More Than Just Black Pants*
Today I closed this lid for the last time.
I’ve been in and out of this tote since I started showing, almost exactly a year ago today. This weekend I cleaned out and purged my closet, ready to pull put most of my “regular clothes” as I packed away the last of my maternity ones.
I found one rogue top today, and tucked it into the bin before sealing the top.
It felt really exciting. It felt good.
…but it also made me take pause, and brought back a rush of memories.
The last time I had to put these clothes away, it wasn’t because I wanted to. It was because one day I was 13 weeks pregnant, and then the next day I wasn’t.
On a Monday morning I got up and got dressed for work. I remember exactly what I was wearing. Isn’t that silly? I picked out black wide legged maternity pants, a long sleeved white top and a knitted vest thing that I liked at the time.
I remember feeling a little apprehensive as I had been spotting a little over the weekend, but I had attributed it to the stress of preparing for progress reports and parent teacher interviews the Thursday before.
I remember feeling proud that I had rested all weekend, and that the spotting had stopped. That’s not easy to do as an LTO teacher with three small children.
I remember not feeling well during my fourth period class. I remember feeling a gush of wetness in my pants as I taught. I remember feeling like I didn’t know who to call to come help, so I stayed there. Frozen in my chair until the bell rang. I remember hearing the happy chaos of the hallway at the end of the day, desperately waiting for it to clear so that I could run to the bathroom. I remember desperately not wanting the hallways to clear so that I wouldn’t have to go.
I remember walking calmly down the hall to the washroom, telling myself that everything was fine. That I was overreacting.
I remember seeing the blood, and trying to wash my underwear in the sink. I remember the panic rising in my throat as I forced myself to walk calmly back down the hall to my classroom, counting the steps to the place I knew I could close the door and fall apart.
You know what happened next.
But one of the hardest parts was when my miscarriage was over. After the ambulance ride and the long night in emerg. After days of laying on the couch retreating into myself, feeling the waves of postpartum hormones for a baby that never came.
One of the hardest parts was trying to put myself back together again, and realizing that the only thing that fit me were my maternity clothes. The clothes meant to stretch with my body as that baby grew safely inside me.
When you have a miscarriage beyond 6 or 7 weeks, your heart and mind feel everything. You change immediately.
…but your body takes a few weeks to catch up.
I still looked pregnant for weeks after I miscarried… but I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing these clothes again. Of wearing those black pants again.
So I went shopping for a bigger size and put my maternity clothes away.
The last time I closed this lid it was out of desperation. It sealed a chapter of my story I never thought I’d have to live.
Today, as I looked at those same black pants again, I felt so profoundly grateful that my story didn’t end there. They are washed and cleaned, but to be totally transparent, I didn’t wear them this pregnancy. I couldn’t.
They are tucked back into the bottom of the tote, and today I closed the lid again, this time with a sense of peace.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. I wasn’t really planning to write anything because I feel like I just went through all of these emotions again in September… but as I was navigating the feelings that came with putting this tote away today, I just wanted to come here and say:
The complicated feelings that come with a miscarriage don’t end when you stop bleeding.
I remember writing about how heartbreaking it was to have to wear my maternity clothes again in the days after my miscarriage, and a good friend from work reached out and gently but firmly told me to just… not. She encouraged me to put them away and get something new. So I did, and those words helped me so much.
I guess the point of all of this is just to tell you that it’s okay to not be okay all the time… and it’s okay to do what you need to do to get through it.
I miscarried at 13 weeks.
I am 1 in 4.
And if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here.