Tag Archives: Emotion

Comparing Miscarriage and Stillbirth

I was seven months pregnant when I lost my first child. The doctors hurriedly pulled him from my stomach but they found no heartbeat, no breath. He was declared stillborn.

My second pregnancy ended quickly. I barely made it to the eight week mark when the doctors confirmed what my body had already told me – it was over. They told me I had “experienced a miscarriage.”

When you look at their definitions on paper, a miscarriage and a stillbirth are essentially the same thing. Both involve the loss of a beautiful baby in utero. A miscarriage occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy, a stillbirth occurs after 20 weeks.* Both types of loss involve the pain of losing a child; and both leave a mother with empty arms and crushed dreams.

And yet, there’s no denying that these are two very different experiences.

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Someone’s Missing

The backseat of my car is strangely quiet – the ride curiously devoid of its usual symphony of animal imitations, tired cries, and gleeful toddler babbling. I turn the radio down to listen for sounds of rhythmic breathing or the gentle pop of a soother falling from my son’s sleepy lips.

It is completely quiet.

It is then, with my car enveloped in relative silence, that the panic decides to strike. The feeling is not unfamiliar; my chest tightens and I am slapped with an inexplicable feeling of alarm.

“Someone is missing.”

The thought springs unbidden to the forefront of my mind, anxiety overruling logic. I have forgotten someone, I have left them behind.

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When the Happiest Day of Your Life isn’t Happy

Sitting outside the hospital with my empty, saggy tummy and watery eyes, I watched family after family proudly and ever-so-carefully carry their day old newborns out to the car. With every step the beaming parents radiated a wave of pride, nerves, and pure delight. Caught up in a world of wonder, they smiled broadly in my direction, inviting me to join them in this brief moment of bliss. And while I desperately wished to share in their excitement, to feel something, I couldn’t seem to get further than the fake smile twisted on my face.

This was their happiest day. But it certainly wasn’t mine.

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