RED DOT DIARIES: When Bleeding Hurts Our Hearts

When bleeding hurts our hearts: A Personal Period Piece about another thing we don’t talk about… Miscarriage. Yeah, that word no one wants to say.

when bleeding hurts our hearts

I’m about to get my first period in awhile. I’m so excited. (I’m really not.)

It’s surprisingly emotional.

I guess this is a series about menstruating, but I suppose it’s a safe place to talk about ALL THE THINGS women don’t talk about. Of course, that includes many things. But this “thing” is particularly hard for me today.

I had a miscarriage a short time ago. Don’t worry…I’ll spare you the gory details.

The part that gets me is how painful it was. GAWD! Emotionally painful and physically painful. And for fuck sakes — if I hear another health professional dismiss and say: “Oh it’s just so common.” I will probably explode.
Not at them. No, I get it. It’s common. But that’s the part that makes me crazy. If it’s so common, then why aren’t we talking about this. JUST LIKE A PERIOD. Just like all the woman things — it’s not supposed to be seen…or to smell. It’s treated like something to be ashamed of.

WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT THIS?

So loads of women miscarry. And many women don’t WANT to talk about it — which is a-okay. But there are women that do. I do. And I think this experience would have felt less shocking all along if I knew there was a support network and I wasn’t alone in the world. You know? That I could scream: “E^*#&@)(*. Today is a bad day. HERE’S WHY.” And also: “What the fuck is going on? OMG.”

The experience led me to discovering a whole SLEW of women who had experienced this, and I had no idea. Some of them my closest friends.

A slew of women who felt they must pocket their experience. Like it never happened. Truck on — like the warriors we are (or expected to be). Cry in the shower. “It’s so common. It happens. Get over it.” (eye roll)

When these women and friends came out of the woodwork and opened up…shared their experience and secrets with me… I cried. I cried for them. And I cried because there was finally someone close to me who understood how weird and crazy and sad the whole thing was and is. And I cried because someone could give me tips on what to do next, or how I might feel in five weeks, five months, five years. And I cried because I was hormonal AF, and they understood that because they’d been there. It just sucks that the thing bonding us is a bit of a gory thing. It sucks harder because we aren’t even supposed to talk about it.

Even if miscarriage is “normal”, it’s still messy. It’s not just head-messy. It’s physically and shockingly messy. No one talks about that part. No one talks about how you can keep miscarrying for days. That there can be complications for weeks. That you can pass things that look like giant clot babies. That you can bleed for what feels like forever. And that as long as you’re bleeding, you’re remembering… you just lost an almost-baby. And what a head-fuck that is.

Why can’t we bitch about how messy it is? Why can’t we mourn the loss of an experience that could have been beautiful (or terrifying)? Why can’t we talk about it like we would anything? What is there to be ashamed of? It’s not exactly my fault the cells weren’t doing the right thing. Or my body wasn’t the place for a fetus to grow into a baby.

The thing is… I understand that feeling that no one wants to be pitied. I know I’m not looking for a pity-party. I’m looking for empathy. For shared experience. To grow into something stronger because it’s not been stored away with the “unsaid”. Unsaid things are like secrets. And secrets burn holes inside us. They fuck with us in the long run. I don’t want to be fucked up because I was pregnant — and then I wasn’t. I just want to heal my heart and strengthen and feel wiser. Not so much to ask from a crappy experience.

It’s also about permission to feel loss (cause that’s what it is.) I’m telling you: It’s okay to feel sad when bleeding hurts our hearts. And reminds us of that loss. 

I was scared to say I was sad. We carry shame in “feeling sorry for ourselves”. (Or we have ex-husbands who told us that.) But it doesn’t make any sense. Because it’s okay to feel sad. What are we teaching our little people if we don’t learn how to feel all the things, and express accordingly. I know I’ll probably stop feeling sad — but it might take awhile. And I was really really really sad. And it doesn’t matter how far along you are. It still stinks. It still feels tragic in that moment. And it’s crazy what a little mash of cells and a few raging hormones do to you so instantly, so deeply, so much.

The funny (and ridiculous) thing is, I also blamed myself. I was experiencing enormous stress around that time. Some tragic events were occurring that were outside my control. But I thought I was handling the stress fine. Then a health professional said to me, as I sat there feeling fine, “Well, you’re storing the stress SOMEWHERE.” — Oh! — The next day? No more baby… So I literally thought I was storing my stress in my uterus and I was to blame. It’s amazing what women do, right? I know now it wasn’t my fault. But it took me a while to be convinced.

Thank you for letting me share the thing I’m not supposed to share. As I begin to bleed and get inspired to write more Red Dot Diaries posts… now that I’m actually bleeding again, instead of barfing every time I open my computer.


Did it even happen?

I wrote that post above many months ago… But I didn’t feel brave enough to post it then. I was too busy wrapping my head around it, and trying to pretend it never happened, all at the same time. It’s a weird place to find yourself.

I’ve never had such difficulty publishing something before. Those of you who know my writing style, know I’m not afraid of writing vulnerably. But this topic kind of “got me”.

But my due date was a few weeks ago…and it brought out some memories and feelings I’d stored away. And I thought: “Fuck it! I’m doing it.” So here you go…

My recipe for this post is different than usual. This entire post is a recipe to speak.

Please talk to me. Tell me your story. This is a safe place. Share with me your thoughts or feelings about this crazy topic. I want to hear from you. And I betcha… there are many other women out there who want to hear from you, also.

If you’re ready to share your story, but not ready to do it out loud, shoot me an email, because I get that, too. 🙂

Sara xo

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8 Responses to RED DOT DIARIES: When Bleeding Hurts Our Hearts

  1. Lindsey October 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

    My due date was a few weeks ago too. How nice would it have been for us to not be alone in that thought (never mind we don’t really know each other 😉)? This is everything I was looking for in the last several months, but sadly didn’t find much of. When I was actively miscarrying I kept thinking, “how am I 36 years old & literally have no idea what to expect other than heavy bleeding?”, which is the understatement of the century by the way. I believe this will help many women. Thank you for being so vulnerable.

    • Sara October 30, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

      Lindsey! Wow. Firstly…I am so so sorry. Fuck. I mean, it’s just awful. Right? Secondly, I really truly hope it DOES help. If we can’t turn to our sisters, who can we turn to? And yep — an understatement indeed. I think we also maybe need to start with healthcare providers — so this isn’t so quickly dismissed, and real information and compassion is given. (It sometimes is, but i’ve heard so many horrible stories TBH.) Thank you thank you for responding. Really! xo

  2. Heather November 1, 2017 at 1:22 am #

    Sara, an honest and well written piece. Many years ago, I had two miscarriages and you’re so right, it is really really sad. I never thought about the part (until reading your post) that many times miscarriage is wrapped up like a big secret tucked away for only you to carry…forever. I think I have always thought “that’s just the way it is” but you have allowed me to see this from a different perspective – thank you!
    In some ways I think it’s a bit of a complicated range of many emotions and for some (not all) maybe even a little resentment towards the husband/boyfriend who possibly doesn’t “get” / share that same level of attachment to the loss that we do. Maybe because they don’t physically experience it, it’s more difficult for them to totally understand all the messy emotions that go with. I hope I’m saying that right and generalizing as I’m sure some men do “get it” & I don’t want to upset anyone with what are my thoughts on it.
    Thank you for posting, I hope your heart is healing.

    • Sara November 1, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

      Heather, what a beautiful reply. I hope your heart is healing, too. You know… only today I really gave thought to how this experience affects men. My reaction was always “well, they don’t get it like we do — the hormones, the pain, etc.” But then I had three very personal texts sent to me, all by men, thanking me for what I wrote. And it occurred to me that we often dismiss their experience in all of this. But do NOT think what you are saying anything wrong. I think there is a resentment there that is difficult to admit. I hope this piece of writing brought you some sort of peace. Much love!

  3. Anna November 2, 2017 at 7:11 am #

    When I had my miscarriage I remember feeling all sorts of things. Sadness about the loss, pain (physical and emotional) and also fear about what and how it would happen. What I remember most is feeling like a complete failure. I knew in my head that it wasn’t my fault but my heart told me something different. I just remember feeling that I had failed as a woman and the feeling only intensified when I heard about other people or friends at the time who were able to successfully carry out full term pregnancies. Over time I eventually was able to find peace with my miscarriage which at the time felt like a complete betrayal of my body. I also remember that it really helped to be able to talk about it and share my experience with other women (and men). I know that by posting your recent miscarriage you are helping all of us, those who have miscarried and those who have not, to know that it’s ok to talk about it and to move past the shame, fear, guilt and failure. I now look at my miscarriage as something that is just as much part of being a woman as carrying out a pregnancy to term and I hope that by encouraging us to share what we have gone through will help others to feel the same. Thank you Sara.

    • Sara November 2, 2017 at 9:39 am #

      Anna. Wow. Thank you. Your reply brought me to tears. I understand that weird feeling that your body is betraying you. I’m so happy you’ve moved past that feeling of failure and turned it into something like a right of passive. And you are also brave and awesome for sharing your experience. Thank you. xo

  4. Susan November 2, 2017 at 9:41 pm #

    Love. I didn’t have a chance to sit and really read this until just now. And it is beautiful, raw and such a gift. Thank you for sharing and for being wonderful you. I’m so so so honored that I get to call you my friend for realz and stuff. xo

    • Sara November 4, 2017 at 7:46 am #

      Awwwww. You are so wonderful!! And ditto. Lucky for me we get to be neighbours for a year. xo

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