By Kate Kole
Staring at the positive pregnancy stick this past summer was, simply put, surreal. My husband was tying his shoes to head out the door and I stopped him.
“Hey, I’m gonna take this test. I’m sure it’ll be nothing. But wait for just a minute.”
We stood, antsy. Pausing our lives for the result that promised to be ready in two minutes but felt more like 20.
He gasped. I screamed. Cue the sweaty, shaky, hugging and “oh my God”. The “how should we tell our family” and the “what do we do now?” and the “can you believe it?”
I called the doctor, still in total shock.
“I think I’m pregnant” I said to the receptionist on the phone. “I mean, that’s what the test says.”
We went in for blood work to confirm it and its reality settled into our bodies just a little bit more with each passing moment.
That weekend, I started to cramp. I Googled the symptoms. I texted my sister and sister-in-law. “This is normal, right?”
And then, I started to bleed. I didn’t need to keep looking online or to ask for reassurance. My body knew.
First thing Monday morning, I got my initial blood work back. Our positive pregnancy was confirmed.
Next, I went for more blood work. Knowing this time, the answer would be different.
And by Tuesday morning, it was.
We weren’t pregnant anymore. We’d had a chemical pregnancy or a “very early miscarriage” depending on which site we read, or which doctor we asked.
In my heart, the definition didn’t matter. I didn’t care what it was called, or, what had scientifically happened. All I knew, was that one day, we were staring at a positive test, and a week later, we weren’t.
Our story isn’t rare. I know that. And I also know that “it could be worse” or “that it could have happened later on, which would have only made it that much harder” or that “technically, we weren’t really pregnant, because implementation didn’t fully occur.” I was reminded of those things, and I heard those comments, throughout the process.
And despite the fact that, yes, it absolutely could have been worse, or the knowledge that other people have gone through harder losses, or the idea that we weren’t really pregnant in the first place, it was still painful. We were still hurting, and grieving, and wondering what this meant for us and for our future.
I was still blaming myself. For the extra two classes I’d taught the week before. For exercising too much, or for resting too little. For having stomach issues that must have somehow played a part, or for taking my anxiety medication, which couldn’t have helped the process. It must have somehow been the result of something I had done. Or something I hadn’t done. My body had failed me. And I, in turn, had failed my husband.
Of course, in conjunction with the guilt I was feeling, and the disappointment we were experiencing, and the minimizing comments we were receiving also came a gift. The people who were just there. The ones who said “I’m sorry you’re going through this,” and “how are you doing?” and “I’m here for you, anytime, no matter what.”
Because, sometimes we don’t need an expert, or a comparison as to how much worse things could be, or advice on what to do next time around. We just need a hug. And a shoulder to cry on. And support to lean into. There are hard and raw moments in life that call for more than answers, justification, or explanation, they call for our presence, comfort and love.
In her book, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, Glennon Doyle says:
“When her pain is fresh and new, let her have it. Don’t try to take it away. Forgive yourself for not having that power. Grief and pain are like joy and peace; they are not things we should try to snatch from each other. They’re sacred. they are part of each person’s journey. All we can do is offer relief from this fear: I am all alone. That’s the one fear you can alleviate.”
I don’t know what you’re facing today, in your body, or your relationships, or your job, or your home, or your family. And even if I did, I likely couldn’t fix it for you, or solve away your pain. But what I know now, and what I can offer is this: It’s okay if you aren’t okay. Your feelings – whether joyful or painful or in between – are valid. Your story matters. You are not alone.
Featured image via Pexels