I'm not unique in the fact that I had a miscarriage. In fact it's estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end this way. But when you are personally going through it? It feels like a pain no one else could possibly understand.
I anticipated my first ultrasound from the moment I found out I was expecting. I couldn't wait for the affirmation of a heart beat. I couldn't wait for my (now) husband and I to stare at gray images and see our baby for the first time.
But the night before my appointment I started spotting. And I knew. Even though my husband told me it could be many different things. Even though I took to google to find out how common spotting is. Even though the spotting was to the slightest degree. I knew.
So when it was confirmed with an ultrasound I wasn't surprised.
When I went to work after my appointment I told myself I was okay and that I had expected this news.
But I wasn't okay. I just hadn't processed exactly how "not okay" I was. I didn't know that the level of "not okay" I would reach was even possible.
At this point in my story I should stop and let you know that realistically I know I was not alone. My (now) husband was hurting too. In fact he shed more tears in that doctor's office than I did. But knowing this and how I felt were (and some days still are) completely different things. Dads hurt too. Men in general hurt in many ways that society likes to pretend they don't. But that's a post for another day.
I remember the first pregnancy email I got after the miscarriage. It knocked the breath out of me. Somehow I had expected that these emails for the many "expectant mothers" websites I signed up for would stop on their own. After all I wasn't expecting any longer. I no longer needed to know what fruit or vegetable to compare my baby to. I no longer needed to know what I should be eating. What I should be doing to prepare for a healthy delivery. Even still it was several days before I could bring myself to the point where I could go in and cancel these memberships. Meanwhile I kept seeing the emails pop up in my inbox.
The worst part of all of this- I was waiting to tell people I was pregnant until I had my ultrasound. I also wanted to be in my second trimester before revealing the news. With this is mind I scheduled my ultrasound for the very first day of what should have been my second trimester. So now how do you tell people you had a miscarriage when they didn't know you were expecting to begin with? In my case- I didn't. And that was a mistake. A huge mistake.
When I was pregnant I was determined to be armed with information. I wanted to know everything. I wanted the support of a community of moms and mommies-to-be. I read. I signed up for the aforementioned websites. And not just one. EVERY single one I could find.
But when I lost the baby? I withdrew. In this time, when I needed support more than ever, I cut myself off. I stopped talking to people I had known for years. I stopped looking for the community that previously I had longed for. I argued with my husband for absurd reasons.
Because I felt alone. And because I felt alone in my grief I subconsciously created a world where I was. Alone.
Over time I pulled through. Little by little. Week by week. In very gradual steps I found my way back. But it was a struggle.
I am sharing this story now because it didn't have to be that way. Not entirely. I could have let people in. I could have reached out. I could have found resources to help myself. But I didn't.
And while this post may seem out of place on a "step mom blog". Its not. Because my message is YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Not ever. There are always people who will care if you let them. And personally I will never make that same mistake again. I will always do everything in my power to surround myself with strong, smart people. People who-when you are down- will pull you through. So if you are struggling because you are a step mom and the journey is hard, and you find yourself feeling alone- reach out. There is a community of people experiencing the same things as you. Trust me. Just reach out.