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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

the rainbow after the storm : a year after my miscarriage

One year ago last Friday I had a miscarriage.
I was hopeless, helpless, and confused.
I wanted answers, I had so many questions, unsure why this was happening to me.
I have never in my life cried like I did when I miscarried, gut wrenching sobs.
I kept saying that I wanted to be pregnant, I wanted a baby, it wasn't fair.
I questioned if we were supposed to have a third child, if this was happening, maybe it was a sign?
I was so deeply sad.

A year later... I cannot believe it's gone by so quickly. This past weekend last year was horrible. I stayed in bed, sobbing, in pain, sleeping, and crying some more. I Googled, questioning everything, seeking information about what was happening. I prayed a lot, and then got mad at God and then prayed more. This weekend on my calendar was marked as a terrible one, one I wanted to forget. One I was dreading coming around again.

And yet now, a year later, I'm happier than I've been in a long time. I have a healthy baby boy, 9 days old. One year later, I have my sweet rainbow baby in my arms, snuggling me, breathing against my heartbeat on my chest as he sleeps, nursing and crying during diaper changes. He's here, loud and clear, he's here. I reassure myself that all is well in my world now, a year later, as I hold this little being, watching as his chest rises and falls, breathing, heart beating, all OK.

One year ago I had a miscarriage. One week ago I delivered my rainbow baby.

A rainbow baby... a term I'd never understood before a year ago. A rainbow baby is one who comes after a woman has lost a pregnancy or baby. It's the calm after the storm, the peace and hope that one longs to have. It's the blessing, the happiness, the sweetness from the bitter moments previously. It's the loss coming full circle, making a little more sense, even just for a second. It's not a replacement of who one lost, but it's someone new to fill that void and complete a mother's heart again, close up that hole, that aching inside.

A rainbow... full of colors and bright and beautiful. It always makes people smile when after a scary, dark thunder storm, we find colors across the sky. That's a rainbow baby. It's hope. It's something to believe in again. It's fulfilling and earth shattering and even heartbreaking at times to wrap our minds around. It's a calming feeling that all will be OK again.

My friend posted the above quote to the Mommy Stories Facebook page. I read it over three times, tears, and understanding. Solidarity. That's one positive thing that comes from opening up to other moms about a miscarriage. 

Last Friday I posted this picture above of my rainbow baby to the Facebook group. 213 likes and 50+ comments from real moms who had gone through miscarriage and stillborn losses. They shared pictures of their rainbow babies, some of those 50 moms had multiple rainbow babies, having gone through multiple losses previously. It was astonishing. To realize how much loss there is, was devastating. 

I had no idea how common miscarriages were until I suffered through one last year myself. I still a year later didn't realize how many moms surrounding me have gone through it themselves. It's deeply saddening. And yet... when I see their pictures of smiling beautiful children, I realize that in the loss, in the sadness, there is great strength and togetherness and hope. There is beauty, really. There is this comforting feeling that we are NOT alone. That's what I've repeatedly said, my mantra really for miscarriage support to other moms: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I want to scream it, hashtag it, put it on billboards everywhere. I felt alone when I went through it... until other moms reached out to me, helped me feel OK and normal and like they got it. I don't ever want moms to feel alone, I want moms to know they can talk about it. 

As I saw those pictures of happy children, posted by proud mommas, who have all survived the worst in a miscarriage and then experienced the best in a blessed birth... I realized all of those children would not be here if their mothers had not endured what they had prior to their births. If they had not had losses, sent angel babies to heaven if they so believe, they would not have their babies here now. If I had not had my miscarriage last October, I'd never have gotten pregnant a few months later and delivered this healthy baby now this month. 

I thank God for what I went through. I never thought I'd say that. But I do. I appreciate the hard time it was, I feel stronger because of it. I don't regret it or wish it didn't happen. In fact, I've told people, that at the time last year I knew there was a reason for what I went through, I just didn't know what that reason was yet. Now I know. It was to help other moms open up about this experience, to be a stronger part of that solidarity movement among mothers. It was so I could share and learn from others and try to help them through what they are going through. I believe I can bring some hope to moms now... I've already heard from a few who feel this way. I know other moms who had rainbow babies before I did gave me so much hope. 

It's been a year since my miscarriage. And I kind of forgot how far along I was when I miscarried, I had to stop for a moment to think about it. And then I was trying to recall what the original due date would have been, and it took me a few moments to remember. I'm slowly forgetting the parts that I didn't think I could forget or let go of, and that's a good thing. I'm starting to focus more on what I have than what I lost. That's healing. It's good to acknowledge the growth.

So moms having had miscarriages, please know you're not alone, know that things do get better, I promise. I will hope that you face the light and the sky and see a rainbow baby in your future. To those with rainbow babies, may you snuggle them close - no matter their age! - and always remember what you went through, as it signifies one of the strongest moments of your life, I'm sure. You should not forget how strong you are. 


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