Right now, I should be sporting my fifth-month baby bump, registering for cute nursery items and picking out baby names with my husband. Even though my miscarriage occurred three months ago, I still have times when I go back to that baby planning mindset.
My first pregnancy came as a total surprise. I conceived two weeks after my wedding, and found out that I was pregnant not even a month after we got married. Since I have inflammatory bowel disease, I was told it would be more difficult for me to get pregnant. But lo and behold, I ended up being fertile Myrtle. I got pregnant the first time we decided not to prevent it.
Regardless, we were ecstatic. The moment the pregnancy test came back positive, our lives changed. We suddenly were postponing our summer honeymoon trip to Ireland to save money for prenatal appointments, a house and a perfect nursery for our baby.
But two months after finding out I was pregnant and planning every detail of our future child's life, we found out there was no heartbeat. I had some choices to make. I had a procedure done called a D&C (dilation and curettage), and we were able to have genetic testing done.
This whole experience was much more of a physical, mental and emotional journey than I could have ever imagined.
Here are the five lessons I learned throughout the experience that -- although they seem negative -- helped me reflect on my miscarriage in a positive way:
1. Mixed emotions are totally normal.
At the time, I felt I was OK. I told myself everything happens for a reason.
But I still felt loss and sadness. I still felt confused about why this was happening, and how I was going to get through it.
Thankfully, I had a husband, friends and family. Even if they couldn't understand what I was feeling, they let me work it out in the way I needed to. If I felt sad, I cried. If I needed to get out and do something fun, they joined.
If I wanted to be alone, they gave me my space. This gave me a safe space to work through my emotions. I managed to get to a point where I could feel comfortable talking about my miscarriage without breaking down each time.
2. It will be difficult to look to the future.
Right after my miscarriage, I had a hard time looking to the future. I had been planning my life around a baby, and now, I had to suddenly go back to what it was before. I decided to put my focus toward ways to better myself. In this way, when I am able to have children in the future, I will be the best version of myself.
I ended up at a yoga studio shortly after my miscarriage. It was holding a 200-hour registered yoga teacher training course. I decided to dive in and commit to the intensive, 19-week program. It was the best decision I could have made.
Not only did it create a safe space for me to share my thoughts and feelings, but it also helped me learn more than I could have imagined about myself, my yoga practice and those around me.
Instead of dwelling on the fact that I wasn't taking a prenatal yoga class, I grew from the experience. Refocus on the things that will make you happy and healthy.
3. The true colors of others will show.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be open about my pregnancy, no matter what the case would be. I didn't go posting it on social media, but we had told our family and close friends that I was pregnant before I miscarried.
When I lost the baby, I knew I wanted to feel comfortable talking about it. It isn't something I'm ashamed of.
Because of this, I was open to the reactions and feelings of those around me. Thankfully, the majority of those people were just as excited as we were, and were very supportive when I was given the bad news. Unfortunately, there were some who were not as thrilled that we were pregnant, or supportive of us through our difficult time.
I realized I can't change the emotions, feelings or thoughts of others. I don't need to give any energy to those who don't better my life. Sometimes, you have to let go of people and recognize the ones who are not there for you.
I can't thank those people enough. They were a big part of my healing process.
4. It is important to take time to reflect.
At the time, everything was a blur. I found out on a Tuesday that I would be having a D&C. I had the D&C done on a Thursday, I went to a Christmas party at my dad's office on Friday and I went back to working from home on Monday.
My life kept going. I was just along for the ride.
My mom said to me a couple of weeks later, "Have you taken the time to let yourself process everything? You seem OK, but I want to make sure you really feel OK." Of course, I answered that I was doing fine and that everything was fine.
But only part of this was true. I let myself be sad by myself, or only with my husband at first. It was the holidays, and I didn't want to burden others with the sadness I felt from miscarrying.
But by reflecting on the situation, I could finally let myself expose the sadness I felt. I could cope with that and move forward. I needed this for my healing process, but I couldn't see it at the time.
It really hit me when the tests came back. I found out that I would have been having a girl.
That was when it all became real to me. I found the emotions I was feeling, and they still needed to expose themselves. By realizing this, I gave myself the chance to sit with my feelings. I let some of them be, and I let some of them go.
5. I want to focus on sharing love.
One of my favorite quotes is, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." As all of this was going on, so many people didn't know what I was going through. This helped me become more aware of others around me. I knew that even a smile could go a long way.
I chose to not view this as a negative experience. It can be easy to let ourselves place blame on our bodies, on others around us or on our environments. Sometimes, you just have to let it be and handle every hurdle life throws at you as it comes.
My heart goes out to those who have had to go through a miscarriage, no matter what the circumstances may have been. I hope that others can feel comfortable enough to share their experiences as well. As women, we can help empower other women and get them through this difficult time.