This Isn’t Just New Year’s Eve, It’s The Anniversary Of My Miscarriage

new yearsToday, millions of people will head to bars or parties to celebrate with friends and ring in the new year. They’ll drink champagne and make lots of toasts and completely forget the words to Auld Lang Syne. For years, I was one of those people, bickering with my husband over who would be the designated driver and attending my sister-in-law’s annual party. Now, I’m the lady sitting at home alone, mourning, on the anniversary of my miscarriage.

Last year on New Year’s Eve, I had surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy. My year ended with the termination of a pregnancy that I had been desperately hoping for. It was a heart-wrenching experience that still brings tears to my eyes, even though a full year has passed.

As we organized our holiday schedule and planned out get-togethers and family events, I eyed New Year’s Eve with trepidation. I was supposed to have a baby in 2012. Instead, I found out that I’ll never get the chance to carry a healthy pregnancy again. That just didn’t seem like something I wanted to celebrate.

For better or worse, December 31st has become a symbol of all that loss and grief. My infertility journey was more than two and a half years in the making, but this single day stands out. It’s a day I can pinpoint, a day when it feels appropriate to grieve and reflect.

Perhaps it’s just part of a bizarre coping mechanism, but I’ve always attached special significance to days of mourning. My grandfather passed away on St. Patrick’s Day when I was in fifth grade. Every year after, I’ve skipped the kegs and eggs in favor of a somber, reflective day honoring the family that strong man created. This year, my grandmother passed away on November 2nd. I have no doubt that the date will continue to be etched in my mind, a day to miss a guiding figure in my life.

Having a single day to grieve and mourn seems to make it easier for me to move on. I’ll have a day to miss loved ones, to grieve losses. Then, the rest of the year doesn’t need to be continuously tainted with sadness. Losing my pregnancy, and losing all chance of another one, feels like a death. It seems only right to give this loss its own commemorative day. And that day is New Year’s Eve, the day when everything seemed to go horribly wrong.

Tonight, my husband and my daughter will still head out to a family party. They’ll socialize and toast sparkling grape juice. I’ll stay home, ignoring the television and the ball drop and even the clock. I won’t be celebrating much, but I will be attempting to say goodbye to a very painful chapter in my life. I’ll be closing out, not just a year, but a dream of having another child that I’ve carried with me since the birth of my daughter.

Tomorrow the new year will begin. Like everyone else, I’ll have resolutions and plans for what lies ahead of me. I’ll probably hit the gym and throw out the left-over holiday sweets. I might make a few career goals. I’ll move forward.

But I’m not going to say goodbye to 2012 with a huge party. I’m not going to celebrate the year’s end. I’m going to quietly curl up in a ball and use this evening to embrace the grief I try to ignore the rest of the year. And I’m going to hope that this sadness can be contained by just a single day, a single anniversary, instead of seeping into 2013.

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    • Insertsanityhere

      I am the mother of two wonderful children. My husband and I decided we wanted to have a third child, and I became pregnant easily, twice. But both pregnancies were lost – one in February 2012 and another in September 2012.

      Both times each pregnancy ended after the so-called “risky period,” at 12+ weeks each. With each pregnancy, we had seen a healthy heart beat and had normal ultra sounds before the visit when we discovered our babies had died. Both babies were girls, and all tests came back normal. After having no previous problems when I had my other children, the doctors are stumped.

      So, I hear you. One year ago tonight I was barfing every twenty minutes thanks to a vicious combination of morning sickness and pneumonia -both suffered during a pregnancy that never came to fruition. It will be a long time before I will get over my grief.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1165875627 Jennifer Ives O’Meara

      It feels like death, because it is, or it was. Death & grief are tricky bitches, just when you think you are over the sadness, something will remind you, like a holiday, or the date passing again, 365 days later, and you almost feel as lost as you did 1 year ago. Except you have a little bit more perspective, and a wonderful family to support you. I too know your pain. I could talk all night about how I should be in my last trimester, but instead I sit here and remember the missed mc, how I carried my sweet angel even after it’s death for 5 weeks, how my body refused to let this child go, and I had to have 2 surgerys, a rockstar pile of pills to get me thru. Even now, I look at what I do have, and will always be greatful for my family, but still in the back of my mind always sad. Stay home and be sad, it is what you need to do, hoping next year you will be able to join your husband & daughter.

    • hopeforabetter2013

      I’ve been reading your unbearable column for the past six months or so; and so much of what you’ve written has truly resonated with me — as does this New Year’s Eve post. At 27, after less than 8 months of trying to have our first child, my husband and I were faced with dual-factor infertility and the fact that, if we want to get pregnant, IVF is our only option (though not an option we’re interested in). I will remember 2012 as a time of mourning the loss of the pregnancies I thought were in my cards, and tonight I’m closing that chapter of my life. While it still seems as though I will forever be heartbroken over this, I am choosing to look at 2013 as a new opportunity: instead of focusing on being sad over not being able to get pregnant, I will focus on the joy of preparing to begin our family through adoption.

      I truly hope your 2013 brings joy and positivity to your life — and to the lives of all other women dealing with infertility.

    • C.J.

      It’s not bizzare to attache special significance to a days of mourning. Mourning is neccesary and healthy. It is good that you are taking this time for yourself to mourn and sort through your feelings. I am so sorry for everything you have went through. Although I don’t personally know you my heart breaks for you. Wishing you all the best for 2013.

    • bbmaggee

      I had my miscarriage (9.5 weeks along after seeing a heartbeat) on my husband’s and my 3rd wedding anniversary… And while I don’t choose to remember the miscarriage on that specific day (for obvious reasons) I do remember it in other ways. Greiving is a part of healing. My best to you and thank you for writing this column.