I have an anniversary coming up this week, myself. April 22nd is the second anniversary of my first miscarriage. I can’t believe it’s been two years. Some days it honestly feels like it just happened. These anniversaries, these markers of time…they suck.
Yes, I can say that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I can acknowledge how strong I am. I can acknowledge that in this challenge life threw our way my fella and I have grown stronger as a couple. Good things have come out of this, but it still sucks. It still hurts. I still think of my child every day. Sometimes I still think about the trauma of the miscarriage itself. I’m brought back to all of the feelings I experienced when I started spotting…that shockingly red blood. I’m brought back to the back ache, the contractions, and the sorrow I felt from the depths of my soul. And when I say that anniversaries like this suck it’s because on these days we are reminded of it all in a far more acute way than on a typical day.
I was recently speaking with a fellow Miscarriage Mama. She was coming up on what would have been the due date. She asked how I got through my due dates, as she was anxious about getting through hers. I told her with complete honesty…I was a HOT MESS with my first due date. I mean, ugly crying, snot rivers, mountains of tissues, unwashed, greasy, snarling, sobbing, unable to participate in life, level of hot mess. This was all before I went to therapy. I was a disaster before therapy. When I met my literal earth angel of a therapist we created a game plan for the due date of my second miscarriage…a game plan that I am using to navigate this upcoming anniversary of my first miscarriage.
So what is my game plan, you might be asking. First, I map out the day. I write an outline of what I am going to do. The structure takes the anxiety out of not knowing what to do with myself. It lets me know what the next step is should I start to feel overwhelmed or like I’m floundering.
My outline consists of letting myself sleep for as long as I please…I wake up when I wake up. Then once I’m awake I give myself permission to eat whatever I want. On the anniversary of my due date this past October, I literally ate an entire box of donuts…an entire dozen…just one after the other. I felt no shame. In this moment an obscene amount of donuts was completely acceptable. I gave myself permission to be the most major hot mess, but the catch was that by 3pm that day I had to take a shower and I had to participate in life. I could be the messiest mess ever up to 3pm, but then I had to get a grip. It sounds a bit harsh, but it really helped me not let the sorrow take me over. I allowed myself to sob. I allowed myself to not talk to anyone. I allowed myself space to hurt. Then I took a super hot shower, did my hair, and went outside. I like to buy things to remember my children on their anniversaries. Sometimes it’s a new bracelet or a candle that I light in memory of them. I journaled. I journaled hard. I journaled all the pain filled not nice things I want to say, but can’t say out loud. I journal until the words stop coming. That’s when I know I’ve said all I need to say. I talked to my fella about how I was feeling. I talked to my best friend. I talked to my mom. I got something really yummy for dinner…take out is the way to go. Before I knew it the day was over. I had made it through. I had honored my feelings, honored my child, and survived the difficult day.
So yes, these anniversaries are hard. These anniversaries can be traumatic. These anniversaries plain old suuuuuuck. But, we can make it through. I like to think my children are proud of me when I make it through these tough days. They wouldn’t want me to be sorrowful the entire day. They would want me to take care of myself and remember how much love I have for them and how much love the still have for me.
If you are facing an anniversary, a holiday, a marker of time since you lost your child know that my heart is with you. My shoulders are here. My ears are ready to listen. This is a not so fun club to be in, but together we can make it through the difficult days.