This was article was submitted by Sophia Crawford.
Is it human instinct to blame someone else after a tragedy occurs? If we banned firearms, school shootings wouldn’t threaten children anymore. If parents were responsible stewards of their own families, teenagers wouldn’t experiment with drugs, have sex prematurely, or flunk out of school. If the FDA acted solely on behalf of consumers, not companies, warnings of hormone additives or carcinogens wouldn’t be buried in the fine print of food labels.
We love the possibility of the word “if” because it gives us hope—false or otherwise. We want to believe there’s a chance that if only circumstances were different, our lives would be so much better. But to love the possibility of “if” is to love an illusion. A close relative of “if” is “almost,” and as many of us are aware, almost is never enough.
Unless you use “if” to talk about future goals or decisions, I encourage you to remove this word from your lexicon. Why? Because the “if” mentality turns into guilt when acceptance of the present reality is blocked out by the grief of what could have been.
I describe the experience of my miscarriage as a refusal to surrender the belief that my own actions, if altered in some way, would have led to the joy and love of motherhood. Our instincts (or social construction) have taught us to believe we are divine—endowed with some power to control the uncontrollable. So if unfortunate circumstances arise, then we have played a role in our own inevitable demise. How arrogant and pompous, but it doesn’t end there.
For those who do offer themselves grace and choose to accept that unforeseen tragedies are out of their control, others might lambast their “unaccountable” or “irresponsible” decision not to labor themselves with guilt. Crippled by our own egos and finite awareness of the world, we undermine ourselves when tragedies arise because, while we subconsciously understand that we have no control, our minds want to convince us that we might.
Let me save us all some time here—overwhelmingly, in instances of miscarriage, you have no control whatsoever. The unforeseen is just that…unforeseen. Losing a child made me question everything. I questioned my own body and its betrayal of me. I questioned my level of sanity because my emotions felt so strong, they were incomprehensible at times.
My one resolve was just to cry since I could think of no other way to express myself. I still cannot discern if those tears helped or hindered me—maybe both. Losing yourself could be the standard protocol for unexpected circumstances, but to lose yourself and the love and joy you’ve found in another human life…that is heartbreak. Cue more tears.
I love all types of love—familial love, friendship love, and romantic love: the greatest love of all (or whatever Whitney Houston said). What I shared with my old partner truly felt enduring. Before the miscarriage took place, we were both a gift to each other.
What used to be mere cracks began to break off completely until we became shattered pieces of our former selves.
But gifts can lose their sheen when they’re broken. That is not to say I didn’t love the gift of my partner—broken and all, I adored him. However, we relied too much on each other to play a role in our individual healing. As we attempted this patchwork on each other, we ultimately failed to patch ourselves, so what used to be mere cracks began to break off completely until we became shattered pieces of our former selves.
What we once thought was an act of love for each other—prioritizing the other person’s needs above our own—was an act of sabotage to ourselves and our relationship. We forgot that we came into this relationship as two happy, whole humans. But now here we stood: hurt, depressed, broken. In hindsight, the path to love our way back into a healthy, strong relationship with each other would have been to love ourselves as individuals.
It’s worth noting that Whitney Houston never said we find our greatest love in romance. She said we discover it within, and she was right. While the love never disappeared in our relationship, the problems we encountered became rampant.
There is no doubt in my mind that if we nurtured our own wounds, the resentment of playing paramedic to each other (although we were never asked to in the first place) would not have festered. Rather, we both would have felt nourished, cherished, and closer to the people we were at the time we initially met. This is not to say the miscarriage wouldn’t have caused problems—or that anything could have minimized the enduring pain of this loss.
But whole people (or at least people committed to becoming whole), have more to give than those who are broken or malnourished. Ultimately, our small issues became emblematic of larger issues that were never resolved. Conversations soon deteriorated into arguments, and we found ourselves at peace when we barely even spoke.
I’m still a broken person due to my miscarriage and the subsequent end of my relationship—these moments are nothing short of heartbreak. It’s important to note there’s a difference between not yet being healed versus not healing. I am healing. I’m in therapy. I dedicate time to biweekly hikes, as well as daily walks. I can now smile when I recall the effects that pregnancy had on my own body.
The miscarriage took a toll on both my emotional and physical health, but it affected the health of my relationship the most. There’s no manual on how to grieve what could have been—especially when what could have been is a child. I will always love my ex-partner, and while I can’t guarantee we would have spent the next 5 or 50 years in loving bliss, I believe we would have gone further than six months after the miscarriage. But the grief, depression, and anger that consumed us showed no mercy.
Or maybe the relationship would still have deteriorated—whether or not a miscarriage took place. Maybe I’m just idealistic in thinking that if circumstances were different, they might have been better. I suppose my mind is still playing tricks. At least now I have patience for myself— I’ve learned how to offer myself a little more grace.
Sophia Crawford is a self-professed “writer with a day job” who resides in Seattle, Washington. When not writing personal prose, her research and essays focus on social and political commentary. When she’s not writing, Sophia can be found hiking (or biking) throughout National parks all across the United States.
This article was submitted by a contributor outside of our company. Content of this variety may not reflect the direct views of The SunDaze Journey, LLC.