Thankful is probably the last word anyone would associate with having a miscarriage. But that sentiment is what helped me get over mine.
When the doctor told us that our fetus no longer had a heartbeat, I would have paid a small fortune to be able to snap my fingers and have it out of my body instantly. Unfortunately, that’s an impossible fantasy, and like many other women before me, I had to endure the physically painstaking process of getting it out.
Statistics vary by country, but the general consensus is that either one in three or one in four women will experience a miscarriage at some point in her life.
And yet, for some reason, I thought it would never happen to me.
I live in Israel, so all my healthcare interactions are in Hebrew. In Hebrew, there is only one word for both “miscarriage” and “abortion”: הפלה, which translates literally to “dropping” or “bringing down”.
I never understood why Hebrew has one word for both, given that “miscarriage” connotes a misfortune that happens on its own, while “abortion” connotes an act of choice. And yet, ironically, I found myself having an easier time describing my situation in Hebrew rather than English. The Hebrew word covered the entire experience, while English forced me to choose a word that told only one side of the story.
What surprised me the most about having a miscarriage/abortion was that the physical part is what brought me down emotionally. Before I found myself doubled over in pain in bed, I was handling the news relatively well. But after days of lying under the blanket, too weak to even watch TV, the depression descended upon me.
I felt sorry for myself. Why me?
After the years of fertility struggles, multiple rounds of IVF, and countless, painful gynecological visits, why does this happen to me? Why is it so easy for many of my friends, who get pregnant without blinking an eye (from an orgasm, of all things)? The self-pity only drew me deeper into the black hole. And then a fellow mom in the women’s health clinic slapped me awake. While waiting for my follow-up, I overheard a nurse taking down her history: how many pregnancies had she had, how many births, how many children, etc. The woman answered quietly: “Two pregnancies, two births, one healthy child. Bless God.”
Hearing her speak, I sobered up immediately. How dare I feel sorry for myself, when this woman lost a child she had given birth to? There is nothing in this world worse than losing a child.
And that’s when, for the first time since our doctor delivered the news, I began to realize how lucky I was.
Lucky that it happened when I was 8 weeks along, and not 20 weeks, or 30 weeks, or Heaven forbid—40 weeks.
Lucky that my body is smart enough to identify an unhealthy fetus, and stop its development as a signal.
Lucky that I didn’t bring an unhealthy child into this world.
But above all — so, so lucky that I have my daughter. My beautiful, healthy, happy daughter, who is about to turn two years old. God willing I’ll be blessed with more children, but if I’m not, I’m already so blessed to have her. And my husband, of course :)
Thinking thankful thoughts is what truly helped me rise out of my black hole.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion. No matter how difficult life gets, there are always people who have it so much worse (and so much better). And there are always positive parts of our lives to focus on and be grateful for.
Even though I only got to carry this baby for 8 weeks, I’m thankful to him/her. I’m thankful for what he/she reminded me: that I’m physically capable of conceiving and carrying a life; that my body knows what it’s doing; that our health is most important above all; and that every life is a miracle.
So thank you, little baby. Thank you for coming to live with me for a little while. Thank you for knowing what was best.
By: Libbie Snyder
Originally from Boston, Libbie Snyder resides in Tel Aviv with her husband, daughter and two cats. She is the owner of Snyder Communications, a content writing company that provides copywriting and editing services to high tech companies across Israel. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, running, reading novels, writing poetry, checking out new restaurants—and when the opportunity allows, travel abroad. You can find her online on LinkedIn, her blog or on Contently.