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[Trigger warning: This essay describes one woman's emotional journey with miscarriage.]

Yesterday I was 8 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

I'm miscarrying right now as I write this. I don't want to cry anymore, and I can't have my partner hold me because he's outside keeping our 2-year-old busy so I can just be. He's enabling me to go through this without a toddler jumping on my stomach or crying between my legs while I sit on the toilet.

I live abroad and my mom is asleep now, though I'm tempted to wake her up and cry with her. Instead, I decided to write. It always help me.

I'm grief stricken.

You go through two months or more or less of morning sickness and exhaustion, through extreme hormonal changes and getting out your maternity clothes because you're already showing. Two months of excitement and complaints and anticipation and concerns. You change your diet. You are pregnant.

And then you have cramps and a bit of spotting. You read about it and find it's totally normal. You want to feel reassured but you worry.

You go in for an ultrasound. Doctor sees the baby. You want to feel reassured but you worry.

Then 45 minutes later, back at home, I started bleeding just enough to scare me. Some clotting, then only spotting again. I felt hopeful.

I sleep. I rest. At 9 am the next morning, it really started happening. And I knew that I was losing my baby.

I sobbed. Because I wanted this baby. Because my body hurt. Because I went through two months of pregnancy for nothing. Because I was so happy and now I feel hopeless. Because I just lost the life I was nurturing. Again. And it's devastating. Because my 2-year-old was so happy there was a baby in my belly button, ready to be a big brother.

And already, my mind is calculating if I could still have another baby before I turned 39— three months rest, pregnant on the fourth month—it could work.

Then I return to the present moment, to feeling so very alone.

**

The next day I did something that felt quite brave. I called my friend. And she came.

She hugged me and kissed me and cried with me. Then she made me French toast and a chai latte. Another friend stopped by to deliver apples from her tree and was greeted at the gate with news of my miscarriage. She came in and hugged and kissed and laughed and loved with me. We all drank more chai. Liz, who made breakfast, cleaned my kitchen and hung my laundry. They played with my toddler. They made me feel so much less alone in my grief.

I am so grateful I called. It felt so overwhelming and frightening to reach out, I don't know why, and yet the support I received from them was quick and full-hearted.

In the afternoon, the same dear friend returned to take my toddler with her kids to the park.

Another friend stopped by who heard the news. She shared her stories with me. She offered to make me soup.

The night was hard. I woke up with cramps and grief. I woke up feeling hollow, but not alone.

The morning was hard. I swept the kitchen and I clutched my belly.

But my 2-year-old kept kissing me and touching my belly and checking in. And my husband dragged his exhausted self out of bed to make me breakfast and coffee. He did dishes before heading off to work. My friend Liz took my kid again to play with hers.

And I know that I will make it through this, with so much love and support. I didn't have that the first time I miscarried. There were no kisses from a 2-year-old, no friends calling, no husband checking in—he was here of course, but he was unable to cope with the reality that we'd lost the baby we'd been trying for for years.

This time has felt different. It still hurts. And I still grieve. But I feel sure that I'll be okay. My village promised me, and I trust that.

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I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

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