At the time I discovered I was pregnant again, my husband, our daughter, and I were living with my parents while our home was being built. To say things were a bit stressful and chaotic would be an understatement. I spent a few minutes thinking about how a new baby might complicate things, but excitement quickly surpassed any reservations I had. I’ve always believed things happen as they should, so if we were having another baby, we were having another baby. Albeit, much sooner than I had anticipated.
My husband laughed when I told him, saying, “So, we’re going to do this right now, huh?”
Though our pregnancy was completely unexpected, we were thrilled. I had planned to keep our news a secret until after our first appointment, but I was sharing a home with my mother, and she noticed my decreased coffee consumption almost immediately.
“Why aren’t you drinking coffee?” She asked one morning before work. I turned away from her, knowing my smile would give it away.
“I just don’t feel like it,” I tried.
“YOU’RE PREGNANT!” She yelled, nearly spilling her own cup of Joe. Her excitement was instant as she began speculating the baby’s gender.
We let my sister in on the secret, but that was it. We were the only four who would ever know. The cramping started a few days later while I was shopping with my family. I told them I wasn’t feeling well, and needed to go home. Once there, I spent the remainder of the afternoon resting, hoping I had just overexerted myself. I just need to rest, I thought.
By that evening, however, I was certain I was having a miscarriage. A doctor’s visit and blood test confirmed my worst fear—I lost our baby.
I was gutted.
I texted my mom and sister the news. “I don’t want to talk about it,” I wrote, and I didn’t. Instead, I sat alone in a quiet bedroom. The window opened just a crack, I could hear the leaves rustle, but everything else was still. I let the quiet envelope me as I cried.
As the days passed, I couldn’t let go of the guilt—the feeling that it was my fault. We hadn’t been expecting the pregnancy, and prior to finding out I hadn’t been taking care of myself the way I should have been. I was working fulltime, stressed about the new house, and chasing an energetic toddler. Though, the minute I saw those two lines I ditched the caffeine, started eating better, and resting when I was tired, my mind told me it was too little too late.
I was angry at myself. I was ashamed. What if my husband blamed me, too? The guilt held my grieving heart hostage—refusing to let me breathe, refusing to let me heal.
Several weeks later, my husband and I were in bed next to one another, neither of us sleeping. “It was my fault,” I told him. “I lost the baby because I wasn’t taking care of myself. I’m so sorry.”
I was grateful for the darkness, because I couldn’t look him in the eye as I uttered those words. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but without hesitation he pulled me close, and whispered, “It wasn’t your fault.” And with those words, wrapped in his embrace, I crumbled. I felt the heat of the tears on my cheeks, but this time they were different. This time they weren’t accompanied by guilt, only grief.
Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes there really is no explanation. Realistically, there are a million things that could have gone wrong. Mothers are protectors, it’s just what we do. The moment those two pink lines appear we are all-in, with our whole heart. It’s only natural to feel responsible when something doesn’t go as planned, regardless of how little control we have over the situation.
That night in the darkness, my husband’s words found their way to my soul, and in that moment I knew he was right. It wasn’t my fault.