My Body has Carried and Lost Life

Disclaimer: as unique as every pregnancy is, so too is every pregnancy loss. Comparison of loss is a tricky road to be avoided at all costs. With that in mind, a note to readers that this is one singular woman’s experience with conception and loss, and her interpretation through the grief that followed. To anyone who has known pregnancy loss, I stand with you and honour this part of your motherhood journey.

Part 1

Muse & Words Elizabeth Grace | Photographed by Ale Vidal

My body has carried and lost life.

I didn’t realize motherhood would begin like this for me, but they say motherhood is full of the unexpected, and I now know this to be true. This is one of those parts of motherhood not often spoken about—desire and trying, conception and loss.

At only five weeks, when my body began to pass on the very first life inside it ever knew, I was surprised by the depth of my grief. The pregnancy was so early and new; why was I so overcome by this? Where was this sadness coming from?

But of course, you only once in your life see that “+” line for the very first time and experience that explosion of emotions—I’m pregnant! No matter how early the loss, a loss is a loss, and your heart doesn’t know the difference. In that way, I do believe it instantly finds love for this unborn child.
For me, the only way to move past this loss was to honour it.

A good friend once told me, “babies come with gifts.” Through my pain, I tried to make sense of it all, so I asked myself, “does every baby come with gifts? Even the ones we lose? Is it possible this tiny poppyseed who never had the chance to grow, brought with it a gift?”

In my grief, and much to my wonder, I uncovered five gifts that this baby brought

I got to see a glimmer of my husband as a father—and it was so beautiful and divine, the very thought will always make me weep. I can’t wait until the moment it’s for real.

I learned how to love my body, and make promises to myself and keep them. The loss taught me how strong and capable my body is, and it gave me an opportunity to give my body grace—to soothe it instead of punish it. It’s opened me to a deeper love for my body

It taught me that I really do want this—motherhood—and though I had my doubts, the pain I felt from the loss of this life showed me that I really want this and am ready for it

I gained a deep empathy for women: those trying, those who’ve lost, those who’ve birthed. All mothers, young, new, in between. Women and our bodies are miracles.

This little seedling stirred something in me—it awakened me to a part of myself that wants to/must/needs to express myself, be it writing, sharing my journey, connecting more deeply with others, or the like.

One final gift I didn’t write about until much later is that I still had the chance to document my body, unchanged, before it underwent the metamorphosis of pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

But when I see this image of a woman who has loved and lost, I realized — she has in fact, already changed. The body keeps the score. I see loss, but I also see the strength and grounding that emerged from that experience. And most profound to me of all, I see a woman on the precipice of becoming a mother.

Ah, hope—you have returned.

What a gift. Thank you, bebè.

Part 2

After our loss, I gave ourselves permission not “to try.” It felt too painful to put my heart out there again, allowing desire to get too strong. So instead, I released us from any pressure and believed that in time, the little life we desired would hopefully come to us when ready. I took long baths, continued to heal my body, soothe my heart, and steady my mind.

Once, as we were driving home from running errands, we were in typical LA traffic on a bright sunny day, and out of nowhere, I saw a rainbow in the sky. I couldn’t imagine why. There had been no rain or storm, but there it was, bright and clear in the late afternoon light. The next day as I journalled from my usual writing spot, I noticed a vibrant rainbow shining brightly underneath my desk. It had to be coming from some reflection of light somewhere, but I couldn’t find the source. And, if you can believe it, the following morning, I awoke to the sorest of breasts.

I knew this feeling, but it couldn’t possibly be, could it? I almost threw the test away because I was sure that nothing was there, but just before it landed in the trash, I saw the slightest appearance, but definitely there, line: pregnant.

And after a slew of bloodwork, it was confirmed, and somehow I had so much peace in my heart, not in spite of my previous loss, but because of it. I knew that no matter what happened, this baby, too, would come with gifts.

Muse & Words Elizabeth Grace | Photographed by Ale Vidal

My body and me—taken the day after I first heard a tiny but strong 6-week heartbeat. The moment that changed me forever. The flowers, to me, are all of the women who have mothered me to this place, who’ve many times propped me up, shown me the beauty of the world, and who’ve reminded me of the beauty inside myself. And now, in one hand, I cradle a torch of flowers for the women I intend to hold up, passing on whatever love and wisdom I earn in my days. And in the other cradled hand, my son—the great little love of my life.

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