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It’s Okay

by Meghann on October 28, 2014

A week or two ago I made plans to have dinner with a co-worker. As we were heading out she mentioned something about the amazing cocktails the restaurant was famous for, in reply I said, “I know, when I was pregnant the bartender made a special virgin cocktail that was delicious.” That’s when the awkward silence kicked in.  It was as if I made this taboo statement that made her uncomfortable and unsure how to respond.

Truthfully, the statement sort of slipped out. I spent 12 long weeks protectively hiding my pregnancy from friends, co-workers, and even close family members. When the pregnancy unexpectedly ended, I couldn’t get on the phone with those same friends and family members fast enough. I was in pain and needed a shoulder (multiple shoulders) to cry on.

In the weeks that followed my pregnancy, I spent a long time questioning how to move on. Do I pretend this pregnancy never existed? Do I forget how sick I was trying to find a Chick Fil A after work because it was the only thing I knew would make me feel better? Do I pretend I never had to playfully argue with a bartender when he questioned why I wanted a virgin cocktail? (I mean, it was happy hour after all) Do I ignore the fact I had pregnancy brain and let more than one thing completely slip from my mind?

…Or do I celebrate the pregnancy and the life that resulted from it – no matter how short that life was?

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My one and only “bump” photo taken at 11 weeks.

It took a while to make pregnancy related statements without succumbing to tears, but eventually it happened. I didn’t want to forget the pregnancy or make believe it never happened. So I began openly talking more about the pregnancy, not just that it ended, but how I felt while pregnant.

I think I threw my co-worker off when I referenced being pregnant when I no longer was. Once a pregnancy ends, the topic of that pregnancy becomes taboo, but I wanted to let her know that wasn’t the case. It’s okay to talk about the symptoms, the joy, and even the pain. I want to talk about it and acknowledge the pregnancy did in fact happen and wasn’t just a dream. I don’t want her to feel sad every time I mention it, it’s just another part of my history – just like any other life event.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending my cousin’s wife’s baby shower. Of course, baby showers – especially ones where the majority of those in attendance are already moms – usually turn into an afternoon of reminiscing and storytelling. The topic of pregnancy related cravings/ avoidances came up at one point and one cousin told a story of how she couldn’t stand the smell of food cooking while pregnant and how one particular incident involving her husband trying to do something nice by cooking dinner, led to an evening attached to the toilet while the house aired out. Everyone laughed and I was tempted to tell my own antidote of how my husband and I basically survived on take-out while I was pregnant because the only thing I wanted was chicken tenders, French fries, and burgers (which is really, really unusual for me). However, I stopped myself before moving forward. While I was okay telling the story, I didn’t want it to become awkward, just as the conversation had turned with my co-worker. I didn’t want the room to become sad or lose the celebrating atmosphere. So I held my tongue and just smiled and nodded while everyone shared.

Those stories are every mom’s badge of honor and I suddenly felt like an outsider who lost her access to the mom club. There are still tricky situations, as there always will be in life, and I’m learning to take them one step at a time.

Sometimes I write posts just to get my thoughts out there and I have no idea how to end them or if I even have a point. Perhaps I just want to let others out there know “it’s okay.” It’s okay to talk about it, it’s okay to acknowledge it, and it’s okay to remember.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sandy October 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm

My friend went through an entire pregnancy and gave birth..to a stillborn. Her body still made milk of course and her hormones were all over the place. She chose to have a full funeral..with a tiny casket and talks about her daughter often.

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2 Molly October 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Thank you

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3 Sabrina October 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Thinking of you Meghann.

What beautiful words you shared. I, too, remember those awkward silences which just made me feel awkward. You’re right that it’s ok, and normal too, to talk about it all.

xo.
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4 Monica October 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm

This is the best post you’ve ever written. Excellent writing.

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5 Danielle October 28, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Its okay to talk about it! xoxo

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6 Andrea October 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm

So true. All of it. I find myself biting my tongue so other people (mostly strangers) don’t feel awkward. Friends, family, and acquaintances, I freely talk about it. One, to help remove the taboo and two, because the baby was just as much my child as my daughter who was born and I feel he deserves to be acknowledged.

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7 Alisha @ Real Girl Running October 28, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Thanks for sharing Meghann. I really feel for you and Derek, although that I have no way of understanding given I haven’t ever been through something like that. I do know it happens more than most people think. It’s really brave of you to put all your feelings about your pregnancy out into the world, and I’m sure there are women (and men) who can sympathise, but also others who are probably really grateful for your honesty and letting them know they are not alone. Hang in there!
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8 Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes October 28, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I think you have to talk about it to be able to come to terms with what happened and use it as a way to help you deal with what happened. It’s hard because when something like that happens and you need to talk about it to cope but it’s awkward for everyone else because they don’t know what to say. I had my heart broken a couple of months ago and I know that’s a lot different from what you’re going through, but I still think the advice above applies. My therapist told me that I need to talk about what I went through to be able to move on from it and I think it’s probably the same for you. Everyone is here to support you and I hope everyone is being respectful of you when you post things like this. You’re in my thoughts!
Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes recently posted..How I Add More Flavor to My Water + Nuun Giveaway!

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9 Kate October 29, 2014 at 12:04 am

I had my own awkward moment — I thought — at the eye doctor recently when I said that I hadn’t been in a few years because I had been pregnant or nursing pretty much the whole time. “Oh,” she said, “how many kids do you have?” Uh, just one. Three pregnancies, one baby. And she shared with me that she’d had seven pregnancies and two kids. Which is all to say that ultimately, you share what you feel comfortable with — and in time, what that is to you may change — and remember that while it’s a shitty club to be a part of, you’re far from the only member. It won’t always be awkward. At some point, it’ll just be a part of you.

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10 Emily Lutz October 29, 2014 at 6:01 am

Wow! What a great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

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11 Libbi October 29, 2014 at 6:20 am

I feel similarly. I’ve been becoming braver about talking about my own miscarriages, even though they were super early. I’ve been feeling more capable about talking about all of it. It’s hard when you hide it for so long and is so incredibly emotionally charged, but I’ve felt that it does get easier and eventually you know exactly who you can say the words aloud to.

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12 Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy October 29, 2014 at 6:38 am

I like reading about your life, continue on writing posts like these. Stories are fun, especially.
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13 Susie @ SuzLyfe October 29, 2014 at 6:56 am

Be strong. Thinking about you. And yes, it is ok–we have to celebrate life, even if we also grieve for it.

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14 Goldie October 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

i love this post. it pretty much sums up exactly how I felt. I have chosen not to hide it. I will quite happily say ‘when I was pregnant…’ I don’t want to forget.

it’s okay.
xxxxx
Goldie recently posted..I went a little awol but the good news is I feel…

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15 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed October 29, 2014 at 8:24 am

This is something I honestly never thought about until you wrote about it. You’re so right, it’s so taboo and it shouldn’t be! I hope you’re finding strength <3

Also, for some reason I can't read any of the comments on your blog any more, they never load below the post. Idk if this is something with my browser or something with your blog, but I thought I'd mention it.
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16 Tracy October 29, 2014 at 8:41 am

From someone who has also gone through loss… It takes time to be OK… You are doing an amazing job. Be proud of how far you’ve come. I had to turn down two invitations to baby showers after my loss. As much as I wanted to be there and celebrate someone else’s joy, it was still very hard to come to terms. It’s going to be OK. Time heals.

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17 Jamie October 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

I completely understand this feeling. The one instance that always gets to me and brings me back to those darker times is when I’m at a doctor’s office and have to fill out paperwork indicating how many times I have been pregnant, it feels weird to say 3 when I only have 1 child to show for it and I always feel like an imposter putting that on a piece of paper. Just when I feel like I’ve come to peace with my back to back miscarriages I cringe as I have to explain to the doctor that yes I have been pregnant 3 times and only have 1 child. <3 It does get easier and you do NOT lose access to the mom club just because you have suffered a loss. <3

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18 katie October 29, 2014 at 9:30 am

Having been through an eectopic pregnancy I completely understand. For how little people talk about miscarriages even less tall about ectopic pregnancies. All I wanted was to talk about it and connect with others who had been in my situation. At first it was hard and now 2.5 years and a 1 year old boy later I can talk about it like anything else from the past. It truly helps the healing process by tall in about it. Prayers to you and your family.

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19 Robin October 29, 2014 at 9:55 am

I completely understand where you’re coming from! That pregnancy and baby DID happen and you never want (or will) forget it. To memorialize our loss, I got a tattoo of 2 small baby feet on the back of my neck. This was my way our baby will always be with me. I love when people ask me about them when I put my hair up. It gives me a chance to bring that baby back even just for a minute. I usually just say “it’s for our baby who we lost too soon!”

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20 Kelly October 29, 2014 at 10:02 am

i totally understand, while I don’t think it’s taboo, I think sometimes people just don’t know what to say. Even I don’t know what to say sometimes when people tell me they’ve had a miscarriage as well. We all have different ways of grieving the loss (and not one way is the “right” way) and so sometimes people just are at a loss. I have a few people,that I talk to about it, some have been through it, and some haven’t, but what they all have common is that they listen when I need an ear and talk when I need advice. Make sure you have a support system, in person or via email, that you can really lean on.
Kelly recently posted..The 13th Gift: Surviving Loss

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21 Katie October 29, 2014 at 10:02 am

Thank you for sharing! A friend of mine had a week 20 miscarriage last year and the first time she mentioned her pregnancy after it was no longer viable was hard, but the more she shares about it, the easier it is to discuss. People more than likely don’t want to hurt you, so you should share as much as you feel comfortable with whoever you feel comfortable. You seem to be aware of others’ feelings, which is so sweet of you. Keep up the good work!

P.S. I couldn’t actually read the other 15 comments before me….Maybe they’re stuck in “waiting for approval” but just thought I’d let you know!
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22 Toni October 29, 2014 at 10:21 am

I completely understand that feeling — eight years later there’s still an awkward silence when I mention my second (miscarried) pregnancy. People want to be nice and they don’t want to upset you, so it’s easier for them not to talk about it. Thanks for sharing — I know a lot of women who miscarried will identify with this.

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23 Olivia October 29, 2014 at 10:26 am

The more you share stories like these the more at ease your friends will be. It may not have even been as awkward for your friend as you think–she may just have just been shocked that you brought it up and a little unprepared after weeks of silence on the topic. That said, it’s probably best that you held your tongue at the shower–a baby shower isn’t really the best place to bring up miscarriages (just like it’s not the place for BTDT mom’s to discuss their gruesome 36 hour labor). Nothing but sunshine and butterflies for the mom to be!

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24 [email protected] October 29, 2014 at 11:10 am

I love that you are sharing your coping mechanisms with us. You’re going through the stages as you should, and I love that you are open about it, as hard as it is and as much as it can sometimes hurt. You seem to be reaching the acceptance stage, and that is so great to see. You’ve got so many cheerleaders here…you’re so strong and you are so right with this post. Every life should be celebrated, 100%.
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25 Belinda October 29, 2014 at 11:53 am

Love this post. Thank you.

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26 Ali October 29, 2014 at 11:54 am

I can’t thank you enough for writing about your miscarriage. I had a miscarriage this week and reading your posts has given me a lot of comfort.

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27 Valerie | Pursuit of Sweetness October 29, 2014 at 1:13 pm

<3 <3 <3 Thank you for sharing something so brave and honest.
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28 Erin I October 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I so agree with you and love this post. I hardly told anyone when I was pregnant the first time, but then told so many people when we lost it. The more I talked about it, the more healed a I felt. I am now in the seventh week of my fourth pregnancy (one healthy baby so far) and I find that each time I feel free to share the news earlier because I will share with those who love me what I am going through – no matter what happens. I really value when people talk about pregnancy loss and infertility struggles….it helps take away the stigma of something that should not be shameful in any way. Thank you for sharing your story and being a part of bringing this hard hard situation to light.

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29 Haley October 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm

<3

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30 Mollie October 29, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I so value your posts about this. I think you are so brave, and strong to be able to be open about your situation. My husband and I are currently “trying” for our first time… aka I just went off the pill, but after not getting a period for a bit, went to the doctor and found I have a low functioning thyroid, so just praying to even be able to get pregnant. My mom miscarried with her first which of course scares me. But we just need to believe everything happens for a reason. The fact you were able to get pregnant is AMAZING!! You are doing great XOXO

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31 Sarah October 29, 2014 at 11:12 pm

meghann, you are incredible. stay strong. <3
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32 Juli D. October 30, 2014 at 8:16 am

Hey Meghann,

I’m sorry for your loss, but I want to offer a kind of different perspective. That response is extremely typical in a situation where someone has lost someone – miscarriage or death. People don’t know how to respond, and often say nothing. It really should be taken as an implication you said something taboo. My best friend lost her 9 month old daughter to a genetic disease, and they got that response from people a lot when they mentioned her after she passed. People aren’t trying to be rude, make you feel like you said something taboo, etc. People just don’t know how to respond and I wouldn’t read that much into it. Again, I’m sorry for your loss, and I believe when anyone loses someone they can talk about it as much or as little as they like.

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33 [email protected] October 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Having never experienced a loss, I can’t say I know how you feel, but I am so very sorry you had to go through this.
[email protected] recently posted..The Struggle Is Real

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34 IP October 30, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Thank you for writing and being so open about your miscarriage. I would be been 18 weeks today and I too feel like my key to the Mom club was taken away. Your writing reminds we are part of a club too- one we wish we weren’t a part of-but we are. Hugs to you.

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35 Maria October 31, 2014 at 10:39 am

This post really resonated with me, and I appreciate you sharing it! When my dad died unexpectedly last year, it was so obvious that everyone around me was tip-toeing around any conversation that had to do with dads. To NOT talk about my dad seemed criminal, though, so I made sure to go out of my way and tell them that I need to talk about my dad and that I’d like them to continue sharing stories about theirs, too. I know that people have the best intentions, but it’s so true that the only way that you know how someone feels about something is to ask them.

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36 Beth October 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Thank you so much for writing about this. I just had a miscarriage last week. I was 12 weeks along and my husband and I were almost ready to tell people. I was devastated and I’m still grieving the loss of the person who could have gone on to find a cure for cancer and raise a family of his/her own.

Colleagues at work constantly trade pregnancy stories and I just sit there and laugh and smile on cue. I also don’t want to make such a happy, fun conversation turn awkward and sad. I wish women would feel more comfortable sharing their miscarriage experiences since, as my OB-GYN described them, they are a rite of passage for any woman who wants to start a family. Thank you for starting this conversation. I wish we could all be as brave 🙂

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37 Kate November 1, 2014 at 9:35 am

Bravo – One of the all time best posts I’ve ever read (and I read a lot!).

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38 Valerie Many LeBlanc November 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I had the exact same thing happen to me when I had my misscariage three yrs ago, which was exactly the same thing you experienced. It’s been 3 yrs and people still don’t know how to react. Thank you for shareing your story with us. Your in my thoughts

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39 Lydia November 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I love this post and love that you are talking about this and healing. Everyone wants to talk about pregnancy but no one wants to discuss miscarriage. I miscarried at 9 weeks, after trying for over 10 years to get pregnant. I was devastated and needed to talk and heal. I had so many friends and family privately message me, even random bloggers (like I am now) telling me their stories of loss and offering their words of encouragement. It helped me tremendously and although the pain in my heart is as real today as it was when I found out, you do heal, you do move on, you will smile and tell a funny story about your pregnancy and that life that did grow in you. He or she deserves to be celebrated since they were loved from the moment you found out. And yes, you will still cry – and its okay! I’m happy that you are talking about his and seem to be healing. You will always mourn that life taken too soon, but you will heal and it does get better.

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40 Shelly November 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

I’m glad you wrote this post! It is okay. It is also very healing to get these thoughts out! My thoughts are with you as you heal and grow.

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41 Holly December 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

You write the experience of life after miscarriage so very well Meg. I have been there multiple times and it very much puts you in a space where u can relate to the moms but also bringing it up makes you an awkward downer in a way. The best thing we can do is talk about it and share the feelings because 1 in 4 other women are also suffering as well. It’s easier once you’re past the initial grief of the loss. I’ve been the one who left a baby shower in tears because I thought I was ready. I wasn’t! It gets easier:)

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42 Hannah December 26, 2014 at 9:57 am

Thank you for being so open. I miscarried two years ago and it still feels weird to talk normally about it to others. I find that talking about it you find out many others have gone through the same.

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