Saying Goodbye to Someone You Loved and Yet Never Met
Many people who know me personally know that I recently lost a twin pregnancy. I was pretty adamant about just sharing the experience because it’s kind of a shitty emotional experience to start and hiding it from the world only makes it feel worse, I think.
I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks, and then found out they were twins at 7 weeks, just two days after my boyfriend of almost two years and I moved in together for the first time. They were little teeny, tiny twins with slow-paced heartbeats that seemed neither strong nor overly problematic.
I realize carrying naturally conceived unplanned twins is not something that most women will ever do, so let me ameliorate your burning internal thought process: Yes, I was scared shitless and my reaction to seeing two embryos was to start irrationally sobbing.
Sobbing. Not out of sadness or happiness, but just shock. I have no twins in my family and I was statistically unlikely to conceive twins based on several factors. It didn’t help that at 7 weeks, one looked like an amoeba and the other like a cross of a tadpole and the little white guy from the game Fez. They didn’t look human so although internally, I felt their potential and love for them, what I expected to be a game-changing moment was anything but.
It was exciting in some sense. Like hey, there’s two of them so they’ll have that linguistically interesting “twin talk” thing and they’ll have that close bond that only two people who share one womb can have–something I’ll never understand but surely they would. But, of course, also scary because I had no idea what it meant for my career as a software engineer. Or financially how I would afford the likely possibility that these babies would be born prematurely and spend time in NICU. Or how my naturally very petite body would manage to safely grow two little watermelons–since I was already experiencing some issues with my heart as a result. I was scared but in love with them, for sure.
But at a 9 week ultrasound, we found out they hadn’t been growing and had passed shortly after the first ultrasound. My body did not recognize that the pregnancy had ended. I was recommended to have a dilation and curettage surgery to remove them.
This was an emotionally painful process, even for an unplanned pregnancy, but I’m a fairly logical person so I look at this loss positively: because it illuminated an area of life I never really had put extensive consideration into.
I’m 30 years old, almost 31, and have always felt indifference to motherhood. I get impatient with other people’s children. I always assumed I had no maternal instinct. I had a pretty sad childhood in a deeply broken family and have always felt somewhat challenged by the idea of introducing a life into a world knowing there was potential for me to cause it as much pain as was allotted to me.
But, contrarily, knew there was a good chance I might be a kick-ass loving, compassionate mom who made sure her kid saw the world young, learned early, was well-cultured, well-mannered, had lots of friends, and was treated fairly and with respect. This is a tall order and takes a lot of effort, and I know it.
I write this from the unpopular side of someone who before pregnancy never yearned for a child. Who, upon finding out she was pregnant, immediately focused on the selfish aspects of what I felt was taken away from her: independence, financial freedom, fun, her ability to drink wine, craft beer, or cold brew coffee, take hot baths, do hardcore crossfit, ride a bike more than half a mile without needing to stop to dry heave, use ibuprofen and other common medicines, or eat goat cheese or unpasteurized soft cheeses.
It took time for me to look past these emotions and fully embrace what positivity also surrounded it–things that are supposedly natural to others but took deep introspection to extract out of my own heart. Once I found those emotions, I found a new part of myself who was a stranger laying in wait. And it was really eye-opening.
That person inside revealed to me that my pregnancy was something I owned and was in control of. That my children, although in many ways defined by nature, are shaped by the attitude I have when they’re inside of me and later outside of me. They are a byproduct of me and another person and whatever relationship is fashioned between the four of us is not the same as any other person’s relationship with their children.
These children are gone today. Some day I might have another child or children. Those children will never replace these children. And that is what a miscarriage is like. It’s saying goodbye to someone who was with you for a while, who communicated to you through some weird telepathic force, who made you feel ways you never knew you could feel, who opened up a chapter of your life that you never would have been able to open on your own, who you loved deeply and unconditionally, and yet all the same…
You never got to meet, hug, thank, or even so much as say hello to them.