Pregnancy is a beautiful and truly unique experience. There is nothing else like it. I have been blessed with my two beautiful children both of whom had normal pregnancies and complication-free deliveries. On the flip side of that I have now experienced four miscarriages at varying stages of development. The grief process is a complex one and I think one that’s further complicated as an adoptee.
Let’s back up. My first pregnancy was normal and effortless in every way. From conception to delivery everything went as planned and was dare I say…easy? I realize how that sounds and my current self hates my younger self a little for having thought that about pregnancy even for a moment. I am now getting a taste of how not easy it can be in so many ways.
Our daughter was born in spring of 2015 and life felt so sweet. When my daughter was about 18 months old I found out I was pregnant again. I miscarried at 7 weeks.
We conceived again when she was about 2.5 years and had our second successful pregnancy. Our baby boy was born in summer of 2018! There is nothing like the newborn stage. The wonder and excitement of a new family member is such a special time.
During our son’s first year of life my husband and I had lots of conversations about having a third child and what that meant on every level. Ultimately, we agreed that a bigger family was something we both wanted.
We conceived in Fall of 2019 and miscarried at about 8 weeks.
We conceived in June of 2020 and miscarried at about 8 weeks.
We conceived this last time in September 2020 and miscarried at the end of my 1st trimester.
The Progression of Pregnancy Loss
I think pregnancy loss has been a progression for me. The first miscarriage happened between my two children’s births. We were shocked. After everything had gone so beautifully with our daughter we almost felt invincible like all of the pregnancy horrors and infertility nightmares you hear about are someone else’s story not yours.
So that first miscarriage rocked us a bit. We were devastated but hopeful that it was a fluke and the likelihood of it happening again seemed low. And then we had our second (and last) successful pregnancy.
Since our son was born the middle of 2018 I have had 3 consecutive miscarriages. Pregnancy has gone from this magical experience to one filled with fear and skepticism.
This last pregnancy I was so skeptical and full of disbelief that it would be okay. And low and behold I was right to be afraid. Now it is to a point where I wonder if my own stress and anxiety surrounding pregnancy is what’s hurting the pregnancies.
How this 4th miscarriage was different from the others
The grieving process this last time was the worst in many ways.
- I was the furthest along nearing the end of my 1st trimester.
- Historically, if I made it past 8 weeks in a pregnancy the fetus was healthy
- Given the last point my hopes were sky high
- I had a healthy, normal ultrasound at 6.5 weeks (I don’t recommend confirming by ultrasound if you have a history like mine)
- I had the misfortune of finding out my baby had passed away and seeing his/her still body via ultrasound
- Here is the cake topper… The end of our first trimester landed the middle of December and we had already ordered Christmas cards announcing the pregnancy since the timing would have been right to share with friends and family.
This grieving process was so much harder than for my other miscarriages for all of the reasons listed above. But this was also the first time that my adoptee baggage peeked its ugly head out.
Depending on who you are and what your story is will determine how this whole post will come off.
If you are someone who has never experienced loss or pregnancy loss or infertility then you may feel sorry for me for going through something like this multiple times…
If you are someone who has struggled with infertility and/or recurrent miscarriages like me but who have living children then you can probably relate and commiserate with me on some level…
If you are someone who has struggled with infertility and/or recurrent miscarriages but who do not have living children then you probably think I am ridiculous for writing this and should just be grateful for all that I have.
And to this I will say you are right.
I do feel a little ridiculous writing this but please know that I am so aware of my good fortune and do not take a single moment for granted. My children are my everything. Having grown up with no biological family the bonds and connections I have with them is indescribable. They are my flesh and blood and that saying never meant anything to me until I met my daughter 5 years ago and then my son 3 years later.
My adoptee complications do not end with the longing for more biological connections. There is also my Mom and my birth mother who play a part in my grief process this time around.
I am 1 of 4 adopted children. My parents could not have biological children. My mom is dying of Alzheimer’s disease. She is with us most days but gone most nights to another time in another place in her past in her mind.
I am grieving for my Mom. I am grieving for the baby that I will never meet. I am grieving for my Mom who never got to experience pregnancy. Seeing her baby on an ultrasound. Hearing the heartbeat. Feeling those first kicks. Labor. Delivery. Breastfeeding. All. Of. It.
My Birth Mother
My birth mother had 3 living children when she conceived me. I do not know the intimate details of that decision making process nor do I want to know. One thing that I do know is the decision to carry a child to term is always a sacrifice. It is hard work for your body to create and deliver life.
I do not know my birth mother well at all. We have only spent maybe 10 hours total in each others company. In that short time I am certain of a few things. She is strong and capable and I am sure she loved the child she gave up over 30 years ago. I say that she loved the child she gave up and not that she loved me because I think there is a distinction there (but that’s a discussion for another day.)
I am grieving for my birth mother and the impossible decision she had to make all of those years ago. Now that I am a mother myself I can for the first time begin to understand the sacrifice that went into that decision. I have never been in a position where I had to choose between my unborn child and caring for my existing children and that is what she was faced with. Her strength is beyond my own.
The universe has a cruel way of distributing the gifts it seems. These two women and myself represent three different, heartbreaking scenarios. My Mom: Unable to conceive but had the financial and material means in life to support children. My Birth mother: Had the gift of fertility but limited financial and material means. Me: Blessed with two beautiful children, have financial stability but also experienced true loss and heartache.
There are no good answers for any of this. The grief process is always complicated but even more so if you’re an adoptee with identity struggles carrying unresolved baggage from the past. I hope to shed some of these bags as I continue my adoptee journey. It may never be finished but I have seen tremendous growth these past few years and so I am hopeful for resolution.
Thank you for reading. Leave a comment if you feel inclined.