Modern Motherhood and the Invisibility of Miscarriage

That second line was faint but unmistakable. After a while of trying, fatigued from charting and ovulation kits, we finally did it! This was going to be my favorite pregnancy. This baby was prayed for, planned, loved. We worked hard for it. This wouldn’t be like my other two pregnancies, fraught with anxiety. I knew what to expect. This time, I wouldn’t have a toddler and a baby. This time, mind, body, heart, and soul, I was ready. I was prepared to rock this pregnancy and savor every moment snuggling my newborn. But none of that matters now. There is no baby.

The day it happened, my world stopped, and yet, it didn’t.

A few days after we’d gotten the heartbeat and told the kids, my perfect pregnancy ended. Time stood still for me. The physical miscarriage took forever. Even as a nurse, I was surprised that it took six days from the start of spotting to the actual cramping and “big gush.” I’d taken a couple days off work in anticipation of it coming, but after two days at home of basically nothing, I decided to go in to work just to have something else to do. It actually happened at work, but I stuck out my shift, held up by my hilarious coworkers who helped me laugh between the tears. The world kept going.

It was Friday. After my shift, I headed home to spend the evening the way I spend so many other Friday evenings: pizza and movie night. I was cramping and bleeding, but the rest of life continued. It didn’t seem right. How could I be enduring this agony, the loss of our baby, and everything kept moving as usual?

Still bleeding the next morning, we headed off to the Parish Track Meet. My oldest worked so hard to get here, and I didn’t want to miss his moment to shine. In the blazing heat of the stadium, between cheering on the runners and a trip to the concession stand, I ran to the bathroom to complete my miscarriage.

The following week, still spotting and grieving, we tackled First Communion preparations, work, the Mother-Son Jazz Cruise, and then Easter was upon us. Just keep swimming. Between the errands and celebrations, I was mourning. Even in the midst of the joyous moments, I broke down. At Easter, as I was holding my cousin’s new baby, my uncle remarked to me, “You should have a few more of those.” Of course, he had no idea what we were going through, but that comment immediately brought me to uncontrollable tears that could not be disguised. One foot in front of the other, I walked outside to supervise the kids in the spacewalk trying to act like I hadn’t been sobbing seconds before.

The next week at my OBGYN follow-up, I noticed for the first time, the QR codes placed around the office. I’m sure they’d been there a while, but I was just now seeing them. “Scan me if you’re 10 weeks.” For every week of pregnancy, there was a code to scan for more info. Posters with the fetal development at various stages were plastered around the office. How had I never noticed these before? I swear I was the only patient in the waiting room who wasn’t massively pregnant. Everyone else waddled past me while I held back tears. Nothing for women like me. For everyone else, the world kept turning.

I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but it’s lonely. If you’ve ever been through it, you likely know what I mean. It might have been different if this was the loss of an adult or someone outside of the womb. This baby was very much part of my world, yet it wasn’t really part of the rest of the world. There was no funeral or burial, nothing really to show for it. I suffered this loss mostly privately. It was over before it began, before most people knew. Even my own mother found out about our pregnancy in the same breath she found out we were losing it.

It’s an isolating feeling. It’s been a month. The days have gotten easier, but I still mourn our baby and that pregnancy. Never again will I have a stress-free pregnancy. If we choose to try again, any pregnancy going forward will be bittersweet, the loss of this one trickling over into any future pregnancies.

But the world keeps turning.

Alyson Haggerty
Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their two boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education, earned her BSN, and now works as a pediatric emergency nurse. In her free time, Alyson enjoys flipping furniture, writing, dancing, and painting. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.


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