Love & Loss

October, I have learned, is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, so I thought I would share my story. I’ve started writing this at least 10 different times, and even writing it now, I’m not sure I’ll share it in the end. Something I’ve always known, yet still have learned, is that women are so strong. So many of us carry around so much pain, and if writing this could let one person know they aren’t alone, I’ve done my job.

My journey to motherhood started in July 2013. I was 23, and scared out of my damn mind. My whole life, up to that point, felt like I was put on this earth to be a mom, and yet, I had never felt more unprepared for the role of a lifetime. I had a really rough pregnancy, more mentally than physically, though that wasn’t the easiest either. After the fact, I learned I suffered from prenatal depression. Who knew that was a thing? Another topic not talked about enough. I had my daughter the following March and have never felt more alive. I gave her life, but really she gave me mine. She has taught me so much about myself. She’s the reason I pursued my dream of starting my own photography + design business. Time and time again she has pushed me to help better myself so that I can be the best version of me. My dream after having her was always to give her siblings. Something I never had, but truly felt it would be the greatest gift I could give her. I always knew I wanted kids close in age but every time we talked about actually making this happen something held me back. I didn't understand how something I wanted so badly scared me so much... and now I know why. Every time I thought I was ready, I convinced myself otherwise, till one day I didn’t.

I had never felt more excitement and joy than when I found out I was going to be a mom of two. I began imagining who this little person would grow up to be. What would you look like? Already knowing how much Ro would love you was more than I could stand. Rowan was made to be a big sister. So, finding out I had “lost you” was more heartbreak than I ever imagined possible. I have watched a few friends go through this, making me realize now, after going through a miscarriage myself, that you truly don’t understand the pain until you’ve gone through it yourself. It’s grief like I’ve never experienced before. I’ve accepted that it comes in waves, and I let the emotions crash down on me when they need to. I want to wish my fellow amazingly strong mamas out there so much love and healing. I know these tiny souls we carried, no matter how long or brief, will never be forgotten.

What my miscarriage has taught me:

Take time to grieve

I took a good week off to focus on family and work. The day it happened I took the night for myself. I just needed to be alone. The next day M and I took the day to reconnect. I took a step back from my phone. I’ve been more in the moment with Rowan. I’ve been more committed and inspired with my work. To be fair photography is a part of my life, it's my creative outlet, so it doesn’t always feel like “work”.

Support is crucial

I feel lucky to have such an amazing husband, mom, and group of friends whose support has been everything. I’m allowing myself to grieve. And when guilt sneaks up on me, I do my best to push it to the back, because deep down I know I am not to blame. I’ve read a number of articles recently, which have helped give me some level of comfort and solidarity. I will try and link a few of them below. One in particular is a powerful photo series honoring women who have had stillbirths and miscarriages, reminding us that those pregnancies and births still matter.

Find the silver lining

The biggest thing my miscarriage has taught me is to look for light in darkness. He (because I felt this baby was a boy) came into my life when I felt so lost, and was struggling with all the roles of my life. But he left me with answers, and now I know that was his purpose.

Links:

https://www.mother.ly/news/why-james-van-der-beek-says-we-need-a-new-word-for-miscarriage

https://www.facebook.com/pg/riseforwomennj/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1938326709559510

gabrielle gerard