I know, once again I haven't blogged for most of the month. I haven't finished my vacation posts, I haven't posted pictures of Everyn's hair loss or obsessed over how 2/3's of summer is gone. I haven't posted pictures about baseball or our 14th anniversary.
We have been enjoying summer, and I have kept our days fairly unscheduled with just a vague "bucket" list and a lot of time just bumming around the house and yard, hanging out with neighbors and reconnecting with friends.
I haven't blogged, however, because this is the post that I have been wanting to write, and it is also the one that I just haven't known how to write.
I miscarried our 6th baby at the beginning of the month. I wasn't very far along, just 6 weeks, but as the nurse told me: a loss is still a loss. And I am ok. I really am doing far better than I expected that I would be if I ever imagined these circumstances. But this loss has caused me to spend a lot of time thinking and pondering and it is interrupted by moments of sadness.
There is a girl at work who is pregnant with her first baby. I am SO EXCITED for her, but she is due just a month or so before I would have been. I am looking forward to holding her baby and thinking of my own, but watching her experience pregnancy makes me wish I was still pregnant too.
We talked to the boys about this, and we have been pretty open about it. I have talked to a number of my friends, because for me, processing verbally is a way for me to heal. I can talk about it without tears, and my friends/family have been a support for me.
I have been left thinking about a couple of things, though. First of all, grief. Everyone grieves in their own way, and everyone's experiences are a little bit different. This miscarriage didn't devastate me, and there are probably a lot of factors for that. That does not mean, however, that miscarriages aren't a big deal. The amount of loss a person feels is probably affected by a lot of things, but it is still a loss. Being sensitive to where people are at is important. Don't think they are overly emotional if they are more upset than you might be and on the flip side, don't think people callous if they are not crying as much as you think they should. Everyone is different.
Secondly, I have been thinking about how we really don't always know what is going on in people's lives. Even people that we are close to. I am one that is quick to judge, but this experience (and some other things that have happened this month) have made me realize that we really don't know everything. I was in the middle of a miscarriage and still working my job, still hanging out with friends and no one knew. I could have chosen to keep it to myself and it would have been my secret. I knew that for me that was not a healthy choice, but it did make me wonder how many people I know go through pain and loss silently, putting on a happy face.
The last thing that I have been thinking about is what to say when people grieve and experience loss. I struggle with what to say in these situations, and so I tend to be very forgiving of people who put their foot in their mouth. It is easy to do, and since everyone is so different, something you say that is extra encouraging to one person could come across as offensive to someone else. Because of that, I can't speak for anyone but myself. But for me, it actually didn't really matter what a friend said. What mattered is that I could sense that they cared for me and that they acknowledged that what I was saying to them was important to me. And I know my friend's hearts and how much they love me and how they communicate so differently from each other, and yet they all care.
One friend just said, "I am so sorry, Julie". And it was enough. Another friend, with him I hash out all the details of life, asked me details and gave me permission to talk. My family knows that I need space sometimes, and they gave it to me while making sure that I knew that they were there if I needed them. Noah's mom said she would pray for us (and I know she did) and called to check on us. A couple more friends who have also experienced losses validated my feelings and had tears in their eyes along with me. My practical friend that I see a lot let me talk without passing judgement or giving opinions. I had encouraging emails that showed me that friends, even in the midst of their busy days, took time to care. All the responses were so different, and yet they were the exact responses that I would have expected from those friends.
The most heart breaking moment was, in the middle of the miscarriage, when Noah put his hand on my stomach as if he were saying goodbye. We hadn't really gotten much of a chance to say "hello" yet, and it was already "goodbye".