Earlier this week, Eva Amurri Martino, actress and daughter of Susan Sarandon, posted an essay to her blog Happily Eva After, titled “Pregnancy After Miscarriage” — and it was nothing short of powerful. In it, Amurri Martino candidly shares the story of her own miscarriage last year, and captures the myriad of emotions that run through you once becoming pregnant again after a loss. Her hope is that by sharing her own story, she helps open up a conversation that we all need to be having, however painful it may be.
“If miscarriage is seldom talked about, the feelings associated with pregnancy after a loss are even more seldom talked about,” she wrote. “I think there’s a misconception that once a woman conceives after a miscarriage, somehow her miscarriage is erased — that the feelings of loss are replaced by feelings of joy for this new baby, and that everything moves forward as it should be. In my own experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth.”
When I read these words, I was more than moved. They instantly brought back a flood of emotions and memories from my own loss, five years ago.
I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I didn’t want to speak about it with anyone. I felt so alone. Emotions had been running through me for days, and I’d cried more than I’ve ever cried in my entire life. I was angry. I was confused. I’d just seen a perfectly normal ultrasound — how could that perfect little baby be gone so soon?
Every trip to the bathroom was a constant reminder of what had happened. We didn’t tell anyone about the pregnancy because we were still in the first trimester, so how could I share news of a loss when no one but my husband knew there was any life at all?
It took me some time to process it before I let my own family know. It felt good to have their support. Although they’d never been through what I was going through, their love and comfort was just what I needed. I’d never experienced the loss of anyone before, but knowing that it was a life inside of me that had gone made it all too real, and far more painful than I’d ever imagined.
A couple of months after my miscarriage, I received a positive pregnancy test. We weren’t even trying. I was still going through so many emotions from my previous pregnancy that I didn’t even want to think about conceiving again. But life has its own way of coming together and this new baby was part of that journey.
While I felt so much joy for this new life growing inside of me, I still had so much sadness for the child that I’d lost a few months prior. Still too scared to tell the world about my loss, I kept everything in. My pregnancy was a secret yet again. I was terrified of the same thing happening again, so I didn’t let anyone know of our happy news.
But eventually, I did. And suddenly all of my sadness, anger, and confusion turned to hope.
I finally told my story to those that were willing to listen. I wanted others to know that if they were suffering from a miscarriage, that they weren’t alone. It wasn’t until I opened up about my miscarriage and other women came to me with their stories that I started to feel less isolated.
Many of the feelings that I battled with for so long (and that so many others have, too) are the exact same feelings that Amurri Martino writes about. And she’s right — talking about it, truly opening up, is a powerful thing in and of itself. Particularly when you consider just how many of us experience it. (According to the American Pregnancy Association, between 10 and 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.)
“I entered a period of my life at that time where I felt the most vulnerable, and unsure of most of the things I believed and hoped to be true,” she continued. “That I would get to choose how many children I would have, that my children would grow up safe and healthy, and that my family would always be OK in the end.”
And that’s how miscarriage makes you feel: helpless. And then once you do find out that you are expecting again, you want to feel so happy, but you’re flooded with another set of emotions that you’ve never experienced before.
“I was afraid of loss, of course,” Amurri Martino admits. “But I also felt fiercely protective, and above all a homesickness and longing for the baby that our family would never get to meet. I didn’t feel like celebrating. I barely spoke of it.”
When I was pregnant with my daughter, many times I wanted to forget that I was even pregnant. I didn’t want to be reminded of it, just in case something terrible would happen to the pregnancy and it would end up just as my previous one did. But the more I pretended like my pregnancy didn’t exist, the more I was doing a disservice not only to myself, but to my own daughter and the baby that I lost.
We will always be scared; the love that we have for our children has a way of doing that to us. But we need to embrace the fact that we have no control over many things in life. And that’s why we have to cherish the moments that we do have.
And despite how scared we are, Amurri Martino has a great way to dealing with the anxiety that comes with a pregnancy after miscarriage: “When I’m scared, I speak to my son,” she writes. “I encourage him to stay with us, and tell him how much we are longing to hold him and to welcome him in to our family. We have plans for our boy, and no matter what happens, I’m so grateful for the full heart I feel today.”
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that baby that I lost. But I know that he or she will forever be a part of me. Just as my children here on Earth are today.More On