Repository of Loss
I’ve started this story a hundred times in my head, but have yet to finish it or even come to the computer to start.
It’s not that I was avoiding my grief, but I am angry. Mad at having to put it behind me. That it had to happen. That I was relieved.
It was a tough pregnancy. I was nauseous every day, fatigued physically and mentally. With an attached toddler, I had little time to rest and that’s all I wanted to do – stay in bed. Besides overcoming depression and battling negative thoughts, I was also stressed out about the idea of taking on another kid. I felt angry because I was just getting my body back and my toddler was just at the age where she could play independently and so I had more time and energy for tending to me, myself and my own much needed self-care. But, here I was again: knocked up and dreading every minute of it.
With that confession, so much guilt is released.
I felt so much pain for allowing these thoughts to survive while I still held my baby inside. I feared what this baby might feel if I wasn’t feeding him the love a newfound mother should do. No wonder he decided to leave. No wonder my body rejected him.
A turning point in my journey came when the book “Spirit Babies: How to Communicate with the Child You’re Meant to Have” by clairvoyant/medium Walter Makichen found me. I believe the spirit of my baby boy came to feel the love of his mother, but decided it wasn’t the right time, and left. I believe he will come again. That he is waiting to be born, when I am ready.
Now, I am focused on truly healing my body and mind and spirit.
I plan to be in the best shape so I can avoid another unhealthy pregnancy and hard labor. I want to have a healthy gut, avoid gestational diabetes, actually have ab strength and heal my cervix and entire endocrine system. Now there are some goals!
But I am looking forward to it, so then I can be happy to have a healthy pregnancy. Or at least have the mental strength to choose to be happy and loving.
Like I said, there are many ways I’ve written this in my mind this past year.
Here is my account of that silent, holy night:
At three and a half months pregnant, I was put on bed rest because of a dilated cervix. The first time I passed a blood clot, I went to the ER where an ultrasound was performed. We left with an assurance that my baby had a strong heartbeat. The second time I went to the ER, I was cramping with labor pains, and we waited for an hour and a half before I was sent away after another ultrasound, with the only information they could legally provide – that the heart was still beating.
I saw three different gynecologists and they all seemed afraid to tell me of the possibility that the cramps I was experiencing and the blood clots I was passing (for a whole month) were most likely going to lead to miscarriage. Deep down, I knew. But, maybe they didn’t want the liability?
All I wanted to know was: What if? What do I do if it happens…
And it did.
After two nights of extreme labor pains (and the night before the Christmas party at my in-laws house), I sat on the toilet and he popped out. It was then that I cried the hardest. My mother-in-law came in to cut the cord, and I just fell over – in shock, in exhaustion, in weakness from the amount of blood loss. My husband wrapped my bloody bottom in a towel and carried me down the stairs, into the car and to the hospital. All I can remember is the blood dripping off of my legs, onto the stairs and all over my father-in-law’s car.
I felt the death. It was inside me. This empty womb. The blood, all over my legs, continuing to gush.
I welcomed it. It was organic. My husband must have felt it too because he was guiding me with his voice. “Stay with me, stay here,” he pleaded.
As if I was close to dying myself… but, hadn’t I just died? A part of me, my baby?
Can you imagine your in-law’s having to cancel their annual Christmas party because you miscarried a couple of nights before?
It felt like I was the reason Christmas was cancelled.
After a grief ceremony, where my parents came to say “Hi and goodbye” to their second grandchild, I felt hard, detached, and unwilling to show any one my relief as well as my grief.
I just felt Anger!
I want to blame the medical system’s lack of knowledge, or at being more concerned with liability. Going through a natural childbirth with my healthy daughter 18-months earlier, I was already prejudiced against a system of doctors and nurses who weren’t trained in natural care, just surgical procedures.
The ANGER! At every woman who was sharing her stories of miscarriage. Why now?
Because I had just had one. Now, I was part of the club. Now, all of a sudden every other woman I’ve known has a story to share.
And I never asked to hear it.
It was their way of telling me they understand.
But, this only solidifies my distrust in the medical system.
Why are so many women losing children? Why, if it is so common, did no one inform me of its possibility, or prepare me for it? And, why haven’t millions of dollars been devoted to studies for “why” this happens? The conditioned cultural response to miscarriage seems to be, “Oh yeah, you had one. It happens.” As if no one knows why, or cares to find out…
After a blood transfusion and another month of bed rest, I was able to pick up my 2-year-old daughter again. It felt good that I was no longer sick, even if I was at my weakest, physically. It was time to heal, to rebuild the strength I never had.
If I ever want to have another child, I plan on being at my best. But, even with that determination, I didn’t want to be touched sexually. There was fear every time my husband wanted to be intimate, so I avoided it. I could not enjoy it without being taken back to the silent night on a holy toilet where my body both betrayed and honored me by aborting my son.
A year has gone by, it’s Christmas again and I’m back at my In-laws, writing this.
Where am I now on my journey towards healing?
I am obsessed with connecting nutritional unawareness to hormonal imbalances in women.
I am on a quest to help others, by first healing myself.
I am becoming a health coach to help women understand their bodies and minds so that they may find peace around their menstrual cycles. But, first- I must find that peace and self-love.
Until I am pregnant again, or until I become a licensed health coach, every Christmas will always reaffirm these ideals for me.
The son we lost will always be my motivation to live this life that I have been given in the healthiest way possible.
“Silent Night, Holy Night… Sleep in Heavenly Peace” will always bring me back to the baby I lost.
To the one waiting to be born again.
—Jessica Christine Maria
A peculiar thing has been happening lately.
People, either in person or via private message, have been reaching out to hug me and to say,
“I’m so sorry [for your loss].”
It’s true that when I am confronted with images of other people’s brand new babies or talk of another person’s pregnancy, I still harbor a desire to give birth to a girl child but, mainly, I feel like I have gained a lot from my most recent miscarriage experience.
Perhaps, it was because of how fully I documented and engaged with my process that I now feel full and, definitely, not empty.
(Although I did experience my womb space has immediately barren in the days following our bloody ordeal.)
After gratefully receiving these condolences from others, I have shared with a few about how I feel I have gained so much – even in the face of my loss.
One Mama Sister Friend asked me how and what I have gained, so I thought I would share more here.
Death is its Own Medicine.
With my three year old son in tow, I bow before it and thank it for sparing other parts of my life – some of which I can not bare the thought of losing.
“Thank you, Teacher.”
Standing in my backyard, I gaze down, and see a purple rock – the word Lila emblazoned in white upon it – as it sits in
our Garden of Loss. I painted that rock to commemorate the 7 week-old energy that, I believe, sacrificed Her body so that I could harness the urgency of this Now.
The start of my last pregnancy, which began in September, had me waking at 3 and 4am. It was an immediate, internal alarm clock going off – just once and without any resistance from me. So, up I would go – padding around our fall yard, readying the space for birthday celebrations and our home-based cooperative.
Even as I began to surrender to how crummy I also felt – a deep hacking cough emanating from my lower, right lung – I still rose before the sun and wandered out under the stars to identify familiar constellations and to witness a setting Moon.
When we gathered in Sisterhood for my “Ceremony of Release & Renewal,” a Priestess (the same mama sister friend who helped to call in my son’s Soul when he reached day #120 in my womb) shared that the bright, light energy of the recently past embryo was still surrounding me and that I needed to fully release it. Immediately, I felt sad as well as scared that I wouldn’t be able to integrate the life lessons that this life force energy brought with it.
Instead, in a moment of clarity and power, I chose to commit to myself.
“I can do this,” I thought.
“I can wake before the rising sun,
so that I can sing my unique, morning song.
And so that I can gather precious energy from time spent in solitude and darkness,
while sowing my own form of meditative seeds – by gently stretching or dancing, quietly singing, writing or doing work that I simply can not accomplish when my 3-year old son is around.”
With this thought, I then released “Lila” as I imagined her running, hand in hand, with her big sister Esperanza, a 7-week old embryo that I miscarried in 2016.
Lila, a precious reminder of the playfulness of creation and the child-like urgency in only having this time now, on Earth, to create with.
So, what do I do?
How do I use my two hands while I am here?
I use them for creating and sharing my Sacred Work in our world.
What are your hands here for?
Do you harness innocence and urgency, and use it as a fuel to propel you in your life?
If so, how?
“A Tale of First-Term Miscarriage and Abortion along with one Pregnancy Journey, All Before I was 24 Years Old,”
by Emily Budd
By the time I was 24, I had been pregnant 3 times.
Each time was excruciatingly difficult — not the pregnancy itself, but deciding what to do about it.
The first time I was pregnant, I was 20 and in a very unhealthy relationship.
During my first ultrasound, the doctor said, “The heartbeat is very low. This pregnancy probably won’t stick.”
Basically, I was going to miscarry,
but I didn’t want to hear that.
Even though I knew that not having the baby would be my best option, I still wanted to be pregnant.
I actually thought I could be a good mother. After all, I was 20 years old – and not 15.
I knew I would figure things out.
Also, I hadn’t prevented it. I was being careless, and realized it. Thus, I felt very guilty.
The father was a dangerous sociopath, so I knew in my bones I couldn’t have his baby.
Already scheduled for an abortion, I miscarried a week or so before it.
I chose to ignore any miscarriage signs I was having, as I was in denial.
And, even though I had an appointment for the abortion, I was playing out a different story in my head. I dreamt about one day mothering this soul energy that was taking up space in my womb.
I was in denial about miscarrying because I wanted the pregnancy, but my logical mind knew that I had to get rid of it and
this was all so confusing.
My miscarriage was confirmed at my abortion appointment. No fetal heartbeat was detected. Thus, my abortion appointment became a D&C. (Dilation and curettage refers to the dilation of the cervix and the surgical removal of part of the lining of the uterus, and/or contents of the uterus, by scraping and scooping.)
To this day, I feel lucky about the way my first pregnancy turned out. Wanting to have a baby, but knowing it was the wrong decision, was a gut wrenching experience. Which, apparently, the wise energy in my womb intuited – it’s tiny heart muscle blowing out like a candle flame in the wind.
Thus, my miscarriage was a blessing. I didn’t have to make a decision; rather, the decision was made for me.
I felt incredibly relieved,
and still do.
My second pregnancy came 3 years later.
It was a one-night stand type of situation.
I had been quite careful about pregnancy after my previous one, but had a reckless night, and was SHOCKED to find out I was pregnant.
I didn’t think it was even a possibility as I didn’t believe that it can truly only take one time.
I was casually dating this guy. It wasn’t serious and he was not someone I would want to parent a child with.
And, unfortunately, this time it wasn’t likely that I was going to miscarry.
With the first pregnancy, I had no pregnancy symptoms. Nothing.
This made sense later, when I found out that I had miscarried early on. But this time, I had horrible nausea all day for the duration of my second pregnancy. I knew I wasn’t going to miscarry and that, this time, I had to take action.
I felt so disappointed because I had been carefully protecting myself for 3 years! I simply had a lapse in judgement on one night. And it was from that one night that I got pregnant.
I made sure to learn about ovulation after this experience!
And I felt so angry that, in twenty three years, no one had taught me about ovulation!!
The seed donor and I knew immediately that we needed to get an abortion.
I went through the motions, and didn’t emotionally process too much.
It was “inconvenient” timing, as I was in the middle of moving to a different state.
So, I actually fit an abortion in the middle of traveling from one state to another!
I left the place I had been living, then arrived in another state and got an abortion. I rested for a day at a friend’s house and then I continued driving across a few states to my final destination. Talk about… moving things along.
I think I moved things along so fast so that I didn’t have to process what was happening.
The effects of which would show itself soon enough…
One year later and I found myself having moved again, in a new relationship and, actually, happy this time. (Yayyy!)
We were so smitten with each other and totally in “puppy-dog love,” when I began experiencing feelings of wanting to be pregnant.
I knew it didn’t make sense, as I was in such a new relationship, but I had a really strong drive to be pregnant!
My new partner and I talked about it and mutually agreed that, “If it happened, it happened.”
I wouldn’t get an abortion. And, though we weren’t ‘trying’ (i.e., we would avoid intercourse during ovulation), I wasn’t going to get on birth control either. But, dang! — my biological desire to be pregnant was so strong!!
Reflecting more on it, I think my desire was rooted in some of my pain that I felt over losing two pregnancies in the previous two years.
While I knew it was illogical, I was yearning to carry life again — and to actually see it through this time.
Within 5 months of dating, I was pregnant.
The father was elated. A few years older than me, he was ready to start a family. And we were so caught up in the honeymoon stage of our relationship, that it all felt really euphoric.
However, even though we agreed and not getting an abortion, I was having a change of heart.
I started thinking, “What is wrong with me?
Why do I keep getting pregnant?!
And, why would I have a baby with a man whom I just started dating?!”
I felt scared… really scared.
Doubting my own emotional health, I questioned myself for ending up in these situations so regularly.
Thus, I made an appointment to get an abortion, and canceled it.
Then, I made another one and I wanted a certain type so I had to travel 4 hours to get it.
I went to the appointment, got the ultrasound (validating a healthy pregnancy), spent a few hours there, and was still
I felt all of the pressure of guilt and societal shame that made me feel like having this baby was the “wrong” decision, but I had to choose for myself and this took all the courage I had.
I walked out of the appointment, and I chose to become a Mother.
On the drive home, I stopped in a forest – to sit with trees for a few hours – taking in the magnitude of the decision I just made.
I was going to have a strong, healthy baby. Wow!
So here I am, 28 years-old with a 2.5 year old.
I’ve been pregnant 3 times — 1 miscarriage, 1 abortion, 1 pregnancy and birth.
And I feel as though my journey of pregnancy, loss, and life have shaped so deeply who I am as a human being.
I wouldn’t change any of my experiences – even though each was very hard and trying in its own way.
I am where I am today — happily mothering a beautiful little toddler — because of all that came before, including my losses.
–Emily Budd raises her toddler in Taos, New Mexico with her partner.
**Story by Emily Budd; images & editing by Pregnancy Loss Ritual**