It’s been 11 years since I miscarried our baby girl. Her name was Skylar Mackenzie Shaw, and there are times I often think about who she would have been, what type of person she would have become had she lived this side of heaven.
But along with that comes the guilt because had I not lost her, I wouldn’t have my sweet boy who just turned 11 recently. That’s right, I miscarried and got pregnant again within a two-month timeline.
How do I feel today? That’s the big question, isn’t it? One that I find many women still don’t discuss because the topic of miscarriage is still considered taboo for some reason.
But is it okay to grieve, even years after you have a miscarriage? The simple answer is –yes.
There is no time frame for getting over the grief of a miscarriage. In time, the painful memories of it recede, but never truly go away. Some years, I don’t even think about it. Others, when the first week of May hits, I feel off balance. A sense of missing something for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on. And then it hits me. When I’m around my nieces. Or see little girls at the mall. Mother’s with their daughter’s shopping for grad dresses, and I break down.
Pain is not something you can just put in a box to be kept like a dirty secret. It’s something we all feel differently but is worth sharing.
Having another child after a miscarriage can make things even harder. I felt as if I was letting my baby girl down by not remembering her during joyful moments while being pregnant with my son.
Or when he was celebrating birthdays and I thought of her in a split second, guilt washed in like the tide along the shore, splashing against the rocks.
Did it mean I didn’t love him as much as I loved her? Shouldn’t I feel blessed my son is in my life?
Of course, I feel blessed.
But I also feel grief.
This can go on for many years.
The pain dulls. The memory never fades. I have never forgotten what we went through that fateful day we discovered months into the pregnancy that her heart had just stopped beating. Being told she was a girl. I had names picked out. Pink outfits sitting at home. A crib ready to be put together.
Even after my D&C because mother nature was cruel enough not to finish the job it had started, I still felt deeply depressed. I felt robbed and angry. And even when I got pregnant right away with my son, the mixture of emotions that invaded my mind was so overwhelming. Many people think having another child after one dies helps the healing process. It may, but for some, it can bring confusion, guilt, anger, resentment, and a deep resounding sadness as to why the miscarriage happened in the first place.
My mother told me God took my child because he needed her in heaven and she wasn’t yet ready to be with me.
I accepted that my daughter wasn’t meant to be in my arms but only in my heart. My boy, however, he was ready and has filled my life with so many wonderful moments of laughter, smiles, tears of joy and extreme happiness. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t imagine what life would’ve been with her.
People will tell you to get over it. You should be over it. It’s been years. You have other children that have filled the void. Your grief is something you should just let go of. Some will even say: Oh you had a miscarriage so you didn’t have a child die.
The truth is, the void will never be filled. It will become smaller, but it will always be there, and can catch you off guard when you least expect it. Having the right support during these unexpected moments is so very important.
I’m lucky. My husband understands my feelings. He gets it when some years, I’m okay with things. I’m happy. And then other times, a little girl will smile at me and I break down weeping as though the pain was yesterday.
It’s only for a moment, but the heartache leaves is a gaping hole of sadness that needs to be felt. It needs to be talked about, cherished, embraced and remembered so that healing can take place.
So, if you question: Is it okay to feel grief after a miscarriage, even years later.
Nobody knows what it is like to carry a human being inside their body the way a mother does. It’s an array of emotional wonder that we are blessed to have been given, but along with it comes the grief and sadness when that joy is ripped away.
You are never alone.