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I didn’t expect the grief of miscarriage

“I didn’t know there would be so much grief. But I didn’t know there would be so much love and friendship either.”

I didn’t expect the grief of miscarriage

I didn't know when I was younger—when the future seemed to hold so much promise and possibility—that the same future would also bring with it heartbreaking grief.


Of course, no one stops you in the midst of your wedding plans as a bright and shiny 23 year old and says, “Just so you know, when you get pregnant you might have a miscarriage."

It never dawns on you, when you imagine your life down the road with the person you love, that sometime in the promised forever you will spend a night (and the whole next year) holding each other in tears while mourning the loss of your born-too-soon baby boy.

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I never thought to think about something like that.

And for good reason, really. It would be horrifying if someone genuinely quipped to a newlywed couple, “I hope you get to carry all of your babies to term." We would have looked at them and scoffed, incredulous with contempt at their audacity to speak. But now, here I am, 35, married for 12 years, and I find myself in the middle of all this grief.

My husband and I waited for five years after getting married to start having children. I felt ready in my heart right away, but he wasn't. He wanted time to just be married, to be young, to make some money before blowing it all on vast amounts of oversized brightly colored plastic toys.

I was bummed initially, but slowly came to see his wisdom as I waitressed nights and weekends and started graduate school. Once I completed my master's degree I thought, OK, now we're ready! But he said, “You just got a master's degree, way to go! Don't you want a job?"

I didn't want a job, I wanted babies. I have always wanted to stay home and rock babies to sleep at night, to go on play dates and spend long days at the park catching toddlers from slides.

So, I stayed patient while I dreamed of being pregnant and thought about baby names and eyed baby clothes at Target while imagining someone to put them on. Never did I imagine that having a football team worth of children wouldn't be perfect.

And to be honest my first pregnancy was. My second as well. When I became pregnant for a third time, I didn't know I could be 15 weeks along and one moment sitting at dinner with friends laughing and 20 minutes later be hemorrhaging and having a miscarriage. Maybe I was incredibly naïve.

Maybe all the other women knew this, had been prepared for this sort of thing. But I wasn't. My husband said it was the worst sound he ever heard, my scream from the bathroom upstairs.

The night we lost our baby the doctor on-call did an ultrasound and told us our baby no longer had a heartbeat. We sobbed together, the doctor with us, and then I asked her to check again, just in case. She is still one of the kindest people I have ever met. I delivered our unbreathing baby the next morning and got to hold him in my arms the whole day. We couldn't touch him directly because at only 15 weeks his skin, so paper fine, would have torn.

He had 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes. We named him Ciaran. Our parents visited us in the hospital and they probably thought we were crazy. There I sat, all puffy-eyed and blotchy from hours of crying, holding my dead baby wrapped sweetly in a tiny hand-knit stocking.

But I couldn't let him go. He was a whole human life and he was mine.

Later that day we eventually had to say goodbye to him and we were alone again. My husband and I knew then how important we were to each other. How important it is to marry someone who will hold you up even when they are falling apart. Who will let you hold them while you crumble. We learned about taking turns and talking and being silent and we learned it all in about one day. Part of each of us was gone and a part of our family was gone. Forever.

It is an amazing thing when you have a child made up of two people. It is a tragedy when something you made together dies. The grief settled in my bones and in my heart where it lasted for a very long time.

My children cried for days after they lost their brother. My son drew a picture of him and told our neighbors that our baby died and it broke my heart and made the grief that much more solid. It was not just my own I realized, but it was my son's, my daughter's, my husband's, all of us together who lost this person, this boy.

It has been three years and my son still tells people about his brother, our baby Ciaran in Heaven. If he ever fails to mention him my daughter reminds him. They will never let him not exist. In this way, he will always be ours.

But so will the grief. There is no cure, no quick relinquishment of such a powerful thing.

I never tried to push it away, or carry on without it I guess. I had to hold it tight for a while and then slowly, I set it all down. Of course, it never goes away completely. I have learned to let the grief come and go as it does, and try not to settle into it as it tries to settle into me.

But then a friend loses a baby. And I sit with her and we cry. We gather with more women, so many women who have had miscarriages, and we share our stories again. At lunch with two friends just the other day, six babies between us we had lost. Six. How is that possible?

The grief is big and heavy and we go on with our lives, taking care of each other and ourselves. We share our stories to keep moving away from the grief. And it helps.

I think there is beauty in knowing the similar paths others have walked before me, and after me. The grief they have borne in holding their little babies just as briefly or not at all, in having to set them down from their strong arms forever, feeling weak and broken. Then in being filled back up with hope and love over time. Grief has become not just a part of my story but a part of my marriage, of our beautiful family with all its flaws. It is a part of the bonds of some of my closest friendships, a small ingredient that glues us so swiftly together.

Before my own miscarriage, I didn't know it was such a common thread. Now the thread is dark and thick and pulls us all into this place together, so we are not alone with it.

When I was younger I didn't know there would be so much grief. But I didn't know there would be so much courage and love and friendship either.

I am humbled and blessed to have both.

Original story by Krissy Dieruf for Moms & Stories.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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