It's already past midnight, but I'm still sitting up and very much awake. My eyes are starting to pull downward, but I just don't feel like trying to sleep. A sweet man is sound asleep next to me, and a snuggly cat is curled up against my side. I, however, am restless, and I find myself searching for anything to keep me awake and distracted.
I've been doing this a lot lately. If you didn't know already, it's because we recently had our second miscarriage. I promised that I'd process it out, and I've decided to try tonight.
In more than one way this has been a much harder process than the first miscarriage. The first time around it was so rough, painful, and devastating that it sort of instantly crystallized in my mind. I knew what it was. I knew what had happened. I knew how I felt during, and I knew how I felt after.
This time, it's much more murky. This time, knowing what it was and what had happened didn't help. This time, the "during" was more gradual and less traumatic. And this time, I still don't know how I feel "after."
I've had one moment that some might associate with a miscarriage. By that, I mean a moment where I'm sobbing, helpless, and despondent.
It's was a Tuesday night. The same Tuesday night my miscarriage began. I had sent Levi off to Bible study without me because my stomach was beginning to hurt in a scary way. It was beginning to increase in intensity, and I didn't know what to do. Well, I knew there was nothing to do, but I suddenly felt very alone. I tried to call Levi to ask our Bible study to pray, but he'd already put his phone on silent. I texted my closest friend and asked her to pray, but she was unable to reply back instantly.
I began to messy cry. Now, this may be something that men are unaware of, but I know that you ladies out there know what I'm talking about. Especially those of you who, like me, cry any time you have a strong emotion, be it positive or negative. We've mastered the art of the silent cry, the momentary cry, the frustrated cry. But there is no mastering the messy cry. No, the messy cry masters you.
And boy, did it ever master me that night.
I walked from room to room sobbing at an obscene volume, totally sure that this was it for my pregnancy. I had no objective. I just needed to do something other than sit helplessly. So I decided to walk helplessly. As I walked, the cat became more and more terrified of the yowling coming from me. For the first time, his arched back was more than just a show while playing with me. This time, it was a genuine defensive posture. He hissed violently a number of times before fleeing into the basement. That snapped me out of it.
And since that night, I have yet to shed more than a few, passing tears about this miscarriage.
I find myself wondering if I'm just numb, or if I genuinely don't care. Or maybe I processed through so many feelings last time that once I got the big, messy cry out of the way there wasn't much left to work through. Or maybe it's all deeper than that and I just don't know how to go there yet.
Maybe it's because this time, there involves so much more than sadness, loss, and grief. This time, there involves self-doubt, second-guessing, and lack-of-purpose.
Did I do something wrong this time? Have I done something wrong each time? Am I overlooking some small thing that I've neglected to tell my midwife and if I only knew what it was she'd have said, "Oh, that! I never knew you were doing that," and then she would have stopped me? Am I made to have children? Is have biological children as part of my family just not possible?
Did we wait to long to start trying to have children? Did we start too early? Did we not pray about our decision enough? Are we still not praying enough? Did we not hear from the Lord correctly about having children? Does the Lord even want us to have biological children? Is my lack of sadness this time an indication that I don't want children as much as I thought I did? Am I just a selfish and callous woman if I find myself thinking that it might be a good thing now that I no longer have to do holiday traveling while pregnant? If I slip up for a moment and think that I'm glad I can try the beer in our fridge that I wouldn't try two weeks ago? If I let myself forget for a second and realize that it will be nice to fit in my favorite clothes for a few more months?
And now that it's gone, yet again, what do I do to fill these "few more months?" I'm living a schedule right now that I'd planned with pregnancy in mind. And now that I'm not . . . how do I find a purpose in my tasks beyond simply keeping my house neat and clean. Because while that purpose used to motivate and inspire me, it's doing neither of those things right now. I still find myself wanting to jump at the chance to get second-hand maternity clothes or baby supplies. I still feel an urgent need to start working on that little bedroom. And when I remember that I no longer need to do those things and that I don't know right now if I will ever need to do those things, that rudderless feeling can be pretty overwhelming.
Please know that I'm processing the hard things and the dark things here. This is my forum to work through those things, and this is not a cry for help. Encouragement is always welcome, of course. I have an amazingly supportive husband, family, and community of women and men around me, and I am utilizing them. Having these things finally written out will let me point to a feeling and say to them, "This is what I'm feeling, this is why, and this is how I'm working through it."
I know where to find the answers to most, if not all, of these questions. You would think I'd have sought them out by now, but sometimes you can't find the answers until you first know what question it is you're asking. And how to put that question into words.
If you read to the end of this post, let me take a moment to thank you for allowing me this total self-indulgence of pathos. I do warn of this exact thing in the About section of the blog, but I still feel that it's necessary to thank you for your indulgence. You didn't have to read all the way to the bottom. You could have very easily decided to skip the blog post full of feelings and come back the next day when it was about a silly cat or a house project.
Thanks for keeping it real with me,