Cycles of Mourning (Therapeutic Poetry About Miscarriage, Part 2)

Dear Readers,

Today would have marked the start of our 15th week of pregnancy.

Sundays have traditionally been an exciting day for us, when we would look up info on how our baby was growing. Our baby would have been able to move all its joints and limbs and would have been the size of an apple, had it grown properly all this time.

My husband and I continue to grieve. There is no set expiration date on that, no set rules, no way to truly expect what it will entail and when. Our personalities are very different, which has also made how we grieve very different.

I continue to have a difficult time sleeping. I either can’t fall asleep, or I wake up early, or I’m up for hours in the middle of the night. It’s during these times that I continue to write a lot of therapeutic poetry about all the aspects of my grieving process.

I’m cycling through a lot of emotions, certainly some that I wouldn’t have expected but that make sense to me in retrospect. I’m learning a heckuva lot about myself, too.

These two poems that I share with you now are a lot about the struggle to ‘let go’ on some level, to let myself be carried along with inevitable change since I can’t stop time.

They are about the pain of feeling more and more distant from my poor little baby, about questions, about fears. They are about remembering our hopes and dreams that will now never come to fruition.

I feel as if I’m looking back even while the waves of grief, the passing of time, and the dynamics of life propel me forward against my will and at a pace beyond my control.

Another emotion I feel in these poems is simple confusion. Reality and surreality seem difficult to separate. There is still a lot of numbness, feeling in a daze, fighting with denial. I feel like a deer frozen in the highlights of an oncoming mac truck.

I’m struggling between a lot of ‘fighting’ emotions — the ‘no, no NO!’ of protesting what has happened — and the ‘fleeing’ emotions … simply resigning myself to these dark, murky waters in which I fumble around looking for direction and a new sense of purpose.

I’m sure there will be many, many therapeutic poems yet to come because trauma is a big deal. But, for now, here are ‘Pain Grows Cold’ and ‘This Sacred Space’.

Pain Grows Cold

dedicated especially
to my sister Lindsay
and her three angel babies,
Rachel, Michael, & Ishael;
and my sister Bethany
and her angel baby, Adalia

There are no more cramps
The bleeding is done
I don’t need to wear liners
or sleep on protective mats
The dried blood under my fingernails
is gone

The weird part is how hard it is
For the pain to grow cold
For all the fresh reminders
of my trauma
to become stale

I don’t want to move things,
be it a book or sock
because then I’m creating more distance
between myself and my surroundings
and the loss that will always be true

Leave everything as it is
Part of me wants to mourn
perpetually in this unchanging grief
I’m not ready to move on

Maybe if I touch nothing
I can pretend this didn’t happen
Can I deny this new reality?

Sometimes I like to feel hunger pains
because the pain in my abdomen
feels so familiar, so soothing in its discomfort
When I last was forcefully intuned to my body
you, baby, were still with me, inside me
I’ll take the pain over forgetting

I fight sleep, I dread the night
it’s another day without you
coming to a close
another day soon approaching
with more grief and more change
that takes me farther from you

I want to stop time
freeze this space
I don’t dress or go outside
I can’t read or hardly distract myself at all
I’m numb, stuck, replaying
every word, every moment, every feeling
so I can feel connected to you
Baby, why did you leave me?

Soon my body will return to its former state
as if you had never existed
I won’t need to wake up 4 times a night to pee
my boobs will shrink, my belly will flatten

I won’t ever feel nauseous
or need to sleep with piles of pillows
My back will stop hurting
My thicker hair will start to thin out

I’d be sick constantly
if only I could keep you
There’s no pain that could be worse
than not having you living, growing
changing with me
instead of being real only in memory
crystallized in time and space
oh so long ago

This Sacred Space

It was in this house
this sacred space
we planned for you

candles lit and music playing
filled with joy and laughter
we knit you in our love

two weeks later
I couldn’t sleep
I could wait no longer
I had to know

how my breath froze
my heart thumped
and eyes widened
when I saw the happy result

warm down to my toes
peace-filled and secretive smile
on my motherly face
I crept back into bed

I didn’t want to wake your father
let him sleep yet, I said
but I couldn’t contain my giggles
and he jolted awake

oh, how we grinned as we hugged
we took a picture of that precious wand
‘Pregnant’ it read, and so I was
for a brief but special time

who would have thought
that so much joy
would end in so many tears

you were made in love and laughter
sustained with beauty and song
left us in deepest grief and despair

in this house
this sacred space
we sang to you, danced with you
dreamt of you
thought of you all day long

in this house
this sacred space
you were meant to be born
you were meant
to wake us up at night for
2 o’clock feedings and baby bounces

you were meant to share our bed
you with your shock of dark brown hair
here we would bathe you, change you,
swaddle you, tickle you, smile & coo

but this house will never
hear your cries, see you grin
welcome you home in cozy winter

here you will not
take your first steps
play with daddy
read with mommy
do or be anything
we had imagined

how will we ever leave
this house, this sacred space
for it is filled with traces of you
even if only dreams and distant memories

will it be harder to remember you
in a new place where you never existed
not even so briefly?

I never want to leave this space
and yet I know we will
and part of us will stay here forever
here, with remnants of your sweet spirit
seeped into the walls
by songs and sobs

You can help by sharing these poems, and my first set, My Heart is Raw From Grief, to comfort others who have experienced the pain of miscarriage or any traumatic loss, to give them a voice where perhaps they have none, to show them they are not alone. 

You can make a difference by also raising awareness of this issue that affects so many women and their families. Let’s grow our hearts together, step inside the pain others feel, and make our corners of the world better places because of our generous, compassionate empathy.

About the author

Laura Bennett

Laura Bennett

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