Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. I’ve felt extra bruised all day ever since my Instagram feed reminded me first thing this morning.
We’ve lost many pregnancies. Two or three a year almost every year of our marriage. Except 2012. I guess I was too stressed out and sick that year to get pregnant. Some I remember vividly, some I’ve forgotten.
I feel like a bad mom for not remembering all of these precious ones, but forgetting was the way I kept living. And my God is big enough to fill in where I am not enough and he knows every one and can carry that knowledge for me.
The first was January 2007. We’d been married just a few months. I was devastated. Then another in March. Another in June.
I stopped talking about it to anyone besides Jason because I was so hurt by people’s reactions. I heard loud and clear that others did not want to bear this sorrow with us, and that they thought there was a strong possibility it was all in my head. Someone close to me actually told me they’d be happy for me when I was actually pregnant, but they wouldn’t hope with me that one of these pregnancies would stick. I’ve heard just about every insensitive thing someone could say to a woman experiencing infertility or pregnancy loss.
At times I thought I was crazy and making it up because surely it wouldn’t happen this many times. For a long time I blamed myself, then when doctors clarified that it wasn’t my fault and helped me understand why it happens again and again I found knowledge doesn’t make it any easier.
The official statistics say 25% of pregnancies end in loss, but if you add in all the pregnancies that never make it to even a positive test, the number goes up significantly. I’ve read that it’s more in the neighborhood of 80%. Can you believe that?! I’m one of the lucky women who have strong, early pregnancy symptoms so I’ve had early warning each time. There’s always the fear, the hope, the days of no bleeding, take a test or not. Wait. One week late, maybe closer to two. Then the pain and the bleeding begin. Again.
I knew I was pregnant with Elijah almost three weeks before I tested positive for pregnancy. It was all the same symptoms I’d had each time. My last miscarriage was in January 2013 and I assumed it was about time for another one. But, he hung on, my precious strong boy. I’d given up on tests, but I decided to get one because, well, I guess I hadn’t run out of hope yet.
I’ve written before about my journey to accept this path and I think it’s obvious to anyone who knows me that I’ve found happiness and joy abundant. I love my boys and this journey is what brought them to me. But the memories feel like bruises and I will bear those always. And I will remember.