It is cliche, but you really never know what murky waters someone may be desperately swimming through while on the outside they look just fine.
This ole pic was taken in 2012. It was the week we found out there was no heartbeat in our first pregnancy after trying 2 years to conceive. I was devastated. We headed to our friends’ wedding and I presented my best sarcastic silly self and attempted to sludge all the murk aside to have space to dance and eat cake. I lost 8 lbs in one week. I had no appetite, you guys, I couldn’t even eat the wedding cake.
To miss someone you never met. To long for a person you don’t even know the gender of. To erase the amazon wish list you curated prematurely. To feel like your dreams of your family have been stolen. And yet you still keep going. The world around keeps going. And it feels so weird. So off.
October is infant and pregnancy loss awareness month. There are friends around you trying to stay afloat in these murky waters. They may appear to be Olympic swimmers, treading fairly well, seeming just fine from the outside, but you never know the turmoil their heart is in as they wonder if they may sink at any second.
With the odds that 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lifetime, these murky-water swimmers are all around us. Grief of a pregnancy loss effects everyone differently and the length of the pregnancy is not an indicator of the amount of grief someone might be experiencing. There is no magic time to sort through the heartache. Some days/weeks are better than others. Some friends back-stroke through with sarcasm and inappropriate jokes. Others sink to the bottom, breath-held, allowing the waters to immerse them completely before pushing off the floor to shoot back up to the top for air.
Being aware that many of our friends are navigating these dark aquatics helps remind us to offer continued support and grace their way. It sparks conversations and offers the opportunity for a lonely swimmer to look up and see the other couples that are out paddling in the same ocean. And even better it allows us to stretch out hands or offer out buoyant life preservers so we can all float together instead of floating alone.