There’s been a lot of talk about grief lately, due to in part to a maddening MacLeans article. And there have been some great responses to that. Not only was I offended by this article, but also by a question asked of one of our friends about us recently: “Do you think they are over their grief and mourning?” It is because of these articles and these questions, that women and men feel like they can’t talk about miscarriage and loss. It is because of this ignorance that couples feel alone, ashamed and saddened.
Are we over our grief and mourning? No. No, we’re not. In fact, I think its pretty safe to say that we never will be “over” it. We have lost our children. We have buried our child. That’s something you never get over. Ever. But being over it and moving forward are two completely different things.
When you experience a loss, let alone multiple losses, you’re thrown into this cyclone of emotions and thoughts. You don’t know where to turn. You want answers and reasons, and all too often you get neither, only more questions. So you turn to your family and friends, and while they may be able to empathize with you, most of them don’t get it. Sure they mean well, and want to help you, but they don’t fully understand what you’re going through. Sadly, you wind up losing some friends and other friendships change because of this. So where do you turn?
For us, initially we turned to the packet the hospital gave us, which included information on books that may be helpful (Empty Cradle, Broken Heart was one we found useful), and a list of support groups. I remember we decided to go to one of those groups, only to realize that we were off on our days, and had missed it. The more we thought about it, at that time, just days after the service for our baby, we realized we weren’t ready for a group experience yet. We needed to focus on ourselves and our grief, before we could share in the grief of others. And so we went about searching for a therapist who could help us through. It wasn’t easy to find her, but once we did, she has made all of the difference, probably because she has experienced multiple losses herself.
We also turned to the internet, to see what information we could find. And what we found was 26.2 million entries when you search miscarriage. 26.2 million! A number that only makes what you’re going through even more overwhelming and confusing. This is the number that made me want to create Will CarryOn, to help others navigate through the seemingly endless mounds of information to find what they need. As I kept digging, I came upon a community that I hadn’t known existed. A community of women and men, who not only knew what we went and are going through, but are talking about it! Sharing their experiences, stories and feelings that are so personal, painful and real, all in an effort to help others through theirs. Putting faces and stories, to highlight and connect those of us who need to talk about our loss(es), and need to know we are not alone.
A few months after our 4th loss, we did finally make it to a support group, and when we did, it felt like home. We were surrounded by amazing women and men who just “got it.” We were in a place where we weren’t looked at funny, or felt like everyone was tiptoeing around on eggshells. We cry together, help one another through triggers and anniversaries, and even laugh at the ridiculous things people have said to us. Going to group, also showed Double A and me how far we’ve come. We’ve made some amazing friends, both through group and online (many of whom we may never meet face to face). Ones that we wish we never needed to know, but ones we’re so thankful to have in our lives.
It is through this sharing — both virtual and personal — that will hopefully make the subjects of miscarriage and loss no longer be taboo. That will enable people to speak about this on the same public “stage” in which other personal tragedies are spoken. We are not over-sharing; rather we are grieving out loud. We may never be over our grief, but by talking about it, and listening to others doing the same, we will be able to manage, and to learn live with it.