A couple of months ago my period was 6 days late (which is unusual for me), and I began to wonder if I was pregnant. My husband and I are currently using preventative measures so I sincerely doubted that I was pregnant, but of course there is always that small chance…
And then my bleeding began and part of me was relieved (because a pregnancy would be a very complicated thing for us right now), but part of me was also distressed. You see, in the last decade I have had several chemical pregnancies… At least, I think I have.
At those times I was trying to get pregnant, and wanting to be pregnant. So if my period was a day or two late (or even if it wasn’t), I would fixate on every little thing and try to figure out if it was a pregnancy symptom. As soon as I was a day late (and sometimes the day before) I took pregnancy tests, but I never got a positive result. But I convinced myself that it was just too early and that in a few days I would take another test and see those two little pink lines…
And then the bleeding began, much like a period except that I knew it was an early miscarriage. So then I mourned. Mourned the dream that had barely begun… or had it?
My recent experience suddenly called into question the validity of all those prior experiences. I am sure I wasn’t pregnant this time, so was I really pregnant those other times? The physical process this time and those times was almost identical… Maybe those “early pregnancy symptoms” were just PMS. Maybe my chemical pregnancies weren’t really pregnancies at all. Maybe I was grieving over nothing all those times…
I felt very conflicted over this. I HAD grieved before, but if I was grieving over not-an-actual-miscarriage then did it count? If my loss wasn’t actually a loss, then was my grief valid?
I was talking with a friend (who happens to also be involved with TAN) and explained to her how I was feeling confused and upset over this. She taught me something important.
“You grieved” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether the physical experience was a miscarriage or not, because the grief was real, you experienced the emotional process, and that is valid.”
And so I would say to all mothers who have had an early loss, or a loss that they felt in their gut even though there was no proof. Your feelings–no matter what they are–are valid feelings. We each have different experiences, and we each have different feelings. But what you feel is legitimate, regardless of the circumstances.