I’ll never forget the day I sat in my doctor’s office and was told that my baby was no longer there. We searched for the little heartbeat during the ultrasound — the one I’d heard clearly, just two days ago — but there was nothing. No sign that I could see that the baby I saw a few days ago was there.
I was numb.
But deep down, I’d somehow known before the doctor even told me that I’d suffered a miscarriage. I had all of the signs and symptoms, and they only got worse as the days went on. That appointment just gave me the confirmation I needed so that I could stop giving myself that little bit of hope. There was no hope left — my baby was gone.
We hadn’t told anyone that we were expecting, so I suffered in silence. Inside, I was full of so many emotions: Sadness, anger, confusion, frustration. So many feelings that I’d never experienced all at once were now consuming me, minute by minute. And while I knew that I wasn’t alone in this darkness, I still felt the need to keep my grief to myself.
That time of private grief — of desperately needing to heal, while mourning away from the world — is sadly one so many women experience after suffering a miscarriage. But it’s now been brought into the light by sketch artist Curtis Wiklund, who recently shared a very raw and emotional drawing on Facebook, titled simply: “Miscarriage.” In the drawing, a husband and wife can be seen sitting in their car; embracing and crying. Without any words, Wiklund so accurately depicts the wide range of emotions and loneliness that comes with a pregnancy loss.
“This was the day we found out we miscarried,” Wiklund begins his post, before sharing just how lonely suffering a miscarriage can be.
Wiklund’s post continues:
“It’s strange to share because it’s such a quiet thing. Most don’t talk about it. I just didn’t know what else to do, but draw on that day. It more accurately journaled how I felt than anything I could write. I hope by sharing it, those others out there who are quietly hurting, some far worse than we are, are comforted knowing at least, that you are not alone.”
When I first read this post, I was immediately brought back to the day I returned home from the doctor and just sat on my couch and cried. There wasn’t anything in the world that could make the pain feel better and the best possible solution that I could come up with was to cry. Break down on the floor cry. I let my entire body give into the sadness and just sobbed for as long as I could.
When we suffer a miscarriage, we are often left with more questions than answers. And more often than not, we will never get the answers we deserve. It’s that pain that continues to break my heart, even five years later. Not only losing a baby, but not knowing why or what happened. And it’s a pain I share with my husband.
But that’s exactly what Wiklund’s sketch so perfectly captures — not just showing the pain a mother feels after miscarrying, but also what a partner feels. It’s a loss for everyone involved. I hugged my husband closely, just as Wiklund shows in his photo. Not because he was the only one that knew of the pregnancy, but because this was a part of him that was lost, too. This wasn’t just my baby, this was our baby.
Speaking with Babble, Wiklund shares that the need to document the painful moment and capture their shared grief, was almost instantaneous:
“I felt a need to document, to journal somehow. It was an instinct in reaction to grief I think. Some people need to go for a run or do something physical, some people need to write music or paint, I felt like I needed to document the experience as accurately as I could. I did not want to draw, because I tend to draw very positive moments in our lives, and this was too heavy. I tried writing about it in my journal, but I felt frustrated because my words didn’t feel accurate. I couldn’t explain with words what I was feeling. As resistant as I was to drawing it, I decided to be okay with it, and I just cried the whole time.”
Hearing him retell the experience of drawing the sketch is heartbreaking; yet ultimately, Wiklund says that sharing the drawing with others has been cathartic. He tells Babble:
“Once the sketch was done, I felt some relief, like I had documented it well, and it could then live on in my sketchbook forever, as painful as it was, as a part of our story. Reading all the personal stories in the comments on Instagram and Facebook was a verification that sharing it was the right thing to do. We were totally surprised it. Sharing our experiences is important. It is healing.”
I know something about that kind of closure myself: It wasn’t until I learned I was pregnant with my daughter, our rainbow baby, that I was brave enough to talk openly about my miscarriage. But as soon as I did, I had so many people reach out and share their own stories of loss with me. While it’s disheartening to know there are so many women out there who’ve suffered through the same kind of loss, it was still comforting to know that I wasn’t alone in this, and that I could find support all around me.
Wiklund’s beautiful drawing gives parents who’ve experienced a pregnancy loss that same kind of comfort and hope. It’s a reminder that our pain is okay to feel, we are not suffering alone, and we have others to turn to for support — we just have to speak up and share that we need it.