight hours, supplement properly, and take care of yourself, you have complete control, right? I was so wrong. We don't have control. This was a big wake up call for me.
My emotions are very raw as I write this, as I am still actively miscarrying. I decided to write now because I can both use this as a cathartic way of putting this pain out to the universe and also because it's all still playing out in my mind. Raw. Real. Intensely painful.
I always thought that miscarriage would never happen to me…..
Until it did.
It shattered me.
I was angry at myself. I didn't trust my body, and I felt defective, hollow, and old.
What kind of person preaches healthy living online, and then “allows” this to happen, I thought. What will everyone think of me? I felt like I had a stamp on my forehead: “rejected”
I had three healthy pregnancies. Never once did I have to see a negative pregnancy test. All of my pregnancies I felt great, elated! Never sick, only tired in the beginnning.
All of my births were exactly what I had hoped for: natural, non-medicated, no interventions. Healthy babies. I high-fived my husband: “We did well!”
That's what I thought at least, until we lost a pregnancy.
I had to really look at myself on the most human level, as imperfect. Something very hard for a perfectionist to do.
My heart goes out to every woman who has suffered a miscarriage, a stillbirth, an infant loss. It. Is. Soul crushing. Paralyzing. It puts so many things into your head and tears your heart into pieces. I want to hug each and every woman who has endured a loss. It cuts so deep. I am so so sorry.
This pregnancy was the one we had actually planned! I missed my period on Monday, peed on a stick on Tuesday: positive. Waited. Peed on another stick on Wednesday: positive. Told my husband. Dug out the baby journal (I write to all of my babies when I am pregnant) and set my due date in my friend Genevieve's (Mama Natural) birth course so I could get her weekly emails and updates throughout my pregnancy, and also dug out Genevieve's amazing pregnancy book. Ready for another wonderful pregnancy! Business as usual. I was 5 weeks and some change, and ready to rock this pregnancy!
Then, on Sunday, I went to the bathroom and there was blood.
No……no, no, NO!
My heart stopped.
I couldn't breathe.
The world around me muffled.
I immediately went to bed and prayed. Maybe if I lay flat it will stop. The nurse brain in me knew this was not true. But I prayed anyway.
In the morning, I slowly walked to the bathroom. I passed a clot. Instant tears. Ugly, hot tears. I just sat there, for what seemed like an eternity.
My husband said he would “take care of the morning” and get the kids off to school. I called my midwives from my closet because I didn't want the kids to hear me. I could barely even get a word out to the triage nurse through my sobbing. She told me to come in.
The earliest appointment was at 2:00pm, so I had to wait the entire day. The longest day of my life. I considered going for a run because that is how I process my life. That couldn't happen, not when I was bleeding. So I showered and hid in my bedroom until the appointment. So ashamed of myself. I felt defective, unworthy, all of the ugly things a person can say to themselves. I confided in a few close friends, who also shared stories of loss. Something I never knew about them. These stories remain hidden. So much shame and grief we carry around.
The time came to go to my appointment and I emerged from my room. Dressed in all gray, it matched my mood. An oversized sweater, I felt like I wanted to hide my defective body.
My midwife was so excited to see us! Until she found out why. The conversation took a lower tone. I got on the table, she did a pelvic exam and asked me some questions. I was numb the entire time, and I don't really even remember our conversation.
Up next, the lab, to draw an hCG. Then, we went home. I still hadn't even eaten one bite of food that day. Back up to my room. More crying. Then I got the call, hCG was 11. Ominous. It would be a loss. The hot tears came back. I don't even remember what my midwife said. I retreated to my bed and went to sleep.
In the past, I had consoled friends who suffered miscarriages, secretly confident that it would never happen to me, and also confident that if I had a loss early in pregnancy that it would not affect me because the baby is only a “ball of cells” at that point. Right? I am a Nurse, I can “science” my way out of anything.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though I had only known about this little being for 5 days, I was its mother. There was life, a soul. It was mine. If only for a few short days. THAT was the part I did not expect.
This baby had a due date. December 10th.
I had names picked out. Determined to have another girl, I would have named her Audrey.
I had started my baby journal…..then, five short days later, I had to write my goodbye. The hardest thing I have ever written, besides this post.
That was two days ago. I am still so numb, in shock, and devastated. But my mind is in a better place now. A place of peace, thanks to two things: my dear friends and God.
I decided to completely surrender to this. To turn to God, prayer, and my journal. So many questions. So much blame. As I talked with my friends and they shared their stories of loss I realized that this is not in my control. That there is a plan for every one of us. There is a plan for every soul. Would I ever, for even one second, think my friends who suffered a loss were defective? Absolutely not! So why was I doing this to myself?
I try to look for the lesson in everything, for the light behind the darkness. After turning myself inside out trying to find out WHY I realized that I had been getting so many messages around slowing down. Slow down, Kate. Stop. Just stop. This was the final kick in the pants that I do not need to strive for perfection in E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. No one can be perfect.
I have the words “Be still, and know that I am God” hanging on the wall in my kitchen, and yet I can never seem to be still. Life is happening right now, if I don't stop and be present, I will not fully live. This is what I am taking away from this experience. Stop always looking ahead. Stop always planning and trying to control. Stand in the middle of the mess.
Life is messy and beautiful, and short. Sometimes painfully short.
I want this message to be heard far and wide. So many women wear their perfection as a badge of honor — I did! We think that if we are “perfect” with everything we do in life, then we are in complete control. I know, I used to think that too. Control is an illusion. We need to accept ourselves as we are, perfectly imperfect. Everyone has a story, and it does not have to be played out with artistic perfection like it appears on social media. We are all real, human, living creatures and we all have our ups and downs.
I want to talk to those of you who share in my strive for perfection. Please stop for a minute and just love yourself exactly as you are right now.
You are amazing. Okay?
Say it out loud.
One of my favorite meditations is the Ho’oponopono. I now have it written down where I can see it every day, and say it out loud: “I Love You, I'm Sorry, Forgive Me, Thank You.” Write it on your bathroom mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and say it out loud every day. It will change your life. Love yourself, you are amazing!!! You are created in His image.
Even though I am still grieving this loss so very much, it has given me a new perspective. I am going to embrace the mess in life. I am going to stop hating on myself for everything that I deem imperfect. My internal dialog is going to be filled with more love and less judgment. I am going to slow down.
We are still planning for our rainbow baby, and I know that it will happen. This time I plan to rest, to be at peace, and to appreciate the journey. I am not in control.
To all of you who share in this painful journey, my heart goes out to you. You are beautiful and amazing, and perfectly imperfect.
After I finished tearfully writing this post in a coffee shop, I pulled myself back together so I could go be on “recess duty” at my children's school. On the way over there a friend sent me a message of a podcast to listen to, so I listened on the drive. It spoke directly to my heart and lifted me up, I knew that I had to learn to “Love the Mud.” In the podcast, he talked about how God knows we are made of dust and our lives our muddy. The muddy mess-the challenges, struggles, sin, and pain in our lives make meaning. Listen to the message HERE.
Luckily, it was a blustery day, so my watery eyes and red cheeks did not stand out to anyone on the playground. Even my kids didn't notice, they were just happy that I was there. My babies. Then, I noticed a few of the boys were trying to dig a mud puddle to play in. That was put to a stop by another playground attendant. The boys bolted, off to the next playground adventure. I noticed something amazing in that mud puddle. I immediately said to myself “love the mud.” The message in the podcast was now right there manifested in the mud in front of me. It was so clear that I took a picture and put it up on Instagram, to forever capture this moment. He was whispering to me. He is always with me.
I know that everything is going to be okay. Even when life gets muddy.
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