The loss of a baby is the end of something but it is also the beginning of something new. It takes time to find that new, to navigate and find your way in this new world you have been thrust into and to navigate and find your way into this new normal.
The New Year is also an opportunity for New beginnings. Many people set Goals and New Years resolutions to focus on for the year. It may be a time of letting go of the old and focusing on the new.
We have chosen the theme “New Beginnings” for our January Blog circle. The decision was based both on the New Year as well as the new beginning for the Amethyst Network. We have been redoing our website, redefining our mission and creating a space of hope and healing and a place of information for those who in the miscarriage/babyloss community.
We would love to have you participate in our January Blog Circle. The theme is New Beginnings. Was your loss a new beginning for you? Your next baby? How do you feel about the New Year? Are you in a place of letting go? Or embracing?
My first loss was, in fact, a new beginning for me in many ways. That miscarriage-birth changed my life forever. It changed my worldview, it changed how I work with women, it changed my understanding of the world, it prompted a spiritual awakening, it changed the trajectory of my work and my focus, and it broadened and deepened the scope of what I’d like to offer in service to others. It was BIG. It was important. It was hard, it was scary, it was emotionally and physically painful, and it lasted a long, long time. It took the birth of my pregnancy-after-loss baby in January of 2011 to really feel “healed” from the scars of loss and so in this way, she was definitely a new beginning as well. I remember thinking during my pregnancy that there was so much riding on her—a lot for a little baby to shoulder—all of our hope, our fears, our very future of a family felt like it rested in her. And, I remember telling her, shortly before her first birthday—you, you healed me. In our conversations among The Amethyst Network board members, I’ve also shared that I didn’t feel completely healed until she reached her first birthday—until we taken one whole turn of the wheel together with her in my arms. And, in that way, I’m also not sure that we ever completely heal from loss—I know that one of the factors behind our decision not to have more children is a still, small, lurking fear of what if it started all over again? That would suggest that a scar on our lives remains (that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Our scars are part of the landscape of being–of loving, living, risking, losing, learning, and changing).
Considering this topic also brought me an old question, previously posed in response to a midwife’s blog post, in which I ask the following: What is the most significant event that shaped your life as a woman? As a mother? Are your answers to the two questions different?
My own answers have in fact been different. And, they have changed. Pre-loss, I described my postpartum journey following my first birth as the most significant event shaping my life as a mother. After the miscarriage-birth of my tiny son, the texture of my response and my definition of my life experiences shifted:
When originally writing this post, I was pregnant with my third son. That pregnancy ended very unexpectedly in November, rather than May, when my baby was born after almost 15 weeks of pregnancy. Interestingly, my experience of miscarriage has supplanted the birth of my other two sons as essentially the most powerful/significant and transformative event of my life. (My sense that his birth has “replaced” the birth of my other children as most significant makes sense to me, because though it is classed as miscarriage, it is still my most recent birth experience—all of their births stand out as special, important, and meaningful days and I will remember each with clarity for the rest of my life, but his birth is the freshest and most recent and came with the additional transformative journey of grief. And thus, when I think of giving birth or when I think back to birth memories or birth feelings, his birth is the first one that comes to mind.) Though I still “vote” for postpartum as the most significant event in my life as a mother, I now “vote” for my birth-miscarriage experience as the most significant event in my life as a woman.
Interestingly, my answer has evolved again since writing the post above and I would now include the entire pregnancy-after-loss journey as the most significant event in my life as a mother. It was hard, people. It was day in and day out and never-ending and so, so delicate. So tinged with hope and fear and so laden with meaning. As a woman, though, I’m not sure that my answer has changed. I need to think about it more deeply, but I think that miscarriage-birth is still it. Just as life divides cleaning between before kids and after kids, there is a dramatic, pivotal before miscarriage and after miscarriage that has shaped my female identity and understanding of myself.